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 ‘2010’

The 2010 Census was close, but not perfect…

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

According to the Associated Press, “The 2010 census missed more than 1.5 million minority members after struggling to count black Americans, Hispanics, renters and young men, but it was mostly accurate, according to an assessment released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday.”

This is sure to revive the controversial issue of whether statistical sampling can be used in the 2020 Census. Though minority groups likely have advocates for them in the form of organized advocacy groups, “young men” and “renters” will likely continue to be shortchanged when political decisions are made.

Rahm Emanuel Wants A Re-Count For Chicago – Disputing 2010 Census Results

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

In the run up to the 2010 Census, Rahm Emanuel took a significant amount of flack for trying to bring the 2010 Census under the auspices of the White House. Republicans were enraged that President Obama’s then chief-of-staff had the chutzpah to try to transform an independent agency into a White House subsidiary. But now Emanuel is in the news for other reasons. As Mayor of Chicago, Emanuel is fighting for the $1,200 that each resident is worth in terms of annual federal subsidies. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is mounting a challenge to 2010 U.S. Census estimates that Chicago lost about 200,000 residents.

Big city mayors regularly contest the once-a-decade census results, which determine how much federal funding flows to different parts of the country. Chicago would gain about $1,200 annually for the next decade for each person added to the official population, according to Emanuel’s office.

Emanuel’s predecessor, Mayor Richard Daley, launched an unsuccessful bid to get Chicago’s 2000 population numbers increased. In 1990, Daley and other mayors tried futilely to get Congress to give them additional time to fight the census results.

The 2010 census estimated Chicago lost about 181,000 African-Americans and about 53,000 whites. Meanwhile, the Latino population grew by about 25,000 and the Asian population went up more than 20,000. Overall, the city’s estimated population in 2010 was 2,695,598.

City workers used estimates of the occupancy rates of housing units in particular neighborhoods to come up with areas they believe the census numbers were low, according to a news release from the Emanuel administration.

WSJ: Alternative methods of counting for the Census Bureau

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Here’s a great article from the Wall Street Journal…Be careful, otherwise you might end up like William Rickenbacker:

By CARL BIALIK

Even in a mandatory census, there are conscientious objectors.

Completing a census form is required by law, but census takers haven’t been able to get any information from more than 500,000 U.S. households this year. While census evaders theoretically can be fined up to $5,000, in practice they are rarely penalized—none were in 2010 or in 2000—for fear of creating a public backlash.

[NUMBGUY] Eddie Rickenbacker Papers, Auburn University Library Special CollectionsWilliam Rickenbacker was fined $100 for refusing to respond to a 1960 census questionnaire, making him one of the few Americans to ever face a penalty for noncompliance.

Instead, the Census Bureau combines threats of penalties with painstaking follow-up over the phone and in person, including interviews with neighbors of nonresponding households. That approach, backed by rapidly rising spending for advertising and census workers, yields near-complete coverage of the U.S. population.

That balancing act is costly, but it yields better statistics than a voluntary census, statisticians say. Calling a survey mandatory boosts participation significantly, they argue, even when enforcement is limited. That is why some data experts in Canada are assailing the government’s new plan to make many census questions there optional.

But as the 2010 U.S. decennial census winds down, a number of critics say even more reliable demographic data could be obtained at far less cost. They point to a system in some European countries that links personal identification numbers to government records on births, deaths, housing and other characteristics. That allows for an annual census rather than waiting every 10 years, and eliminates much of the error experts say arises when people self-report their information.

“The statistical systems in the Netherlands and Germany are much better than our statistical system, because they have a registration system,” said Kenneth Prewitt, the director of the Census Bureau during the 2000 census and now a professor of public affairs at Columbia University. (more…)

To 2020 and beyond…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

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…

Dr. Groves deflects discussion of 2010 Census in interview and talks about 2020 instead….

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The Census Bureau’s PR and spin team is at it again. What better way for Census Director Robert M. Groves to avoid talking about the failures of the 2010 Census than to discuss the 2020 Census? Even more shocking is the mainstream media’s failure to report on the Census Bureau problems and jump all over the quote from the interview with Federal News Radio:

Director Robert Groves told Federal News Radio the Bureau is already planning to test using the Internet using the American Community Survey (ACS).

“One of the things I’m committed to,” said Groves, “is to using the surveys, especially the American Community Survey as a platform to test various ideas for 2020.”

No way! In the year 2020, the Census Bureau plans to use, get this, the INTERNET! That’s only like 10 years behind what all the rest of the developed nations are doing!

MyTwoCensus Editorial: The Census Bureau PR Machine is at it again…Return rates for 2010 are not better than return rates for 2000, and here’s why

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

In mid and late March, the return rate for the 2010 Census wasn’t looking good. In fact, it appeared that return rates from the 2000 Census (that lacked this year’s multimillion-dollar ad campaign) would exceed the 2010 Census rates. In a comment posted on this blog on March 25, 2010, Steve Jost, the Census Bureau’s Associate Director of Communications wrote “It is tricky business comparing 2010 to 2000 for lots of reasons…2000 had a Long Form and a Short Form. 2010 is a Short Form only Census.” This is an excellent and true point. (The long and short forms for the 2000 Census can be found HERE.)

In 2000, some 16% of decennial census questionnaires were “long form” versions of the census with more than 100 questions — many of which take a significant amount of time to answer. This year, the census is the shortest ever, with only 10 questions. However, since the public was informed that 72% of American households mailed back there 2010 Census forms, the Census Bureau has had no problem comparing apples to oranges as it praises this year’s participation rates over those from 2000. My point is clear: In the 2000 Census, approximately 20 million households received the long form.  Any statistician or communications expert will tell you that it is infinitely more difficult to convince someone to complete a 100+ question form than a 10 question form.

So when the Census Bureau claims that it has exceeded its 2000 return rates, let’s not kid ourselves: In 2010 it’s like every household has to learn first grade math, whereas in 2000, some 20 million households had to learn calculus.

Here are some screenshots from the official Census Bureau analysis of the 2000 Census Mail Return Rates to illustrate my point:

The chart above illustrates that those people receiving the long form in 2000 participated in the census at significantly lower levels than those people who received the short form.

Essential Information: Common 2010 Census Acronyms/2010 Census Employee Handbook

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

On this web site, particularly in the comments section, many people use acronyms and other jargon associated with the 2010 Census. MyTwoCensus has obtained both a list of acronyms — essentially a 2010 Census dictionary — and an employee handbook that you can use as you need it. I will be linking to this post in our “links” section so this information is easily accessible for all:

Common 2010 Census Acronyms (a 2010 Census dictionary)

2010 Census Employee Handbook (technically called the D590)

And even more acronyms/definitions available from the Census Bureau’s glossary: http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/glossary.html

Ed O’Keefe reports on Census Bureau’s final stats on mailback “participation” rates

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

H/t to Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post:

72% of households responded to 2010 Census

Take a gander at the documents Groves shared with reporters at his announcement earlier today:

The 2010 Census response rate matched returns for the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

Seventy-two percent of American households returned questionnaires by last week and 28 states had higher response rates than 10 years ago. Seven of the 10 most populous counties matched their 2000 response rates as did eight of the 10 most populous cities, the Census Bureau said.

Census Director Robert Groves estimated that between 46 million and 49 million households did not return questionnaires. Temporary census takers hired by the agency will hit the streets starting this week and will visit those addresses up to six times to get answers. The agency will further outline those plans at a news conference Monday.

Groves said he anticipates critics will question why this year’s results only matched the 2000 response rates despite a multimillion-dollar advertising and outreach campaign, but he called this year’s results “unbelievable” because survey response rates have dropped significantly in the past decade.

Socioeconomic concerns rather than race or ethnicity appeared to drive lower response rates, Groves said. Less-educated, lower-income households appeared to respond less. The nation’s foreclosure crisis also contributed to the lower rates, he said.

The total cost of 2010 Census operations — budgeted for about $14 billion — will be known once officials get a complete tally of households that did not respond, Groves said.

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.

Interview With Robert M. Groves: Census Director focuses on putting IT to the test before the big count

Friday, November 27th, 2009

H/t to Gautham Nagesh of NextGov for the following interview with Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves:

Since his confirmation in July, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has found himself in charge of the costliest and most controversial census to date.

Well-publicized technology issues and budget overruns have hampered the bureau’s preparations for the 2010 count. Last month, Groves told lawmakers that the budget overruns leading to the decennial count’s $15 billion price tag were “intolerable.”

But he told Nextgov on Monday that the bureau plans to push the limits of new technology in tests scheduled for after the Thanksgiving break in hope of making sure the census goes as hitch-free as possible in April 2010.

Groves was the director of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and served as associate director of the 1990 census in 1990. Nextgov reporter Gautham Nagesh spoke with him on Monday about the preparations for the 2010 census and the bureau’s progress on solving some of the technology problems that the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general found.

Nextgov: What is the status of the bureau’s preparations for the 2010 decennial census, especially concerning the information technology systems needed to support it?

Groves: I came in July and had not been there since 1990. There are a couple things to note on the IT side: First, I’ve been focused clearly on decennial IT issues, not on looking backwards. We have a new chief information officer, Brian McGrath, who came in weeks before me, and he was engaged in sort of the same thing I’m doing — checking the nature of the infrastructure for the decennial.

We had on our table GAO and IG reports concerning the lack of testing in an integrated way of the various subsystems used for the decennial census. We had some outside folks take a look at whether core subsystems were being tested in an integrated way.

We also have a new set of software we’re building as a result of the abandonment of the handhelds that will support paper-based nonresponse follow-up. That is the critical task on the software side I spend the most time on. After Thanksgiving we will perform a load test on systems that will be in action during nonresponse follow-up. We’re going to make sure we break the system to measure the capacity.

The other thing that’s notable from your readers’ perspective: We’re 80 percent through opening 500 different local Census offices, each of which has its own computer network issues. That was done through Harris Corp., part of the Field Data Collection Automation contract. We’ve got 400 local offices up and running, each site is its own little story. After some initial bumps that seems to be going well.

Nextgov: What was the situation like when you arrived regarding IT systems development? What in your view caused or contributed to the IT challenges at the Census Bureau?

Groves: I haven’t spent much time going back and diagnosing those problems. I have to focus on the future.

But I am a believer in certain philosophies when you develop software and hardware products for large, diverse sets of users, including that a user has to be at the table from Day One. The user has to be part of the inspection process for all the intermediate products as they are developed. The notion of writing down all the specs for complex systems and getting them right the first time, having programmers go away for a while and code those specs, that’s an approach that brings with it big risks.

In my past life in software development I have learned from a management perspective that you’ve got to get the user there all the time. They have to be part of the development. Humans can’t anticipate all the features of a software system before they see the first version of it.

But I need to emphasize that my job hasn’t been postmortem on handhelds, I have just not done that.

Nextgov: There were reports that the handhelds had some problems during address canvassing, particularly regarding their mapping function. How are you dealing with those?

Groves: There are two parts of the master address file: the geographical information that provides boundaries for aerial units and the address records. The big good news is that after this gigantic address canvassing operation, the number of records we have is very close to independent estimates of what it should be: 134 million households. That’s a good thing, based on the independent benchmark we get from sample surveys.

Now we’re going out and checking for clusters of records deleted [during address canvassing]. If you were listed in address canvassing and you noted that an address was improperly placed in a block, your job [as a canvasser] was to delete that one address and add it in the correct place [using the handheld]. We’re scrutinizing any clusters of deletes. In some regions we’ve reinspected areas that look suspicious.

Nextgov: What do they find upon reinspection?

Groves: We’re getting spotty results. It’s not a slam-dunk one way or the other. When we go out and have a whole group of addresses deleted, sometimes everything looks fine, sometimes the ones that were deleted were duplicates, and sometimes they were deleted in error. There’s no typical result.

Nextgov: The idea of using the Internet to collect responses was proposed and rejected last year, despite conducting a pilot in 2000. What’s your opinion on allowing responses online? Is that something you think should be explored for 2020?

Groves: My son filled out a questionnaire for the 2000 census on the Internet. The decision to eliminate the Internet option for 2010 was made before I got here. I haven’t diagnosed that decision. I know the most commonly cited reason is concerns about security, which are indeed real and completely legitimate.

Looking forward, I can say I can’t imagine a 2020 census without some Internet use. At the same time, in the same breath we have to know that neither you nor I have any idea what the 2020 Internet is actually going to be capable of. When I say we must have an Internet option, I must admit I’m not quite sure myself. We have to take advantage of the technology; other countries already are. In 2006, 18 percent of Canadian households responded to their census on the Internet.

Nextgov: Do you plan to serve beyond next year? Would you like to be involved in the planning for the 2020 count?

Groves: I serve at the pleasure of the president and will serve as long as he is pleased with my service. I’m terribly interested in 2020 and also interested in innovation in all of the other surveys the Census Bureau does, thousands depending on how you count. The challenge of doing economic and social measurement in this country is never-ending. The rate of innovation lets us use technology in new and important ways; it can change the way we measure the country. That pace has to pick up in any organization like the Census Bureau. I’m terribly interested in being part of that.

Are 13.5 million bilingual forms enough for America?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

In the below report, the AP discusses the ongoing efforts of the Census Bureau to integrate bilingual measures into the decennial headcount. However, as we wrote yesterday, many government leaders in California feel that these efforts don’t go far enough to reach the millions of Americans who don’t speak English:

LONG BEACH, Calif. — When Teresa Ocampo opens her census questionnaire, she won’t have to worry about navigating another document in English.

The 40-year old housewife who only speaks basic English will be able to fill hers out in Spanish — which is exactly what U.S. officials were banking on when they decided to mail out millions of bilingual questionnaires next year.

For the first time, the decennial census will be distributed in the two languages to 13.5 million households in predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Latino advocates hope the forms will lead to a more accurate count by winning over the trust of immigrants who are often wary of government and may be even more fearful after the recent surge in immigration raids and deportations.

“If the government is reaching out to you in a language you understand, it helps build trust,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “I think the community has become really sensitive to political developments, and the census is the next step in this movement that we’re seeing of civic engagement in the Latino community.”

Traditionally, experts say, the Census Bureau has undercounted minority and immigrant communities, who are harder to reach because of language barriers and distrust of government.

Latino advocates hope the bilingual forms will help show their strength in numbers to underscore their growing political influence and garner more in federal funds that are determined by population.

Census officials say they designed the bilingual forms after extensive research, using the Canadian census questionnaire as an example. Over a six-year testing period, officials said the forms drew a better response in Spanish-speaking areas.

The bilingual forms will be mailed out to neighborhoods where at least a fifth of households report speaking primarily Spanish and little English, said Adrienne Oneto, assistant division chief for content and outreach at the Census Bureau in Washington. The cost of preparing and mailing the bilingual questionnaires is about $26 million, which is more than it would have cost to send only English forms.

More than a quarter of the forms will be distributed in California from Fresno to the Mexican border, with Los Angeles County topping the list. The Miami and Houston areas will also receive sizable numbers of the questionnaires.

Automatic mailing of the bilingual forms debuts in 2010. In addition to Spanish, census forms will be made available in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian upon request. That’s similar to the 2000 census, when participants could request questionnaires in several languages.

But none of those other languages compares to the proliferation of Spanish. Roughly 34 million people reported speaking Spanish at home in the United States in 2007, more than all the other languages combined except English. Eighty percent of the U.S. population reported speaking only English at home.

The question is whether the bilingual forms will help overcome immigrant fears of federal authorities after seeing friends and family swept up in immigration raids over the last few years. While census data is confidential, many immigrants are wary of any interaction with the government.

“It is a difficult time for immigrants and I could see where there might be concern where being counted might lead to future negative consequences,” said Clara E. Rodriguez, professor of sociology at Fordham University in New York.

There are also concerns that the recession has dried up funding used to encourage people to fill out their census forms.

California, for example, pumped $24.7 million in 2000 into efforts to boost the state’s count but has only $2 million budgeted for the upcoming year, said Ditas Katague, the state’s 2010 census director.

The Census Bureau has worked with Spanish-language TV giant Telemundo to help get the word out. The network’s telenovela “Mas Sabe el Diablo” (The Devil Knows Best) will feature a character who applies to be a census worker.

Adding to the challenge of getting more people to participate is a boycott of the census called by Latino Christian leaders. They want illegal immigrants to abstain from filling out the forms to pressure communities that depend on their numbers to support immigration reform.

Census officials say they don’t expect a backlash from English speakers because those likely to receive bilingual forms are used to hearing the two languages side by side.

It’s Too Late To Stop The Presses…

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The following is a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2009

Jack Martin/Shelly Lowe                               CB09-CN.17
Public Information Office
301-763-3691                                                2010 Census Web
site
e-mail: <pio.2010@census.gov>                         2010 Census sample
form

Printing of 2010 Census Questionnaires Under Way
New 10-Question Survey Among Shortest Since First Census in 1790

The U.S. Census Bureau has begun printing 2010 Census questionnaires as
the agency continues preparations for next year’s count of the U.S.
population. The new questionnaire, which every residential address will
receive, is designed to be one of the shortest since the first census in
1790, asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete.

“Our goal is to count everyone living in the United States once, only
once, and in the right place,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M.
Groves. “Making that happen begins with the 2010 Census questionnaire, a
powerful tool that provides critical data that will guide representation in
Congress and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to
state, local and tribal governments every year.”

Beginning in mid-March 2010, more than 120 million questionnaires will
be delivered to U.S. residential addresses. To meet the goal, the Census
Bureau will print more than 1.5 million documents every day.

For the first time, more than 13 million questionnaires will be
bilingual (English – Spanish). The move is based on tests showing that
targeting the bilingual questionnaires toward areas with high
concentrations of Spanish-only speakers will improve response rates.
Questionnaires are also available on request in Spanish, Chinese
(simplified), Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. Language guides, which
provide instructions on how to complete the questionnaire, are available in
nearly 60 languages.

“The Census Bureau has gone to great lengths to make the printing
process as efficient and eco-friendly as possible,” Groves said. “The
printing of 2010 Census questionnaires uses
30 percent less ink than 10 years ago and will be printed on 30 percent
recycled paper.”

Another critical factor in the success of the census is the quality of
the address list used for delivering the questionnaires next March. This
spring, Census Bureau workers walked every street in the nation to match
actual residential addresses on the ground with those provided in lists
from the U.S. Postal Service and local governments.

The 140,000 workers who verified addresses operated out of 151 local
census offices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  In the fall, an additional 344
local census offices will open.

The Census Bureau will hire approximately 1.4 million people to conduct
the 2010 Census, including following up with households that do not return
their questionnaire.

“The 2010 Census is easy, important and safe,” Groves said. “The Census
Bureau is ready to undertake this massive domestic operation and looks
forward to everyone’s participation in the national count.”

The 2010 Census: It’s In “His Hands”

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The following report comes from MyTwoCensus Washington, D.C. correspondent Dominique Kelly who was present for yesterday’s swearing-in-ceremony of Robert Groves as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau:

It’s the first of many long days to come for the newly sworn in director of the U.S. Census Bureau, Dr. Robert M. Groves.

With his wife, Cynthia, and son, Christopher, by his side, Groves, known to many at the Census Bureau as Bob, stood proudly reciting the oath that was the final step in his long journey to become the 23rd director of the U.S. Census Bureau.  Groves’ previous post was at the University of Michigan Survey Research center and the University of Maryland’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology.  Although Groves’ duties as director commenced on July 13, 2009, today is his first official step in leading “one of the important and most difficult challenges,” the 2010 decennial count, as explained by Rebecca Blank, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

Blank rendered the opening remarks where she expressed her joy of having Dr. Groves as the new director.  “I’m absolutely delighted to have Bob Groves here as the Census director,” said Blank.  Blank and Groves are long time colleagues, having worked together for more than ten years at the University of Michigan.  Blank expects to work closely with Groves and “develop a shared vision of what the Census is and what it can be,” as she eagerly expressed during her speech.

As Census employees, distinguished guests, and media personnel anxiously awaited the speech and words of comfort and encouragement from Groves, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke, eased the restless audience with humor by saying, “I especially want to thank them [former U.S. Census Bureau directors] for not saying anything to scare Bob away.”

However, Groves is no stranger to the Census Bureau. He served as Associate Director of the Bureau for Statistical Design, Methodology, and Standards from 1990-1992.  Locke and others agree that the job of directing the 2010 Census is very challenging and it calls for a well seasoned, highly noted individual to take on the task. “The job demanded someone of outstanding academic credentials and management skills, and as it turns out, a lot of patience,” said Locke during his introduction of Groves.

Groves began his speech by intimately speaking to the Census Bureau staff, and telling them words he feels they don’t hear very often: “Thank you for what you do.”  He went on to make a promise to the staff, by saying that while he is in office the Census Bureau will have a culture of mutual respect, while celebrating their mission to serve the American public with the most cost efficient, highest quality statistical information they can possibly produce.

Groves expressed that one of his many concerns is that 45% of the Census Bureau staff is eligible for retirement next year, which we all know is a crucial year for the Census Bureau.  Although that means he has a well experienced staff, he is worried about what will happen in the near future.  Groves urged the long-time employees to seek out the “rookies “in the Census Bureau and teach them what they’ve learned to do so well. Not only does Groves want the veterans to reach out to the younger people, but the “rookies” must reach out to the veterans too.  “As a legacy to your career here, take a little time to pass on your experience to those that you’re going to leave behind. Pass on the wisdom you have.  To those who are new seek out those wise elders, listen to them, and ask them questions about their experiences.  Learn from them actively,” said Groves.

Groves went on to make several statements addressing the usual difficulties that lie with completing a massive count of the American population, and encouraged that when mass amounts of people work together to achieve a common goal everything can happen, and it normally does.  Groves admitted, “Although the product of the Census can be statistically beautifully in its integrity and quality, the process of producing the product is always complicated, messy, and wrought with difficulty and temporary setbacks.”  Groves insisted that his staff act on the difficulties and setbacks with the highest levels of professionalism.

He closed his speech by speaking directly to the long time staff who believes they have heard it all before, and may now be a little skeptical, by insisting that they think back to their earlier years at the Census Bureau and how they felt about their jobs and expediting their tasks when they were new.

“I need you to rekindle that enthusiasm, because we need your ideas,” said Groves.

Robert Groves is aware that he has a lot of work ahead of him, but just as other’s are confident in him, he is confident in his staff, federal statistical agencies as whole, and members of other organizations that provide advice to the Census. Groves looks at all of them combined as a closeknit group of professionals and leaders.

“We need all of these people and the people they work with,” emphasized Groves.

Retrospective: Statistical Sampling

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The use of statistical sampling has been a hot political topic that caused a significant amount of partisan debate, discussion, and allegations prior to Robert M. Groves’ U.S. Senate confirmation hearing to become the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau. However this is not a new issue for the decennial headcount. For the readers of this blog who are interested in the history of the sampling dilemma, please check out this article from Science News Online (click here!) about the sampling debate in the days that led up to the 2000 headcount. The result of the  1999/2000 controversy was a ruling of the United States Supreme Court in the case of the Department of Commerce vs. The United States House of Representatives that banned sampling from being used in decennial census counts.

Congressman weighs in on inconsistent hiring figures

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Update: We understand that many of our readers are hoping to find out more information about the FedEx-gate Scandal. We will be holding our next post on this issue until tomorrow morning as we are currently fact-checking new major allegations.

Earlier today, Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post reported, “the House lawmaker charged with overseeing the Census has expressed some early, if only vague concerns about how Census workers have performed their address canvassing duties, or the national inventory of every place of residence.

“While I’m very pleased that Address Canvassing has gone well for the most part, it’s too early to declare the operation a complete success because there are still some unanswered questions,” Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said in a statement yesterday. “The Commerce Department Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office have both expressed concern about some listers not following procedures for Address Canvassing and some shortcomings in quality control measures.” A spokesman would not elaborate.”‘

Below, please find a press release that echoes many of the issues that MyTwoCensus has previously reported about employment and unemployment figures not adding up. Apparently at least one member of Congress (Patrick McHenry) has caught on…

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Brock McCleary
June 9, 2009 Phone: (202) 225-2576

McHenry: Is the Administration erroneously counting census jobs?

WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, issued the following query regarding Obama Administration officials’ claims that the stimulus package will “save or create” 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days.

“As hiring for the 2010 Census continues, the American people ought to know whether the Obama Administration is attempting to include the thousands of temporary and part-time census workers in their count of 600,000 jobs ‘saved or created.’

“Including census workers would be disingenuous at best.  First, the Obama Administration didn’t invent the census; these are positions which are created every ten years, regardless of who occupies the White House.

“Furthermore, attempting to combine these part-time and temporary jobs to count them as full-time positions is not an accurate picture of the nature of the work.  As many families struggling to make ends meet with a series of part-time jobs can tell you, two part-time jobs does not equal one full-time job.

“I hope the Administration will be forthcoming about whether these temporary positions, which would have been created regardless of stimulus spending, are included in their jobs count.”

Note:    The 2010 Decennial Census is expected to result in 200,000 hires in 2009, which the Office of Management and Budget scores as the equivalent of 17,197 full-time positions.  In 2010, the Census Bureau will hire an estimated 700,000 workers, the equivalent of 105,391 full-time positions.

###

Seeking journalist to cover event in Providence, R.I.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

If any of our readers know a journalist/photographer in or near Providence, Rhode Island who can cover the 2010 Census-related portion of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, it would be greatly appreciated if you could have that person contact us. We will reimburse the attending journalist for food/travel costs. See the press release below for details of the event that we would like covered:

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN, SR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR JARRETT ATTENDING MAYORS’ ANNUAL GATHERING JUNE 12 – 15 ~ PROVIDENCE, RI

WASHINGTON, June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Vice President Joe Biden, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Attorney General Eric Holder, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Office of National Drug Control Director Gil Kerlikowske, Alaska Senator Mark Begich, Congressional Urban Caucus Chair Chaka Fattah (PA), Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and Mexico Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan are confirmed for the 77th Annual Meeting of The United States Conference of Mayors in Providence (RI) from Friday, June 12th to Monday, June 15th.

The Conference of Mayors has been working with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to establish an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) Resource Center where mayors and city staff can meet with federal staff managing the various ARRA programs to seek guidance on federal stimulus funding implementation.

Led by Conference President and Miami (FL) Mayor Manny Diaz and hosted by Providence Mayor David Cicilline, this event is the largest annual gathering of U.S. mayors. In addition to Recovery Act implementation, the meeting will also highlight illegal guns and gun violence, energy independence, education and the 2010 Census. At the culmination of the meeting, mayors will debate and vote on national policy recommendations to forward to Congress and the new Administration.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his cabinet have been invited. An advance DRAFT agenda is also posted at www.usmayors.org. All CREDENTIALED press wishing to attend should pre-register VIA THE USCM WEBSITE to gain access to the meeting.

WHAT: Hundreds of U.S. Mayors to Attend USCM 77th Annual Meeting

WHEN: Friday, June 12th – Monday, June 15th

WHERE: The Rhode Island Convention Center

One Sabin Street

Providence, RI 02903

401-458-6000

King no longer?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Peter King, a long-time GOP Congressman from Long Island, New York, is now the target of Democrats’ redistricting efforts that will take effect in 2012 after the results of the 2010 Census is complete. The New York Post’s Elizabeth Benjamin reports on the story:

Democrats eyeing Peter King’s district for possible 2012 gains

Monday, June 1st 2009, 4:00 AM

Democrats have Pete King in the cross hairs.

National and state party officials are plotting to weaken King, one of New York‘s three remaining Republican congressmen, by redrawing the lines of his Long Island district.

The next round of redistricting, in which the congressional lines will be reconfigured based on the 2010 census results, is more than two years away.

Still, Democrats are planning an overhaul of King’s district in hopes of making him easier to beat in 2012.

Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to get rid of King for years.

The outspoken conservative, who was first elected to the House in 1992, has emerged as one of the most visible – and viable – members of the beleaguered state GOP and is often touted as a potential statewide contender.

A source close to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith confirmed “serious discussions” between Democrats in New York and Washington are underway about King’s district.

“It’s an obvious choice because of the population of the area,” he said.

Long Island was once a Republican stronghold, but it has been trending Democratic since the last census.

The GOP still has a 46,072-voter enrollment edge in King’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The number of Democrats has grown faster since the last redistricting, with 16,843 voters added to their ranks since 2001, compared with the Republicans’ 1,336.

King isn’t concerned about being on the Democratic hit list.

“This is dream talk,” he said. “It’s three years from now. I don’t know if I’ll even be alive.”

King, 65, has at times flirted with seeking a statewide office. He ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 1986 and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor or even U.S. senator.

King said he had been “99% sure” to challenge Caroline Kennedy had Gov. Paterson picked her and not former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton‘s old Senate seat.

He said he’ll make a decision by Labor Day, but sounds all but certain to seek reelection for his House seat.

New York’s upstate population loss has caused the state to grow more slowly compared with other states.

As a result, it has consistently lost House seats and is poised to lose at least one, and possibly two, in the next redistricting.

The Democrats‘ ability to control redistricting hinges on whether they hold onto the Senate majority next fall.

New York’s House members are increasingly worried that Paterson, with his historically low poll numbers, will drag down the 2010 ticket, returning the state Senate to the GOP.

“If this was 2014, [Paterson] would be able to ride it out,” a congressional source said. “But never underestimate the power of self-interest of members of Congress with redistricting looming.”

MyTwoCensus Exclusive: Identity Theft, Scams, and the Census Bureau

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

censusscams

Thanks to reporter Larry Collins at NBC affiliate WCBD in Charleston, South Carolina for tipping us off to potential problems with sinister individuals posing as census enumerators. In the view of MyTwoCensus.com, the main problem here is that enumerators’ ID badges look unofficial, can be forged easily, and lack photo identification. Thus, since there are 1.4 million Americans who have been/will be hired to work as census takers, it’s highly likely that a workers’ badge has been/will be stolen or copied to use for criminal activities such as identity theft and fraud.

badge-hi

We’ve already sent our inquiries to the Census Bureau to find out they provide workers with ID badges that can be forged so easily…Don’t worry America, we’ll get to the bottom of this!

Census Bureau not ready for 2010 Count!

Friday, March 6th, 2009

The Washington Post Federal Eye blog reports, “The Eye attended two congressional hearings on the Census on Thursday, and along with colleague Steve Vogel reports that “The accuracy of the 2010 Census remains threatened by computer problems and untested methods the Census Bureau plans to use for conducting the count, according to testimony yesterday from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Sadly, but not unsurprisingly, the news is grim:

At the end of this month, the Census Bureau is expected to begin the first operational phase – setting up a massive address list – for the upcoming 2010 Census. And the next constitutionally-mandated decennial count of the nation’s population is itself a little more than one year away. Two Congressional committees held hearings Thursday to determine if the Census Bureau is ready.

The verdict, after hearings in both the House and the Senate subcommittees with direct jurisdiction over the Census, is that depending on who you talk to, the glass is either half-full, or half-empty.

On the one hand, there is Thomas Mesenbourg, the acting director of the Census, who told the House Census subcommittee that everything is essentially fine, and the problems of the census are all being taken care of:

I can report we are on the way to a successful enumeration. A complete and accurate address list is the cornerstone of a successful census. Throughout the decade, we regularly update the list we had in Census 2000. In 2007, we invited tribal, state, and local governments to review our address lists for accuracy and completeness. Address canvassing, the first activity of the 2010 Census, starts on March 30th, and runs through July of 2009.

The GAO’s comments are the latest to highlight difficulties for the census, which now costs $14 billion and has been beset by partisan bickering. Disagreements over the handling of the census were part of the reason GOP Sen. Judd Gregg, President Barack Obama’s pick as commerce secretary, withdrew his name last month.

However, the Government Accountability Office has other thoughts on the matter. Robert Goldenkoff heads up Strategic Issues for the GAO, and issued a report yesterday saying the Census Bureau is playing beat the clock, with very little margin for error:

The bureau has made commendable progress in rolling out key components of the census, and has strengthened certain risk management efforts. Still, the census remains high risk because a dress rehearsal of all census operations that was planned for 2008 was curtailed. As a result, activities, including some that will be used for the first time in the Census were not tested in concert with one another, or under census-like conditions.

And the GAO’s David Powner, who analyzes Information Technology, has an even harsher assessment of the Census bureau’s IT.

“Our report contains 10 detailed recommendations that the bureau has agreed to address,” he testified before both committees. ” For example, our investigation shows that not only were there not plans for this testing, but there was not even a master list or inventory of the interfaces. Not having such basic information is unacceptable.”

Breaking News: Census jobs available in Kansas City!

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

From the way this news was reported, the availability of Census jobs may be the most exciting thing that’s happened in KC since the Royals won the 1985 World Series…

For new Census data from the KC-based Kauffman Foundation that discusses how entrepreneurship affects job growth, check out this MSNBC report.