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.

Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Census road tour begins next week

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The Census Bureau’s road tour to promote the 2010 Census will begin next week.

The road tour will kickoff on Jan. 4 in Times Square in New York City.

Thirteen tour vehicles will travel more than 150,000 miles across the country to educate people about the 2010 Census. The tour will stop at more than 800 events, including parades, festivals and the Super Bowl, according to the Census Bureau.

Census Bureau expects population to top 308 million

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The Census Bureau estimates that the U.S. population on Jan. 1 will be 308,400,408, according to figures released this morning.

That total marks the Bureau’s prediction three months before data is due for the 2010 Census.

The Jan. 1, 2010, projection represents a 0.9-percent increase from New Year’s Day 2009, or an increase of 2,606,181 people.

New state population estimates preview 2010 Census

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The Census Bureau released new state population estimates today, the last set of such data to be published before the 2010 Census.

The new estimates give a preview of which states might gain — or lose — U.S. House seats and funding as a result of next year’s count. The data is also the first population estimate that fully account for the economic recession.

The winners from this year’s estimates:

  • Texas: Texas gained more people than any other state (478,000) between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, the period covered by the data set.
  • California: The nation’s most populous state with 37 million people, California was second to Texas in the number of people gained — 381,000.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming showed the largest population growth of any state, with a 2.12 percent rise in population in the one-year period.

And the losers:

  • Michigan, Maine and Rhode Island: These were the only three states to show a loss in population for the year. Michigan’s loss was -0.33 percent, Maine’s -0.11 percent and Rhode Island’s -0.03 percent.
  • Florida and Nevada: These states were hit especially hard by the recession. They saw big upticks in population during the early 2000s, but this year experienced a net outflow of residents, meaning more people left the state than moved to it. However, due to births, both states still had an overall population increase.

Overall, the estimates show that fewer people are moving (“domestic migration,” in Bureau speak) — especially to states in the south and west — likely as a result of the poor economy.

USA Today has a fascinating interactive map and chart that compare the new estimates to data from 2000, offering an early look at the changes in congressional representation next year’s Census could bring.

According to their data, states poised to gain House seats include Texas, Georgia, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Florida and South Carolina. States likely to lose seats are Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Louisiana.

A round-up of coverage of the new estimates:

Census Bureau press release: Texas Gains the Most in Population
USA Today: Census reports slow growth in states
New York Times: Recession Cuts Migration to Sun Belt, New Figures Show
Bloomberg: Texas Gains Most People in 2008-09, U.S. Census Says
Washington Post: Census: Weak economy caused dramatic slowdown in magnet states

Texas Gains the Most in Population

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Press Conference Is A Farce Because Of Tech Failure

Friday, December 18th, 2009

On Monday, December 14, Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director of the Census Bureau, attempted to hold a press conference about the status of the 2010 Census. However, after only a handful of questions were asked during the Q&A time, the phone line for the conference call mysteriously died. I, like many other journalists, could see from my phone that I was still connected to the call, meaning that the audio from the Census Bureau’s end had simply gone dead. I called back in to the conference call and was re-connected to the event. Once connected, the phone line again remained silent. This was particularly annoying because prior to the glitch I was in line to ask a question, as were dozens of other journalists from across the country. I waited on the silent line for 15 minutes before realizing that this gaffe had effectively cut short Dr. Groves’ press conference, which is only the second one of this type (other than monthly operational briefings) he has given since taking office in July.

After this incident occurred, I e-mailed the Census Bureau’s public information office to inquire about how I could ask Dr. Groves my questions and and why the line went dead. I received the following reply, “Stephen — unfortunately the line went dead for everyone.  We don’t have a transcript and are researching how to get one. Do you have specific questions we can answer?” Since replying to this e-mail, I have had no response from the Census Bureau.

In the year 2009, failures of simple technology like are completely unacceptable. It is our hope that such operations issues are not indicative of the way that the 2010 Census will be run on a day to day basis. Making matters worse were the Census Bureau’s failure to apologize to the journalists who were dropped from the call and failure to provide a full transcript of the event, particularly after the audio breakdown.

We are still waiting for the transcript, an explanation, and an apology…

Group’s 2010 Census promo called ‘blasphemous’

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

From USA Today:

A push to spread the gospel about the 2010 Census this Christmas is stoking controversy with a campaign that links the government count to events surrounding the birth of Jesus.

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The National Association of Latino Elected Officials is leading the distribution to churches and clergy of thousands of posters that depict the arrival of Joseph and a pregnant Mary in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. As chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph returned to be counted in a Roman census, but he and Mary found no room at an inn, and Jesus was born in a manger.

“This is how Jesus was born,” the poster states. “Joseph and Mary participated in the Census.”

Most of the posters are in Spanish and target Latino evangelicals, says Jose Cruz, senior director of civic engagement at the Latino association, which launched its Ya Es Hora (It’s Time) campaign in 2006 to promote voter registration among Latinos.

It is promoting the Census, used to help allocate $400 billion a year in federal dollars, redraw state and local political districts and determine the number of seats each state gets in Congress.

Live-blogging a conference call with Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

10:00 – pretty sure the census bureau dropped the ball on this one because i called back in and the line is dead…either the call is over or more likely the census bureau/call center made some sort of error…

9:55 – KNOCKED OFF THE CALL…did it go dead? my line is still working fine…come on!

9:52 – Question: Why don’t you mention single, unattached people under age 30 as a hard-to-count group?

9:31 – 134 million addresses in the USA. As of now, they are 2% points high, compared to 5% high in the 2000 address…there were more duplicates then.

9:29 – go in pairs, with escorts, in high crime areas (for census enumerators)…

9:28 – safety in america: FBI NAME-CHECK…ALL APPLICANTS UNDERGOING FINGERPRINTING…on criminal history check, any convinces for major crimes such as grand theft, child molestation…etc…”if there are convictions of less serious crimes then the applicant can be hired if they don’t pose a risk to the american public”  – With so many people OUT OF WORK who don’t have felonies, why would you hire felons????

9:26 – Over 3.8 million people are being recruited for 1.2 million through 1.4 million people. 700,000 people working for the largest operation, Non-Response Follow Up from May through July 2010.

9:21 – Complete Count Committees forming…who ensures that there is bi-partisan representation on these 9,100 committees (37 in states). But are they bipartisan and independent?

9:20 – 135,000 partner organizations with the 2010 census…here’s one who’s not a partner anymore: ACORN

9:18 – 3 large processing centers open

9:17 – Grovesy talks about the ad campaign that’s getting started. Starting enumeration in Alaska in January. In March, most of the US population receives their forms. April 1 is Census Day (and April Fools Day…ah)…people should return their forms by this day. Otherwise the door-knockers will come knock knock knocking…some talk of reapportionment. In April 2011 the state-redistricting data for local/regional races is distributed.

9:16 – Grovesy’s giving us a quick history lesson about the Census….founding fathers yadda yadda…yawn

9:15 – Dr. Groves is in da house so to speak for the second operational press briefing (shouldn’t we have more of these?)

9:15 – 2010 Census PR Man Stephen Buckner is on the line…

9:13 – We are still standing by…this hold music is now reminiscent of terrible elevator rides.

9:07 – Kind of enjoying the jazz rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…on second thought, take as much time as you need to start this call.

9:05 – Come on Grovesy…I’m hungry for answers. (Still waiting for call to begin…)

8:59  – Call should begin shortly…

** CENSUS BUREAU MEDIA ADVISORY **

Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on
Status of 2010 Census Operations

What:         U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of 2010 Census operations. Groves will provide an assessment of the Master Address File, which serves as the source of addresses for mailing and delivering more than 130 million 2010 Census forms next March. He will also provide  updates on outreach activities and other logistical operations under way.  The briefing will include a question-and-answer session.

When:        Monday, Dec. 14, 9 – 10 a.m. (EST)

Where:        National Press Club, 13th floor
Fourth Estate Restaurant
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 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.)

Event tonight in Los Angeles…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Here’s the LINK to the event…

Is the Census Controversial?

Moderated by Steve Padilla, Assistant National Editor, Los Angeles Times

The California Endowment
1000 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA

The Census Bureau is fundamental to American democracy — its ten-year counts determine representation in Congress and in the Electoral College, and influence federal and state funding for health, education, transportation, and more. Businesses rely on the Census to predict demand and choose locations; governments use it to make housing decisions, study communities, map roadways, create police and fire precincts, and plan local elections. But because of this vast impact, the Census also confronts controversy each time it sets out to count. Americans of all political leanings have strong preferences for whom and what they want counted, and obstacles often prevent the Census from making full counts, particularly of minority groups. Some, recalling the Census’ history of providing information on various groups for national security reasons, regard the count with skepticism and mistrust. With the 2010 Census looming, Zócalo invites a panel of experts — including UCI’s Jennifer Lee, UCLA’s Paul Ong, Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles and Arturo Vargas of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials — to consider how the Census works, how it might improve, and why it is relentlessly controversial.

The Suitland Files: Inside The Census Bureau (Part 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I apologize for taking so long to post the second half of the series that I started nearly two weeks ago, but I’ve been traveling extensively and things were getting quite hectic. Without further ado, I present to you an inside look into my meeting with top communications/public relations/press officials at the Census Bureau’s HQ in Washington, DC:

After making idle chit-chat about Europe, climate change, and Dr. Groves’ travel habits (like any good reporter, I try to extract information wherever possible) for more than half an hour with two private security guards inside their security booth on the perimeter of the Census Bureau’s fenced off headquarters (they refused to let me sit on a bench outside even though it was a warm day…), I was greeted by Derick Moore (who Steve Jost authorizes to make the official Census Bureau comments on MyTwoCensus posts) and Eun Kim, a new Census Bureau PR official who until very recently was a DC reporter for Gannett (hmmm…I wonder why she jumped over to the dark side…).

After clearing a round of metal detectors, I made my way up the elevator with my two aforementioned handlers. I was led to a waiting room where I made some chit chat with Derick and Eun who each told me about their careers in private sector media. (I pray every day that the allure of a solid government salary with good benefits doesn’t one day catch up with me too…) Steve Jost, chowing down on a sandwich and french fries, returned and had us follow him into his office. We all sat down, with me at the head of the table. With white hair and a bit of scruff on his face, Jost wasn’t the devilish and egotistical Nazi I expected he might be, but rather a jovial guy who immediately poked fun at my comments about him on this site. I replied that I made those comments when I was thousands of miles away in the safety of my own home, and I had never expected to be sitting down with him in person. But I had no regrets. My job is to be a watchdog, and a vigilant watchdog I will be.

Last to arrive at our meeting was Stephen Buckner, the mouthpiece of the 2010 Census (spokesman) who had the boyish charm of a high school quarterback. I’m sure that fifteen years ago he easily cruised his way to a victory during elections for homecoming king.

Jost was the leader of this round-table, so between french fries he started firing off all of the positive accomplishments that he and his team have made, while clearly avoiding any of the shortcomings. Here’s a rundown of the most interesting things that he said:

1. High unemployment rates and homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure will cause problems with the 2010 Census.

2. The hardest group to count is “young, unattached people” who move frequently, only have cell phones, are between jobs or studies, etc. — NOT immigrants or minorities, as one might expect from all of the Census Bureau’s hard-to-count group advertising…(MyTwoCensus will investigate this further in the near future!)

3. The Census Bureau has created a series of ads using pop music…get ready to find these on your TV screens starting in early January.

4. The participation rate in the Census increased for the first time since 1970 in 2000, despite general trends that fewer and fewer people are involved in civic activities like voting, performing jury duty, etc. Hopefully they can once again reverse this trend in 2010.

5. 95% of media consumers will be reached multiple times by 2010 Census advertising campaigns.

6. 53% of 2010 Census advertising is local. 47% is national. (Note: MyTwoCensus has not heard back yet as to whether our proposal to let the Census Bureau advertise for the 2010 Census on this site was accepted…)

7. Spoiler Alert: Sesame Street will be featuring a 2010 Census storyline via The Count and Rosita characters.

8. 2010.Census.gov was redesigned.

9. Though 173 forms of social media have been integrated with Census Bureau awareness efforts, no I-Phone Application has been created for the 2010 Census.

10. The 2010 Census forms will be mailed to all households in America (hopefully) on March 17, 2010. (Let’s hope drunken St. Patty’s day revelers don’t interfere with the efforts of the U.S. Postal Service…)

11. When selecting advertisements for the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau asks the creative directors of 12 different advertising firms to submit proposals via a “creative rumble.”

12. Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of the 2000 Advance Letter Debacle in 2010…

13. There will be extra Census Bureau staff in New Orleans to personally hand deliver 2010 Census questionnaires to every household.

14. The address canvassing portion of the 2010 Census provided data that there are approximately 134 million individual housing units in the US, down from original estimates of 140 million.

15. Many addresses in places like Las Vegas where construction on homes was started but never finished have been deleted from the 2010 Census rolls.

16. Very, very, very few people hired to work for the Census Bureau as temporary workers have quit during the 2009-2010 cycle, as other jobs are extremely scarce.

17. On November 17 at 9:30am, Dr. Robert M. Groves will be holding his next monthly “State of the 2010 Census” address…

I was given some handouts (drawings of a 2010 Census logo on a NASCAR racecar that will be unveiled soon), portions of powerpoints (that showed me data about levels of Census participation), and had the opportunity to see one of the hip-hop music based commercials that was recently shot in LA and will soon be airing nationwide. It was a smooth operation, and my questions were answered well. Were the answers necessarily honest? No. But did the PR team effectively do their jobs to give give off the image of squeaky clean 2010 Census communications operations? Absolutely.

Avencia Launches Redistricting the Nation.com, a Ground-Breaking Public Engagement Web Application

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Philadelphia, PA – October 21, 2009 – Following the upcoming 2010 census reports, states and municipalities will engage in a nationwide legislative redistricting process.  But in some parts of the country, the redrawing of district boundaries for partisan advantage has been rampant, which ultimately reduces the impact of individual voters on the election, resulting in lower voter turnout, and less competitive races.  The expanded use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has created both new potential for sophisticated gerrymandering and a possible means of implementing unbiased redistricting. 
With Redistricting 2011 around the corner, Avencia Incorporated, a Philadelphia-based geographic analysis and software development firm, is releasing the “Redistricting The Nation” (www.redistrictingthenation.com) website to provide the public with better information about the legislative redistricting process and tools that support and encourage fair representation and competitive elections.  
The site allows citizens and advocacy groups to:Enter their address (nation-wide) and view the “shape” of their federal, state, and local election districts.Learn who is in charge of drawing the boundaries of their election districts (e.g., independent commissions or elected representatives). Compare the “compactness” scores of their election district to other, similar districts (less compact and unusually shaped districts are more likely to be gerrymandered).Draw new district boundaries on a map and generate compactness scores for the new district. Avencia is also concurrently releasing a revised version of its 2006 study of gerrymandering (“Redraw the Map on Redistricting 2010”).  The new study expands the scope and methodology of Avencia’s original “Gerrymandering Index” to include state-level districts, council districts, and political wards for several new cities, and introduces three additional techniques for measuring districts’ compactness.  While poor compactness scores do not prove gerrymandering, they are a measurable indication of the practice.
The whitepaper ranks the ten most gerrymandered local, state, and federal districts in the country based on four different measures of compactness.  The study reveals some interesting findings. For instance, at the Congressional level, both FL-22 and NC-12 rank high in the study’s Top Ten for all four measures of compactness, while some of the worst offenders at the local level are: Philadelphia, PA-District 7; Miami, FL-District 2; Jacksonville, FL-District 11; Houston, TX-District E; New York, NY-District 4; and Philadelphia, PA-District 5.
Avencia is no stranger to political and election-focused projects.  Earlier this month, Avencia and Committee of Seventy, the Philadelphia region’s premier non-partisan government watchdog group, launched a sister website to the “Redistricting The Nation” site, dedicated to raising public awareness in the Greater Philadelphia area about the potential impact of the 2010 census on federal, state, and local election districts, available at www.redistrictingthenation.com/philadelphia.  During the November 2008 presidential election, the firm built a Voting Incident Tracking and Mapping web-based application that tracked voting problems in real-time to enable Committee of Seventy’s record-setting 1,000 person volunteer force to respond faster and more efficiently.  Avencia also worked for multiple candidates in races to generate campaign walking and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) maps, and most recently generated over 400 campaign financing analysis maps for MapLight.org for their ‘Remote Control’ report.
“It is exciting to be able to leverage our global database of legislative districts and GIS analysis tools to promote good government and nonpartisan redistricting,” said Robert Cheetham, Avencia’s CEO. “It is a process that can be easily manipulated to protect incumbents and discourage competitive races. Our goal with this new site is to both educate the public early in the Census 2010 cycle, and to create software tools that will promote a more open, citizen-driven and transparent redistricting process in 2011.”
Political geography is at the center of several ongoing projects at Avencia.  The white paper analysis of compactness of election districts was made possible by Avencia’s Cicero product, a legislative district matching and elected official lookup web API, developed for local governments, unions, businesses, and non-profit political and advocacy organizations to match citizens with their local, state, and national elected officials.  Cicero taps a global database of legislative district maps and information about politicians, legislative bodies, and election events.  Initially beginning with only a few cities, Avencia has grown the database to include national, state and local legislatures for the United States and several other countries and made an interactive version available to the public.

 

About Avencia
Avencia is an award-winning, Philadelphia-based geographic analysis and software development firm specializing in the creation of innovative location-based software tools to enhance decision-making processes.  Avencia believes these location-based technologies can help promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant communities. For more information, visit www.avencia.com

Philadelphia Lags Behind in 2010 Census Preparation Activities

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Hmmmm…maybe Philly Mayor Michael Nutter was either too busy dealing with Philly’s fiscal crisis or just not as committed to the 2010 Census as he claimed to be at a Senate hearing in April. Thanks to the Pew Charitable Trust for producing such a comprehensive report:

PEW REPORT EXAMINES CENSUS PREPARATIONS IN PHILADELPHIA

AND OTHER MAJOR CITIES

Philadelphia Lagging Behind Others in Preparation Activities

A new study from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative finds that Philadelphia is lagging behind other major cities in mounting the kind of local outreach and awareness campaign for the 2010 Census that many experts consider important for achieving a full count.

The studyPreparing for the 2010 Census: How Philadelphia and Other Cities Are Struggling and Why It Matters, looked at the preparations of Philadelphia and 10 other major cities for the 2010 Census. These include the five cities with larger populations than Philadelphia—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix—and five chosen for their similarities to Philadelphia and their experience in dealing with the Census—Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

The report finds that almost all of the cities studied have less money and fewer staffers for this Census than they did in 2000.

“Census preparation really matters,” said Thomas Ginsberg, project manager of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative. “The outreach efforts are a cross between an election campaign and a municipal self-promotion drive, with very real ramifications that will be felt for the next 10 years.”

Philadelphia officials are planning to announce their local outreach campaign soon. And officials interviewed for the study say they are confident of their ability to catch up and conduct an effective outreach effort. In addition, they have launched the city’s first-ever challenge to the official population estimates the U.S. Census Bureau issues each year. The challenge, if fully accepted by the bureau, would produce a number showing that Philadelphia’s population is now growing after six decades of decline.

Seven of the other 10 cities had appointed or hired Census coordinators by last summer and had launched their citywide coordinating committees by early October. The other three—Boston, Chicago and Detroit—already are lined up to receive considerable financial and organizing support from local and statewide donor networks established specifically for the Census.

Preparing for the 2010 Census lays out what is at stake for cities: Without strong outreach and technical preparation by cities, the Census Bureau may have trouble improving its urban counts over previous Censuses and raising the below-average rate at which residents participate in its official once-a-decade count. That could lead to greater undercounts of certain groups or an entire city, which in turn would affect the population basis on which billions of tax dollars will be distributed over the coming decade and by which legislative seats—federal, state and local—will be allocated in 2011.

The stakes are particularly high in Philadelphia and other big cities that have high concentrations of the hard-to-count groups, including renters, immigrants, African Americans and Hispanics. According to an analysis conducted for the Philadelphia Research Initiative by Temple University statistician Eugene P. Ericksen, the Census Bureau likely undercounted Philadelphia’s population by an estimated 8,326 people a decade ago, or about 0.5 percent. Many of the other cities included in the report had similar or larger estimated undercounts.

About $430 billion in federal funds were distributed to local governments and residents in fiscal 2008, the last year for which such numbers are available, based at least in part on Census data. Analysts at the Brookings Institution say that Philadelphia and its residents received about $2,796 per capita, through Medicaid, housing vouchers, transportation funding and other programs. Due to the ways that the funding formulas work, the amount of money that would be generated by counting additional Philadelphians would be less than $2,796. But how much less is hard to say. It would depend on numerous factors, including the demographic characteristics of the individuals.

Apart from outreach campaigns, the study found that all 11 cities, including Philadelphia, have been participating in the voluntary technical Census Bureau programs that many experts consider more important to achieving a full count. The programs include a massive updating of household addresses, through which the cities submitted more than 1.5 million new or corrected addresses for the bureau to target next spring.

“For Philadelphia, a significant impact of the Census results could be in terms of the city’s psyche and its ability to promote itself. The city would get a lift if the headcount in 2010—or the challenge being launched over the recent population estimates—shows a population gain,” said Ginsberg. The count in 2000 was 1,517,550, and the most recent estimate was 1,447,395. The city’s challenge contends the recent figure should have been 1,536,171, higher than either previous figure. The Census Bureau is expected to rule on the city’s figure by the end of 2009. Pew’s research found that many cities have no plans to appropriate any public funds specifically for Census preparations; this is the case in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh, although all of those cities, including Philadelphia, expect to make use of existing staff and resources with some staff help from the Census Bureau. A decade ago, the city put in $200,000 and received $165,000 in philanthropic donations.

The shortfalls are leading many cities to rely on unpaid volunteers and grassroots organizing even more than in the past. City officials in Philadelphia are still hoping to receive funds from private sources. The William Penn Foundation has committed $12,350 for data analysis; city and Census Bureau officials held an initial briefing with other potential local funders in late September.

About the Report

To prepare this report, Thomas Ginsberg, project manager of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative, studied numerous reports about the Census and talked to officials at the Census Bureau, independent experts and officials in Philadelphia and the 10 other cities. The report includes independent work done by Eugene P. Ericksen of Temple University, a nationally-recognized expert in assessing the accuracy of the Census, and by the Brookings Institution.

About The Philadelphia Research Initiative

The Philadelphia Research Initiative was created by Pew in fall 2008 to study critical issues facing Philadelphia and provide impartial research and analysis for the benefit of decision makers, the news media and the public. The initiative conducts public opinion polling, produces in-depth reports, and publishes briefs that illuminate front-and-center issues.

About Pew

The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

McHenry: Census Bureau Failures Are Unacceptable

Monday, October 12th, 2009

WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Ranking Member on the Census Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the troubling admission by the U.S. Census Bureau that its cost estimation models are a complete failure.  The recently concluded address canvassing operation went over budget by 25%.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also reports that failures in the fingerprint training process led to the hiring of as many as 200 temporary census workers with criminal backgrounds.

“Republicans and Democrats alike stand ready to provide adequate funding for a successful census.  But it now seems that the Census Bureau is incapable of determining what that cost will be.

“While I appreciate Dr. Groves being forthright and understand that these problems are not of his making, corrective action must take place immediately.  The 2010 Decennial, which is already funded to the tune of $14.7 billion, is just around the corner.  The Census Bureau must fix its costs estimation model quickly and report back to Congress with an accurate figure.

“The Census Bureau will soon begin hiring hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and yet its safeguards against hiring criminals are in jeopardy.  GAO has identified insufficient training in fingerprint-taking as the cause of this failure.

“Bureaucratic incompetence that leads to the hiring of criminals as census takers threatens the integrity of 2010 Decennial.  This problem must be fixed immediately and assurances must be given to Congress and the American people that it will not happen again.”

Kudos Dr. Groves and Secretary Locke

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Last week, we wrote about trouble brewing in California over language issues on questionnaires, but fortunately the problem has been resolved due to the swift and effective action of Census Director Dr. Robert M. Groves and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. The changes that have been made are detailed in the following letter obtained by MyTwoCensus.com:

October 5, 2009

Dear Secretary Locke and Director Groves:

In my September 28 letter to Secretary Locke, I shared my concern about sending an English-only Advance Letter.  I am pleased that a change has been made in policy to incorporate a prominent postscript on how to get language assistance in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian.  This decision will provide Californians the added opportunity to be counted as residents.

I would like to thank you for the prompt change in policy and I look forward to working with each of you to ensure all Californians are counted.

Respectfully,

Ditas Katague
Director, 2010 Census Statewide Outreach



Press Release from Senator Tom Carper’s office

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

FOR RELEASE: Oct. 6, 2009

CONTACT:  Bette Phelan (202) 224-2441

U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs

HEARING: “2010 Census – A Status Update of Key Decennial Operations.”

WASHINGTON (Oct. 6, 2009) – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, will hold a hearing Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 p.m. titled “2010 Census: A Status Update of Key Decennial Operations.”

With less than six months before Census Day 2010, this hearing will provide a status update of key decennial operations, estimated to cost more than $14.7 billion.

Census Director Dr. Robert Groves, in his first appearance before the committee since his confirmation, will provide updates on the Bureau’s recent completion of its address canvassing operation; the progress of the Bureau’s testing of key decennial information technology and operational systems; the use of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act spending to enhance outreach to hard-to-count communities; and the Bureau’s response to program and operational challenges identified by both GAO and the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General.

WHEN:Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

WITNESSES:

The Honorable Robert M. Groves, Director, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce

Todd Zinser, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Commerce

Robert Goldenkoff, Director, Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Update on 2010 Census Media Campaign: October 15th Deadline

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Check out the following press release/call for media companies to do biz with the Census Bureau:

The 2010 Census will provide a once-in-a-decade snapshot of the nation’s population which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The information collected during the census assists government leaders in making historic decisions, such as the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data are also used to help distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds back to state and local governments each year. Information from the census is used to determine where to fund infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.

The 2010 Census will be “short form-only.” In March, households will receive a form that asks just a few questions, such as number of people in household, race/ethnicity and age.

  • Announcement Letter: March 8th – March 10th
  • Initial mail out of form: March 15th – 17th
  • Replacement Questionnaire mailed: April 1st – April 10th
  • Reminder Postcard mailed: April 22nd – April 24th
  • In-home follow up to non-responders: May 1st – July 10th

In order to inform everyone about the 2010 Census and its importance, the U.S. Census Bureau has developed an integrated communications campaign (ICC) that includes paid media, earned media, a national partnership program and the Census in Schools program. The three goals of the ICC are:

  1. Increasing mail response
  2. Improving accuracy and reducing the differential undercount
  3. Improving cooperation with enumerators

Our prime contractor, DraftFCB and their partner agencies have developed the Paid Media Plan, described in this document, to make the 2010 Census the most pervasive message everywhere, especially during the mail-out/mail-back phase in March and April 2010. The Plan was created with the work of eight partner media agencies, will encompass multiple languages and reach into every market across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Paid Media Plan Summary

The Paid Media Plan encompasses all media types and is skewed towards those segments of the populations that are considered hard to count (HTC; less likely to respond). The media habits and interests of these population groups drive when and where media will be purchased.

Paid media will be purchased for:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Interactive
  • Outdoor & transit
  • Print (Newspaper and Magazines)

Paid media materials were developed in multiple languages to ensure that everyone is reached with relevant communications. DraftFCB, in concert with the partner agencies below, developed paid media plans designed to incite mass participation in the 2010 Census.

  • Mass audience, all English – DraftFCB
  • African-American/Black African/Caribbean/Haitian – GlobalHue
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language National) – GlobalHue Latino
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language Local)- d. Exposito & Partners
  • Asian – IW Group
  • American Indian/Alaska Native – G&G Advertising
  • Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander- G&G Advertising
  • Emerging Audiences (Russian, Polish and Arabic) – Allied Media Group
  • Puerto Rico – DraftFCB Puerto Rico

Local Market Coverage

National efforts will cover all the markets however specific local markets will be identified for incremental support designed to reach the Hard to Count populations as part of the RFP process.

Paid Media Campaign Phases

The paid media campaign will occur in three phases:

  1. January-February 2010 (Awareness/Education)
    Goal: Build immediate awareness and provide educational information
  2. March-April 2010 (Motivation/Participation)
    Goal: Inspire and motivate everyone to complete the census questionnaire
  3. May-June 2010 (Support census workers when they knock on doors of those households who did not return the census questionnaire. Also known as “non-response follow up)
    Goal: encourage participation with the census workers

All target segments require awareness of Census benefits and prompting to participate, but specific communication strategies are needed to ensure highest participation levels.

Paid Media Buying Phases

  • 2010 Census Paid Media negotiations will occur in two phases:
    1. Census Upfront – Appropriate Contractors will negotiate multi-platform deals with large companies such as Time Warner, Disney ABC, etc. to negotiate the best pricing, placements and added value for the Campaign. These negotiations will begin in May because of the longer lead time needed to develop integrated programs and is in line with industry practice for national television negotiations.
    2. All Other Media Buying – Given the number of potential media vendors, Contractors will begin their outreach efforts to solicit information starting in June. Negotiations and commitments for all other media such as “scatter” national TV, local TV and radio, magazines, newspaper, Internet and outdoor will not be finalized until October – November.

All media vendors will have a fair opportunity to submit proposals via a questionnaire (provided below). This questionnaire and other request for proposals will be part of the buying process. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the following questionnaire. The deadline to submit your information is: October 15, 2009.

(Click here for link to questionnaire)

Full disclosure: As the only private web site in the world that focuses its content on the 2010 Census, MyTwoCensus.com just applied to be a media partner with the 2010 Census, as this would satisfy our original stated goal of creating the most accurate 2010 Census possible, particularly because we trust this site as a source of information and ads more than we trust other media companies.

Census Bureau Press Release: Frequently Asked Questions on Death of William E. Sparkman, Jr.

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions on Death of William E. Sparkman, Jr.

Statement from Census Bureau Director Bob Groves:

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker, William Sparkman. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Sparkman’s family and friends. We are monitoring the developments closely.

“The work of everyone in the Census Bureau depends on the success of our field representatives. They are the front line of the work we do. Mr. Sparkman was a shining example of the hard-working men and women the Census Bureau has in the field. The work they do on a daily basis is not easy but is a great and important service to our nation.”

Q: What can you tell us about the investigation or the circumstances of Mr. Sparkman’s death?

    A:  The extent of information we have about the investigation is that the FBI is currently gathering evidence to determine whether this death was the result of foul play. Any other questions related to the investigation or the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sparkman’s death should be directed to:
    • Kyle Edelen
    • Kentucky U.S. Attorney’s Office
    • 859-685-4811

Q: When did the Census Bureau learn of Mr. Sparkman’s death?

    A:  After the Census Bureau was informed of this tragedy by the FBI on September 12, Census Bureau Director Bob Groves and local regional director Wayne Hatcher flew to Kentucky to meet with law enforcement officials and the family of Mr. Sparkman to convey our condolences and to offer any assistance they could. They also met with other Census Bureau field representatives in the area to share our grief, to thank them for their service, and to advise them to seek any counseling that they might wish to have.

Q: Are you worried about the safety of other Census Bureau staff?

    A: We have no information that this tragedy was related Mr. Sparkman’s work with the Census Bureau. Over the past decade Census employees have maintained a high level of safety on the job.
    Employees learn that safety is of the utmost importance from their first day on the job, when they receive intensive training on steps they can take to protect themselves in a variety of settings. All employees receive ongoing reminders to take safety precautions when they are in the field. That practice will continue. Violence against Census Bureau employees is extremely rare.

Q: How many people are going door to door in the field?

A: We have an ongoing workforce of approximately 5,900 field representatives who conduct the American Community Survey and other surveys the Census Bureau conducts throughout the year and throughout the decade. In the spring of 2010 we will have nearly 700,000 temporary workers in the field conducting follow-up on the 2010 Census.

Census Bureau Press Release: Independent Panel Commends the 2010 Census Paid Media Plan

Monday, September 21st, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that an independent
panel of five distinguished marketing and communications scholars
unanimously agreed that both industry and academic best practices were used
to develop the paid media portion of the 2010 Census Integrated
Communications Campaign.

“My overall assessment is that the processes to develop the 2010 Census
Integrated Communications Campaign are fundamentally sound,” said Academic
Assessment Panel Chair Dr. Jerome D. Williams, the F.J. Heyne Centennial
Professor in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. “I feel
the Census Bureau and the DraftFCB team have done an exceptional job and
are to be applauded for what has been developed so far under very
challenging conditions.”

The Census Bureau formed the Academic Assessment Panel in April 2009 to
evaluate the methods used to define and develop the communications
campaign.

This was the first time the Census Bureau has commissioned an objective
panel to review the communications campaign’s work prior to the conclusion
of the decennial census. It is yet one more additional element in a very
extensive external review process by the Bureau, which includes the
Congress, formal advisory committees, stakeholder groups, representatives
of the Census Regional offices, and the Department of Commerce. Obtaining
recommendations from a panel of academic experts at this early juncture
allowed the Census Bureau sufficient time to employ their recommendations
before the media implementation plans were finalized.

“The Academic Assessment Panel’s recommendations have enhanced the 2010
Census Communications Campaign,” said Raul E. Cisneros, the Census Bureau’s
2010 Census Publicity Office Chief. “Their completely independent and
objective review allowed us to look at the work done to date on the
campaign with fresh eyes and make improvements and refinements where
needed,” Cisneros said.

“The Census Bureau must count everyone in this country once, only once,
and in the right place, and a robust and effective communications campaign
is vital to help us reach that goal. We are grateful for the very serious
and intensive work the panel undertook in a short time frame,” added
Cisneros.

The 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign is comprised of paid
advertising, public relations, partnerships, online interaction and a
Census in Schools program that have been designed and guided at every step
of the process by detailed research. Each of these components will be
crucial to increasing the public’s awareness of the 2010 Census and
motivating participation in the decennial enumeration.

Census Director Robert M. Groves’ Letter To Sever Ties With ACORN

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Find the letter below:

September 11, 2009

Ms. Maude Hurd

President

ACORN

739 8th St SE

Washington, DC 20003

Dear Ms. Hurd:

The goal of the U.S. Census Bureau’s partnership program is to combine the strengths of state, local, and tribal governments, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others to ensure an accurate 2010 Census. While not (sic) Census bureau employees, partners are advocates for census cooperation and participation. They serve a trusted voices within their communities and are critical to our strategy to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

The Census Bureau has established criteria for partnerships, which are listed on our Web site at <www.census.gov >, and reserves the right to decline partnership or to terminate an existing partnership agreement with any group that 1) may create a negative connotation for the Census Bureau; 2) could distract from the Census Bureau’s mission; or, 3) may make people fearful of participating in the census.

To that end, and in keeping with the standards we shared with your organization and others who volunteered to partner with the Census Bureau to help promote the 2010 Census, we are today terminating our Partnership Agreement with ACORN.

Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts.

While not decisive factors in this decision, recent events concerning several local offices of ACORN have added to the worsening negative perceptions of ACORN and its affiliation with our partnership efforts.

We do not come to this decision lightly. It was our original assessment that your organization could be helpful in encouraging cooperation with the 2010 Census among individuals who are historically hard to count, including renters, low-income residents, the linguistically isolated, and others. As of today, we have close to 80,000 partnership agreements with national and local groups – many of whom are trusted voices and serve these same populations – and we will be relying upon those groups to continue our outreach in the communities you serve. The full participation of those populations remains of utmost importance to us.

Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership.

Respectfully,

Robert M. Groves

Director

BREAKING NEWS: CENSUS BUREAU CUTS OFF ACORN, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

The following comes from Hope Yen of the Associated Press, but has also been reported by nearly every major news outlet:

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau on Friday severed its ties with ACORN, a community organization that has been hit with Republican accusations of voter-registration fraud. “We do not come to this decision lightly,” Census director Robert Groves wrote in a letter to ACORN, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

In splitting with ACORN, Groves sought to tamp down GOP concerns and negative publicity that the partnership will taint the 2010 head count.

“It is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 census efforts,” Groves wrote.

Stephen Buckner, a census spokesman, confirmed the letter, but declined additional comment.

ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson did not immediately return a request for comment.

In recent months, Republicans have become increasingly critical of the census’ ties with ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The group, which advocates for poor people, conducted a massive voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some employees were accused of submitting false registration forms with names such as “Mickey Mouse.”

ACORN has said only a handful of employees submitted false registration forms and did so in a bid to boost their pay.

Partly citing ACORN’s role, Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and David Vitter, R-La., earlier this year blocked a full confirmation vote of Groves for several weeks. Rep. Michelle Bachman, R-Minn., also has been calling for a census boycott because of her concerns about whether the group would tamper with the high-stakes population count.

Up to now, the Census Bureau had defended ACORN’s involvement, explaining it was one of 80,000 unpaid volunteer groups that the bureau hoped would be able to raise local awareness. But in his letter, Groves said it no longer had confidence that ACORN was effectively managing its partnership.

ACORN fired two employees who were seen on hidden-camera video giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman who pretended to be a prostitute. Fox News Channel broadcast excerpts from the video on Thursday. On the video, a man and woman visiting ACORN’s Baltimore office asked about buying a house and how to account on tax forms for the woman’s income. An ACORN employee advised the woman to list her occupation as “performance artist.”

In a statement, ACORN Maryland board member Margaret Williams said the video was an attempt to smear ACORN, and that undercover teams attempted similar setups in at least three other ACORN offices. Williams said no tax returns were filed and no assistance was provided.

New Advertising Contract: GA1

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The Census Bureau just awarded another significant media contract. This time, the recipient is Global Advertising 1st, known colloquially as GA1.

Here’s the  press release from PR Newswire:

GA1 will launch advertising recruitment campaigns for the 2010 Census that
spans 28 states.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Advertising 1st (GA1), an
award-winning integrated marketing solutions firm, has been chosen to meet the
US Census Bureau's increasing needs to recruit applicants for temporary
positions necessary to conduct the decennial Census in 2010. Since 2008, GA1
has been executing an advertising recruitment campaign in the Philadelphia
region, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Washington,
D.C.

On August 31st, the US Census Bureau contracted GA1 to handle recruitment
advertising in the Boston, Seattle, Kansas City, and Charlotte regions. The
campaigns will launch during the peak recruiting phase of the 2010 Census,
which falls between late 2009 and mid-2010. 

GA1's multicultural expertise has enabled them to reach a key recruitment
objective of the Census, which is to ensure that audiences rich in diversity
have had an opportunity to hear and respond to the recruitment message. The
advertising campaigns in the Boston, Seattle, Kansas City, and Charlotte
regions span 28 states. "GA1 has been proactive in designating teams to serve
each of the regions and the thousands of media placements our team will be
handling until the US Census 2010 goals are met," stated Derrick Hollie,
president and CEO of GA1. The US Census Bureau must recruit approximately 3.8
million applicants to staff temporary census positions for all census
operations nationwide. This formidable task is the largest peacetime
mobilization effort in America's history. Hollie says, "GA1 is excited to be a
part of such an important initiative mandated by the US government, and our
team is prepared to make the 2010 Census a huge success. 

Census operations and recruitment efforts are divided among twelve Regional
Census Centers (RCC). GA1 will implement recruitment advertising in five of
the twelve regions. RCCs are temporary Census Bureau offices established
during a decennial census to manage census field office and local census
office activities, and to conduct geographic programs and support operations. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is the primary source of statistical information about
the Nation's population and economy, and is best known for the decennial
census of population and housing. By December 31, 2010, the Census Bureau must
deliver to the President, state level population counts and the calculations
for reapportioning the United States House of Representatives. More detailed
counts must be delivered to the states by March 31, 2011 for the purpose of
redistricting.   

About GA1:
Global Advertising 1st (GA1) is an award-winning minority-owned, full-service
marketing solutions firm that specializes in providing innovative approaches
to disseminating our clients' messages. GA1 has created and implemented
campaigns for clients such as the US Department of Education, US Department of
Housing and Urban Development, Gillette, Dodge, the US Department of State and
American Lung Association of DC, and the 2010 US Census. GA1 holds a GSA AIMS
Schedule 541 and does the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a
qualified minority-owned business for government media placement certify 8(a).
GA1 has also received multiple state and local authorities. For a complete
list of our certifications and awards please visit: www.globalad1.com.

SOURCE  Global Advertising 1st

Tobi Davis of Global Advertising 1st, +1-301-731-4255, tdavis@globalad1.com

Homecoming for Bob Groves

Friday, September 4th, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPT. 3, 2009

Kim Hunter
CB09-CR.05
Detroit Regional Census Center
313-799-1495

Census Bureau Director to Visit Detroit Regional Census Center

Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves returns home Friday, Sept. 4, to
Michigan for the first time since he was confirmed as head of the Census
Bureau in July. Groves will visit the Detroit Regional Census Center to
review operational readiness for the 2010 Census and to ensure an
accurate count in Michigan. He will also meet with Wayne County
Executive Robert Ficano.

Prior to his job as Census Bureau Director, Groves was director of the
University of Michigan Survey Research Center. He received his
bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his master’s and doctorate
from the University of Michigan.

With only seven months until Census Day, April 1, 2010, Groves oversees
planning for the 2010 Census, which is on track to be the most accurate
and technologically advanced in our nation’s history. The 2010 Census
will also be the shortest ever with only 10 questions. Census data are
used to distribute congressional seats to states, to distribute more
than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal
governments each year and to make decisions about what community
services to provide.

Groves’ visit to the Detroit Regional Census Center is closed to the
media, however, he is available upon request for interviews.