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 ‘canvassing’

Atlantic City census office on chaos over Crew Leader’s decision to follow the rules…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Here’s an interesting story from the Press of Atlantic City that raises many issues that have previously been discussed on MyTwoCensus.com:

U.S. Census Bureau officials said Friday that confusion over how to count shore residents has made it pull at least 20 canvassers out of Brigantine after a local crew leader resigned in protest.

Debra Dunham, who recently moved to the city from Minnesota, submitted her resignation Thursday and said she was ordered to expedite the counting of residents there even if it meant not following procedures to get accurate numbers.

“The motto from the local census office is ‘Git-r-done,’” she said Friday.

Census officials said their attempts to blanket the area more thoroughly with enumerators was misunderstood as trying to take shortcuts, and so reduced a group of 50 counters to 30 to erase the misconception.

Dunham sent her resignation letter to the city’s offices and the media, and after her concerns were forwarded from the local office in Northfield to the regional office in Philadelphia, officials said they were changing their handling of the area’s count.

Regional Director Fernando Armstrong said his office was investigating Dunham’s allegations, saying all workers are expected to attempt contacting a house up to six times in order to get a complete number of residents.

He said his office spoke with representatives from the local office and instructed them that they should be proceeding with the count according to the normal procedures.

The practice of bringing in more workers, called “blitzing,” was being used because the shore region is notorious for having too few volunteers. But it is also an expensive process, since the bureau pays several workers an average of $18 an hour to canvass a small area.

“What the local office was trying to do was get as much of the shore area done by bringing people from other parts of their territory to get it done before the weekend when you have a lot of people coming to shore homes,” Armstrong said. “It was never the attention to not continue to do door-to-door enumeration.”

Armstrong said there were also concerns among workers that this was taking work away from them, which he said was not the intention.

Armstrong said the bureau needed workers so badly that they had rehired Dunham by the end of the day Friday.

The 30 counters remaining will continue knocking on doors through the weekend and into the middle of July, Armstrong said, both in Brigantine and throughout the region.

Fear and Loathing in Pahrump Valley: Enumerators face off against people with guns and vicious dogs.

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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As hundreds of thousands of Census Bureau employees are now going door to door to verify the addresses of more than 300 million Americans, few people realize the physical risks that these field workers face. MyTwoCensus has called upon the Census Bureau to release statistics that detail how many Census Bureau employees have been injured/killed while on the job thus far in 2010 as well as during he 2000 headcount. While employees of the Postal Service ostensibly also face similar problems to Census Bureau field workers on a daily basis, 2010 Census employees lack the significant training and field experience necessary to deal with hostile individuals/animals/situations.

Also, as MyTwoCensus has previously reported, since Census Bureau employees lack uniforms and formal photo ID badges, they can be more easily targeted by individuals who suspect that someone is trespassing on their property. The Pahrump Valley Times, which serves Nye County in Nevada, reports:

Tony Longo, local Census Bureau supervisor, said crews don’t normally have to knock on doors to verify addresses unless they have a question over additional living quarters on the property.

Longo said a couple of census workers reported dog bites. There was a scary incident at one residence, he said.

“One group was standing in the street at a house on an acre lot and it was tree-lined. He was just trying to verify if there was another unit in the back and the lady sprung out of the trees with a .45 and then her son came behind her with a shotgun,” Longo said. “They were really cool once he explained who he was.”