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.

Posts Tagged ‘1790’

Racebox.org

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

This is an interesting (and extremely simple) web site that displays what the “race question” on census forms has looked like since 1790. It’s definitely worth checking out: Racebox.org

The historical impact of technology on the 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As the 2010 Census approaches, more and more questions are pouring in about the history of the decennial census –spanning  from the 1790 Census to the present. From the Census Bureau’s self-recorded history, we’d like to give a hat tip to Vector1media.com for highlighting the following points about the progression of  technology and the census:

  • 1890 is the first year that census workers were given detailed maps to help complete their tasks, and it’s also the same year that an electric tabulating system was utilized for the count
  • 1950 was the first time a computer was used to tabulate results, and it was also the first computer designed for civilian use
  • 1960 was the first time that census results were digitally recorded (on magnetic tape)
  • 1970 was the first time that census data products were made available digitally on magnetic tape.
  • 1980 saw the creation of the State Data Center Program for easier access to digital data on computer tapes
  • 1990 was the year that the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER), computer-based maps, was introduced. It also was the first year that data was released on CD-ROM
  • 2000 was when the Internet became the primary means of distributing Census data
  • 2010 won’t include the “long form” because this more detailed collection has been converted to the ongoing American Community Survey
  • Additionally, the Census Bureau sent out a media advisory today with historical Census Bureau information. Enjoy it here:

    1790
    (See < http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1790.html>
    for more information)
    – Census Day was Aug. 2 (the first Monday of the month).
    – Six questions were asked.
    – The census was conducted in the 13 original states as well as the
    districts of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky and the Southwest Territory
    (Tennessee).
    – U.S. marshals, who conducted the census, submitted their results to
    Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, nominal director of the census.
    – President George Washington delivered the first “State of the Union”
    address on Jan. 8, 1790.
    – Rhode Island entered the Union as the 13th state, May 29, 1790.
    – U.S. population: 3.9 million. (more…)

    Our Unconstitutional Census

    Monday, August 10th, 2009

    Here is an excerpt from a very interesting op-ed that was published in today’s Wall Street Journal (For the entire article, CLICK HERE):

    California could get nine House seats it doesn’t deserve because illegal aliens will be counted in 2010.

    By JOHN S. BAKER AND ELLIOTT STONECIPHER

    Mr. Baker teaches constitutional law at Louisiana State University. Mr. Stonecipher is a Louisiana pollster and demographic analyst.

    Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t.

    Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on.

    In 1790, the first Census Act provided that the enumeration of that year would count “inhabitants” and “distinguish” various subgroups by age, sex, status as free persons, etc. Inhabitant was a term with a well-defined meaning that encompassed, as the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

    Thus early census questionnaires generally asked a question that got at the issue of citizenship or permanent resident status, e.g., “what state or foreign country were you born in?” or whether an individual who said he was foreign-born was naturalized. Over the years, however, Congress and the Census Bureau have added inquiries that have little or nothing to do with census’s constitutional purpose.

    By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

    The 2010 census will use only the short form. The long form has been replaced by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey. Dr. Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told us in a recent interview that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because “Congress has not asked us to do that.”

    Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed. According to the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey data (2007), states with a significant net gain in population by inclusion of noncitizens include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas. (There are tiny net gains for Hawaii and Massachusetts.)

    This makes a real difference. Here’s why:

    According to the latest American Community Survey, California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

    However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat). Using a similar projection, Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.