Archive for July, 2010
CNS news posed some questions yesterday to Dr. Groves about the homeless census operations. Here’s the article.
Carol Morello of The Washington Post, writes the following in her article about Maryland residents who weren’t counted (yet):
Since May 1, census takers have knocked on the doors of more than 47 million homes, virtually all the addresses for which nobody returned a form. They found 14.3 million vacant residences, up from 9.9 million in the 2000 Census — a reflection of the heavy toll the recession and foreclosures have taken on the nation.
As the census winds down, more than three-quarters of the 635,000 temporary workers hired for it have been dismissed. The remaining 125,000 will be checking the work that has been done.
I will be visiting Canada this summer and I plan to spend some time in Ottawa discussing the Canadian 2011 Census and writing a more detailed report about Canada’s census operations. Though not as controversial as America’s 2010 Census, for a place that is normally so placid and non-controversial, there are some major issues that have emerged for the 2011 Census that being discussed by the National Post. Recently, it was determined that in this bi-lingual nation, the 2006 census was marred because many francophones intentionally wrote that they did not speak English (a lie) so that francophone institutions would receive more funding. And now, a long-form/short-form battle over privacy issues is heating up:
Industry Minister Tony Clement stands by his government’s controversial decision to overhaul Canada’s 2011 census without public consultation or prior notice, saying the issue didn’t warrant any more attention than it was given.
“This has received the amount of publicity that it deserves for the issue that it is dealing with. This is an issue about the census that is taking place a year from now,” said Clement, who oversees Statistics Canada. “I don’t accept the fact that every time you make a change on every matter of government business, you have to shout it from every rooftop.”
The consultation process involved speaking to MPs who’d heard from constituents complaining that the mandatory long-form census was intrusive and Statistics Canada could be “heavy-handed” about ensuring compliance with the threat of fines and jail time, he said in an interview with Canwest News Service. The Conservatives asked the statistical agency to suggest alternatives, Clement says, and from those options, his government chose to eradicate the mandatory long questionnaire and shift those questions to an optional survey.
“We’ve made plans to make sure that the data collected is valuable data and is legitimate data, and that’s the right balance in our society,” he says. “You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have, you try to limit the intrusiveness of government activities, and that’s the balance that we’ve struck.”
Previously, 80 per cent of Canadian households completed a short census form with eight basic questions and 20 per cent received a long questionnaire with 53 additional questions on issues such as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability. Both were mandatory, but for the 2011 census, the long questionnaire has been replaced with a voluntary National Household Survey that will be distributed to one in three households.
In my humble opinion, I think it is utter nonsense when journalists, other than those of the tech variety, are already publishing pieces about the 2020 Census in their reportage. Their are so many stories about the 2010 Census that lack coverage. The implementation of technology for 2020 likely won’t even get to the drawing board stage for another 5 years as tech development is so rapid that we won’t know what is available yet. Nonetheless, here’s some news on this topic from USA Today. Journalists are already trying to create a stir by focusing on issues like how to use the Internet in 2020 and the potential use of the controversial art of statistical sampling…
I don’t have a complete transcript of the press conference available, but of the 565,000 enumerators involved in non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations, the Census Bureau estimates that 1,000 of these people fabricated data. In the coming days MyTwoCensus.com will demonstrate why this “1,000″ figure is too low and how additional data that has been compromised will be overlooked.
Here it is, more details and analysis coming soon:
Census Bureau Director Reports 2010 Censuson Schedule, Under Budget
Census Moves into Quality Assurance Operations to Help Ensure Complete,
As census takers across the nation finish the 2010 Census door-to-door
follow-up operation, the U.S. Census Bureau has entered the quality
assurance phase, where select households around the country will be
contacted by a census worker. Three major operations occur this summer that
mark the peak of efforts to ensure data accuracy.
The 2010 Census is on schedule and significantly under budget but not
fully completed. The Census Bureau systematically re-interviews 5 percent
of the households that each census worker visits to confirm that all of the
600,000 census takers followed training protocols and produced accurate
“We thank the American public for their participation in our
door-to-door follow-up phase and for their continued patience as we enter
the next vital stage of the 2010 Census,” said Census Bureau Director
Robert M. Groves. “We ask that if you are one of the few homes
re-interviewed, called or visited this summer during our quality assurance
operations, please take a few minutes to help us ensure that the 2010
Census is complete and accurate.”
Groves expressed confidence that census takers are doing a quality job,
and he reaffirmed that the current process enables the Census Bureau to
catch any errors or corner-cutting and initiate immediate corrections.
In the coverage follow-up operation, the Census Bureau calls households
to eliminate confusion about the number of people reported in a household
to make certain there are no missing or double-counted individuals. As the
nation experiences one of the highest vacancy rates in recent years, the
vacant/delete check operation requires census workers to visit households
that were listed as vacant on April 1 (Census Day) to double-check that no
individual has been left out. The field verification operation verifies the
location of addresses provided by Be Counted forms or through telephone
interviews to ensure everyone is counted in the correct location.
“Decades of census taking have taught us the importance of the quality
assurance phase, and we know crucial federal funding and congressional
apportionment relies heavily on our ability to produce an accurate census
count,” Groves said. “That is why these quality assurance operations —
inspired by our mantra to count everyone once, only once, and in the right
place — are critical to our country’s future.”
Though the Census Bureau is holding a press conference today, they never bothered to send an e-mail out about it. It’s a great way to dodge tough questions by not having reporters at a press conference…
As the 2010 Census reaches another milestone, U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of operations. Groves will announce America’s progress as the door-to-door follow-up phase concludes and discuss the next steps in field operations. The briefing will include a media question-and-answer session.
Wednesday, July 7, 1 p.m. (EDT)
Robert M. Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau
National Press Club, 13th floor
529 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20045
Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)
Dial-in number: 888-603-8938
Passcode: 2010 CENSUS
Online Press Kit:
Event materials will be posted online shortly after the event begins and can be accessed by clicking on the 2010 Census Operational Press briefing at <http://2010.census.gov/news/press-kits/operational-press-briefing/>.
There will be a live webcast of the briefing, accessible at <http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=69687> noon (EDT) on event day.
There have been worries about undercounting in New York, and it seems to have reached a county in western Texas. Brewster County officials claim that the rural geography makes conventional “urban” census counting pretty useless, which becomes an issue when you count on the census for funding. Still, though accurate enumeration is a neccessity, talk about a challenge – you have 10,000 people over 6000 square miles, people on mountains, and the guys who carry two copies of the Constitution who are personally offended by the census.
From The Houston Chroncle:
W Texas officials complain about census undercount
By JOHN MacCORMACK San Antonio Express-News © 2010 The Associated Press
ALPINE, Texas — Perhaps only in southern Brewster County — where the land is harsh, the libertarian fevers run hot and the missing refinements of civilization are not mourned — could a census worker be mauled by a wild swine kept as a family pet.
“I guess she didn’t know what a javelina was or how territorial they can be. She ended up trapped inside the house and called for help,” Brewster County Judge Val Beard said of the improbable confrontation that occurred in 2000, the last time the feds tried to count people here.
After help arrived at the remote home, it ended badly for the overprotective javelina.
“Arnold was executed by the ambulance driver with a pistol, and then Arnold and the injured census worker were both brought to Alpine in the ambulance. Only in South Brewster County,” said Beard, who complained of an undercount then.
Ten years later, not much has changed. The census workers again are making the rounds of the state’s largest county in blazing heat, often on bad roads in search of dubious addresses. This time, it was a belligerent goat that butted a census worker.
And county officials again are complaining loudly that the census is bungling the count.
“We had a horrible undercount 10 years ago, at least 10 percent, based on utility hookups and anecdotal evidence. And if things don’t turn around, it will happen again in south Brewster County,” Beard said.
“The population is so spread out. We have what amount to giant subdivisions, and the Census Bureau doesn’t understand this. They are still applying normal urban formulas,” she said.
In an attempt to avoid a similar outcome, Brewster County leaders two years ago formed a “Complete Count Committee” that chose an image of a charging Arnold as its mascot emeritus.
It was chaired by Commissioner Kathy Killingsworth, whose district includes Terlingua, and also is superintendent of the Terlingua Common School District.
“All our funding, whether it’s the school or the county, is dependent on the count,” said Killingsworth, who, like Beard, fears an undercount, even after consultations with regional census brass.
“The whole system is flawed. It’s not set up for rural West Texas. The maps are inaccurate. The initial forms were not delivered to a majority of the residents. And now, they simply don’t have enough time and people to get it done,” she said.
Here’s a piece from the Bellvue News-Democrat:
$300,000 census promotion falls short in East St. Louis
Only 63 percent of residents mailed in their formsBY SCOTT WUERZ – News-DemocratDespite the investment of more than $300,000 in promotional programs designed to encourage East St. Louis residents to return their census forms, the city had the worst participation rate of any large community in the metro-east.
According to U.S. Census Bureau records, 63 percent of East St. Louis residents mailed in their forms. O’Fallon had the highest return rate of any large city in the metro-east with an 81 percent response rate.
Edwardsville saw 80 percent of residences return their census forms, Fairview Heights had a 79 percent response rate, Granite City had a 78 percent return, 77 percent of Belleville residences and 75 percent of Collinsville households returned their census forms.
This came into the MyTwoCensus maibox and demonstrates some wasteful habits at the local census office level:
Subject: LCO is encouraging Crew Leaders to have enumerators falsify timesheets
Re: U.S. Census – Collect $22.75+mileage tomorrow, if you want
Our job is over, but the Census nonsense continues!!! NRFU is still not finished in other parts of ******** County… and for some reason (come up with your own theory) the LCO is still asking us to consider this past week a “working week.”
They want me to hold a “non-workers meeting” at which every enumerator can turn in a timesheet of at least 1 hour. I won’t have any news to report at this meeting. I know that it sounds silly and wasteful, and trust me, this was a subject of heated debate at my last crew leader meeting. But the bottom line is that the LCO wants this. So if you want to show up, fill out a timesheet, and get one last paycheck for this week, it will make the LCO happy. If you’d prefer not to because of unemployment or any other reason, that’s fine too.
Attendance is completely optional. You don’t need to stay at ******** for a full hour. All you will need to do is fill out a timesheet, then you’re free to leave. Of course if you want to stick around for breakfast, you’re more than welcome.
I’ll be back at ******** tomorrow morning (Friday 7/2) from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. I will have blank D-308 forms. Finally, if you do stop by… please bring your ID badge to turn in. It may save you a trip next week if the LCO asks me to collect badges, which they hinted they might.
(***) ***-**** cell
(***) ***-**** home
Most likely, the Census Bureau will come to the aid of its employee, but it will be interesting to see how this incident plays out in court. In a recent incident in Hawaii, the federal government staunchly defended their field worker. Let’s see how the following story plays out:
Count Me OutRosendale Census Worker Receives Summons for TrespassingBy Rochelle Riservato and Tod Westlake
ROSENDALE – A United States 2010 Census Bureau Quality Assurance fieldworker was involved in an altercation at a residence in Tillson on June 1, which then resulted in the bureau fieldworker being served with a “criminal summons for trespass.” The fieldworker was then issued an appearance date of Wednesday, July 21, in Rosendale Town Justice Court.
Apparently, the fieldworker — who would speak to the Journal only on the condition that her name be withheld from publication — was performing a re-interview visit at a Rosendale home, and was requested by the homeowner to leave the property. The census fieldworker stated that she got back in her vehicle to finish filling out “refusal paperwork” and left the premises.
“I want these charges expunged from my record,” said the fieldworker, “I was only doing my job — a ‘no-response’ is the only reason someone like me has to go at all.”
But a statement by the homeowner in question tells a different story. The homeowner says that she told the fieldworker that she had already filled out the form, but was told by the fieldworker that this was a “follow-up” visit. When the homeowner refused to cooperate, asking the fieldworker to leave the premises, the fieldworker responded that she was a “federal officer” and that she would “sleep in her car in [the homeowner's] driveway” until the homeowner complied. The homeowner repeated her request that the fieldworker leave her property, and the latter “laughed at her,” according to the statement. The incident took a total of 20-25 minutes, the statement says. The homeowner says that the fieldworker went so far as to suggest that the homeowner would be “wearing cuffs by the time this was over.”
The fieldworker says that, two weeks after the altercation, she came home to find a Rosendale police vehicle blocking her driveway when she arrived home from work.
“I said ‘Hi Officer, what’s going on?’ I had no idea he was coming to arrest me,” she says. “The officer told me I was under arrest for criminal trespassing and handed me a summons signed by Justice Robert Vosper.”
Chief Perry Soule of the Rosendale Police, however, said this was not an arrest. The officer was simply delivering a criminal summons from the justice court. Soule said that his office typically does not see complaints against census workers, and that these are referred to the justice court.
With hundreds of thousands of Americans working for the 2010 Census, there are sure to be some individuals who feel as if they were improperly treated by their employer. Ttoday, MyTwoCensus.com will take a look at the Equal Employment Opportunity Data provided by the Census Bureau.
(Note: We only have data available for the first quarter of 2010, and NRFU operations didn’t begin until the second quarter. As the second quarter ended yesterday, we hope that this information will soon be available.)
During the past few months, MyTwoCensus.com has received dozens hundreds of e-mails from individuals who feel that they have been mistreated or discriminated against during their time as Census Bureau employees.
(Please feel free to share your stories in the comments section.)
MyTwoCensus has also heard from multiple sources that LCOs (local census offices) have done everything in their power to suppress individuals who wish to file complaints with the EEO and prevent them from filing such complaints, thus skewing the data. Given the large number of people who participated in Address Canvassing operations in 2009, MyTwoCensus is actually surprised how few complaints there have been. What disturbs me most is how few claims are actually found to be valid:
MyTwoCensus.com is now working to obtain more detailed information about the nature of complaints and what regions/municipalities they comes from.