My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Is Florida already gearing up for a challenge to its 2010 Census figures?

First, here’s some background: States and municipalities have the power to challenge census results. For instance, just this year the Census Bureau admitted that its numbers were faulty for a number of locales around the country and eventually adjusted the totals, immediately effecting how federal funds were/are distributed. A few days ago, Microsoft released a press release stating that it is now operating a software system for the state of Florida that will help the state identify areas where the Census Bureau may have screwed up and failed to count people.

(Check out the site here at

site note: maybe I should sue Microsoft/the state of Florida for infringing on the mytwocensus name with myfloridacensus? any lawyers out there want to advise me on this one?

The press release states the following:

“The Florida House of Representatives is making one final push over the next month for its state residents to be counted in the 2010 Census, through its MyFloridaCensus ( website and Web-based application. MyFloridaCensus is an innovative component in Florida’s overall effort to ensure a complete count of residents during the ongoing 2010 Census, supplementing door-to-door canvassing, which ends nationwide July 10.”

Ostensibly, if Florida doesn’t like its total population count as identified by the Census Bureau, it will happily use data collected through to fight the Census Bureau in its challenge. Does this mean that the stage is already being set for yet another bloody recount in Florida, this one to take place in 2011, ten years after the last one rocked the nation and changed the course of history?

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11 Responses to “MyTwoCensus Investigation: Is Florida already gearing up for a challenge to its 2010 Census figures?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Does this mean that the stage is already being set for yet another bloody recount in Florida, this one to take place in 2011, ten years after the last one rocked the nation and changed the course of history?

    In a word, no.

  2. JAG Says:

    Mixing apples and oranges again are we? There is a big difference between estimates and a 2010 count.

    By the way, what did MTC investigate regarding this topic?

  3. nerfoo Says:

    That Microsoft app isn’t going to rely solely on the self-reporting data that is collected on the website, is it? If people couldn’t be bothered to fill in their census form when it was mailed to them, then what’s the likelihood that they’ll decide to go visit a website (if they even have internet access) and report that they were counted?

  4. anonymous Says:

    I’m sure of this. Don’t forget the “hanging chads”.


  5. GS-X Says:


    I’m surprised you have not heard of the many people who have complained that they did not get the census form they expected to receive in their mail.

  6. nerfoo Says:

    Sure, some people didn’t get it in the mail. Mistakes are bound to happen from time to time. Some maybe did get it, but didn’t notice it amongst their junk mail. Some lost it after they received it. Some threw it away. Amongst the people that I, personally, spoke to when knocking on doors in my area, I didn’t have a single person say that they had been living at the address on 4/1 and did not receive a form in the mail. I don’t, for a second, think that because things worked well in my area that they must have worked like clockwork in all areas, though.

    But, most people did get it in the mail. Overwhelmingly, most people got it. Of those people, 75% or so returned it. But, how many of those or the people who didn’t (or the people who lost it, didn’t receive it, refused to answer it, etc) are going to bother taking the time to voluntarily go to and report what happened at their address with regards to 2010 US Census?

    I just don’t think that this voluntary (not compelled by federal or state mandate of any kind) self-reporting mechanism is a good way to tell who got counted and who didn’t. It might give an indication of where they would want to start looking for problems. But, I can’t imagine anyone thinks that this is an accurate picture of the situation at all. I would imagine that, without a massive advertising campaign (and I don’t live in Florida, so maybe there is one that I’m not aware of), most people who live there probably aren’t even aware of And, those of us who live in a hi-tech world often forget that a large percentage of our population, across all socio-economic boundaries, don’t use the internet at all.

  7. GS-X Says:

    Nearly all of the people who did not get a census form in the mail will be invisible to enumerators.
    If the Census Bureau missed an address during Address Canvassing, no census form was mailed to that address
    and that address most likely did not get into Nonresponse Followup.

  8. nerfoo Says:

    Do you mean the people who use only PO Boxes, not receiving mail at their physical addresses? I had heard that those addresses were all approached as NRFU addresses. Their forms were not mailed to PO Boxes. Each physical address was interviewed in person by an enumerator (or, an enumerator attempted to do so, anyway).

  9. GS-X Says:

    No, I do not mean only PO Boxes. Address Canvassing missed or incorrectly deleted some addresses.
    Of the addresses where mail is not delivered because the occupants use a PO box, it is unlikely that all were enumerated by NRFU. In fact, news reports indicate some were not.

  10. nerfoo Says:

    I don’t doubt that mistakes were made. I don’t think any census (especially of the entire USA!) would ever be able to be 100%, no mistakes, accurate. In my own AA’s, I found a couple of addresses that didn’t exist and one apartment building that had only apts 2 & 3 listed, when, in reality, there were apts 2N, 2W & 2E -and- 3N, 3W & 3E.

    I fixed them with adds & deletes in my binder.

    I would imagine that most people (certainly not all), who work for the census have a certain level of personal integrity & pride in their work, along with a feeling of civic responsibility trying to fulfill this constitutional mandate. So, when they encountered similar situations, they probably made the corrections, too.

    Even with the NRFU layer of employees double-checking the address canvassing work, I’m sure that there are still some addresses that were missed. Hopefully, the advertising campaign caught some of them & residents with their own civic pride, who did not receive census forms, will contact the census to make sure they’re counted.

    Still, there will be some uncounted, unfortunately. But, overall, I think that the overwhelming majority of people who took on this temp job have a desire to get it done well. If not, if I’m some kind of exception, I would be fascinated to learn how the Census application process somehow gleaned out only the most lazy, dishonest and irresponsible people who applied so that they could hire them to do this job in the worst way possible. :-)

  11. GS-X Says:

    nerfoo, What about the Enumerators who did not get binders?

    Sounds as if you added more addresses than you deleted. Multiply by this by the entire nation and you have
    the undercount.

    Your imagination is out of control. Working for the Census can compromise integrity. The higher up you go, the less you find. All you have to do is pass the background check. If you have been getting away with white collar or other crime, you are on your way.

    The addressing campaign was not designed to alert the population of the deficiencies of the 2010 Census Address Canvassing operation. Sure, there have been scattered reports of residents who called Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA) because they did not receive a census form in the mail. But you know many were happy not to be bothered by the census.

    You should not think you found all the addresses that should have been listed in your binders. You may have overlooked basement apartments with a separate hidden entrance and without a separate mailbox. Where Address Canvassing missed or deleted entire census blocks and entire apartment buildings, that residential
    area could have fallen between AAs where no Enumerator would be able to add those addresses in their binder.

    Field Verification workers: if you find any areas where you believe the only enumeration was by TQA or Be Counted forms, please report them without geographic identification beneath the state or LCO level.