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.

Census Bureau spends tons of your $$ on “awards”

Thanks to the reader who alerted us to an investigation into how much money the Census Bureau spent giving out “awards” that came to roughly $7 per award. Here’s an excerpt:

The latest award-winning idea from the Census Bureau is literally an award. As we learned at George Levy Awards, there are all sorts of awards and the Census Bureau was frugal in avoiding the most expensive award. However, it sent 59,000 awards to people, including the media, who helped get out the word about the census.

And while the sign at the Census Bureau says, “Warning! U.S. Government”, some are saying it should say, “Warning! Your tax dollars are being wasted.”

While we certainly appreciate the Census Bureau giving 10 News an award for doing our job, some taxpayers say that it is not a good use of public money.

Melanie Capello says she thinks it is ridiculous that taxpayer money should be spent to give news outlets awards. Ben Jones told us he would like to see taxpayer money spent more wisely.

While the Census Bureau says the awards are a small way to thank those who helped, and it is keeping a watchful eye on tax dollars, taxpayers aren’t convinced.

What’s this latest census venture costing you? The cost for the awards is $ 413,000.

14 Responses to “Census Bureau spends tons of your $$ on “awards””

  1. DVR Says:

    The linked article reads like an opinion piece. Show people a little appreciation for their hard work and it is a “waste” of money. Your calculation is $7 per award – my calculation is that is cost every american $.001 to give out the awards.

  2. AxionJaxion Says:

    Yes, this blogger & his right wing agenda simply want to attack gov’t workers.

    You Census workers who worked your butts off? You don’t deserve no steenking recognition, when a kid from his parent’s basement wants to get in good w/ the reactionary foundations for new funding (read: beer money).

  3. Al Forteni Says:

    And when we opened as an ELCO, they wouldn’t even give us trash cans.

  4. Sonrah Levin Says:

    Reading the comments from the 10news site indicates that that Mike Deeson is a bonehead. I’d like to see the full interviews needed to get with those couple of soundbites for his story. I’ll bet he twisted the question or distorted the facts for his agenda opinion piece. Neither the girl or the guy said anything about the census and we didn’t hear the question. For all we know, they could have been talking about the money he spent on his tie. “Hey young lady! What do you think about my tie? It cost me $5000!” “Well I think that is pretty ridiculous.” See how easy that was?

    It would have been nice to hear how the Census Bureau returned $1.6 billion to the treasury or increased the response rate. Nope. Mike is a bad reporter with an agenda.

  5. IHeartCensusWaste Says:

    $413,000 is a drop in the bucket for the thousand boxes of preprinted materials every LCO had to throw into a garbage truck at the end of the census. Wish someone had a picture of that.

  6. the truth Says:

    Hello! Let’s wake up and smell the coffee. A 7 dollar certificate for some, not all of those that assisted in any way, shape or form, is by far not enough. The value of the training and testing space, free ads, referrals, and provided by those being awarded, is deserving. They saved our tax dollars. I am no cheerleader. But, we need to be realist. If we were unable to acquire free space we would have had a different fiscal report. The only thing I am in agreement with is: there are no excuses to mail a letter out without editing it thoroughly.

    On that note: this is a sign that SRM has scraped the bottom of all barrels and has nothing else to blog about. You say the CB is wasting tax dollars; I wonder if you have met your funder’s deliverables. Your hidden agenda is out Mr. Seinfeld. I would consider other possible career options. You should have enough beer money by now. Come to think of it…go have a Heniken but not on the feds, on the Phillip’s Foundation instead. Charge it to OTPS. How do you rest your head on your pillow each night knowing that you have not always done right by those that had, I repeat had all the faith in you.

  7. Skeptic Says:

    @ the Truth:

    I have scanned through the 255,000 so-called “Census Partners” listed on the official Census website. With the exception of Burger King, I can’t find any of the listed Census Partners who actually provided ANY testing or training space. In earlier blog archives, it became apparent that the $15.00 per hour Census recruiters had to find their own free spaces for testing and training – often at public libraries, town halls, condo club houses, churches, or even at gas stations. Did any these places receive an “award”? I think not.

    Also, I’m not aware of any publications providing “free” ads. Printing a story about the 2010 Census in any local newspaper seems to be the minimum of responsible journalism. So, for that, the Census Bureau sends each newspaper an “award”? Can you provide the names of any newspapers that ran “free” ads?

  8. Smithz Says:

    Skeptic – I’ll find some for you. Point me to your list.

  9. anonymous Says:


  10. Skeptic Says:

    @ Smithz:

    I would be very grateful for your research to find out if any of the “Census Partners” actually provided free office/building space for testing or training of Census workers, because the only one on the list that I know of is Burger King. I would also be very interested to know if any newspapers actually printed “free’ census ads.

    The list of Census Partners can be found on the official Census website at: At the top of the home page, there is a tab that reads “Partners”. Click on it. This will bring you to a Partners webpage. On the left-hand side of the page is a box with a list of Census Partner topics. Click on PARTNERS, and it will take you to a webpage where the Census Partners are listed alphabetically from A-Z. Please post what you find on this blog. Thanks.

  11. Ramberg Media Group - The News Platform Says:

    Make your move as painless as possible…

    We loved your article, so we included it over at RMG, since we found our readers might find your site of interest….

  12. Lookout Says:

    Looks like we have some spammers on the blog.

  13. ATM Says:

    I seriously doubt that any of the libraries, community centers, schools, churches, etc., that gave up space occasionally or on an ongoing basis during recruiting operations, for training sessions, or for FOS and CL gatherings, will be seeing any such award.

  14. the truth Says:

    The list you are referring to are only inclusive of national partners; stop bashing—only state facts please.