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 ‘Chicago’

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.

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Steve Jost says Aramanda is no longer managing Chicago LCO

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

MyTwoCensus has been investigating the job history, performance, and current employment status of Joseph Aramanda, the Blago associate who somehow made the miraculous jump from pizza shop owner to Chicago Local Census Office Manager. That this man was in charge of thousands of employees and significant amounts of sensitive data should have raised red flags immediately.

But apparently the Chicago political machine was able to hush these voices until MyTwoCensus stepped in to publicize this corrupt activity and Congressman Patrick McHenry’s office subsequently launched an investigation into this man. Yesterday, Steve Jost, Associate Director for Communications of the Census Bureau, wrote to me, “Mr Aramanda is not managing the LCO and is in a non-working status pending further review.” Now, we’re wondering, is Mr. Aramanda still on the Census Bureau payroll?

According to a response I received yesterday from the Census Bureau’s FOIA office, Mr. Aramanda started work at the Census Bureau on November 2, 2009. This was 8 months after Blago was impeached and some 6 months after he was indicted. It is unacceptable that a man so closely tied to a major political scandal was approved to run the 2010 Census operations of the city of Chicago. Those who hired him should be investigated for not following proper human resources practices.

Updates/claifications on the following in the comments…

Additionally, if my memory serves me correct, the Census Bureau’s job application asks specifically if one has been involved in any political activities. Did Mr. Aramanda lie on his job application or did the Census Bureau hire a man who was widely known to be deeply involved with the Illinois political machine?

Rumor: Shakeup in Milwaukee?

Monday, June 28th, 2010

The last rumor about a management shakeup in Brooklyn proved to be 100% true. Anyone know anything about this rumor from a Census Bureau employee in Wisconsin:

My FOS told me today that last Thursday-Friday (6-17, 18) at  the Milwaukee LCO, about 10 people were taken away in handcuffs and there is now an armed Homeland Security guard on duty at all times. My LCO supervisor has been transferred to that LCO to clean up and a new supervisor is being sent in from Chicago RCC to cover my West Allis area.

Congressman responds to Blagojevich-linked Census Bureau official with letter to Census Bureau Director Groves

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

MyTwoCensus.com is appreciative that Congressman Patrick McHenry’s office has taken up this issue. Now, we hope that William Lacy Clay and the House Democrats also jump on board to make this a bi-partisan effort…

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Josh Kahn
June 17, 2010
McHenry: Why Is a Census Official Tied to the Blagojevich Scandal?

WASHINGTON, DC… Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), sent the following letter to U.S. Census Director Dr. Robert Groves questioning the Bureau about a local Census official tied to the Blagojevich trial.

Rep. McHenry is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee overseeing the Census.  The letter is below:

June 17, 2010

Robert Groves
Director
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746

Dear Dr. Groves:

This week the director of a Census Bureau office in Chicago, Joseph Aramanda, appeared as a witness in former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial.  Although Mr. Aramanda testified under immunity and so will not be charged himself, he was involved in some extremely questionable money transfers at the direction of Blagojevich associate Tony Rezko.

This is unacceptable.  The Census is too important to be caught up in a corruption trial.  Mr. Aramanda manages a significant number of employees and his deep involvement in the Blagojevich scandal tarnishes the reputation of the 2010 Census.

I strongly encourage you to reassess Mr. Aramanda’s employment status with the Bureau.  I would appreciate your quick response on this timely issue.

Sincerely,

Patrick T. McHenry
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives

Update on today’s story…The Census Bureau hides behind the shield of FOIA once again

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The following letter is one that I wrote to Michael C. Cook, chief of the Census Bureau’s public information office for the 2010 Census…I am not at all pleased by his response:

Here’s the editorial I wrote and the link to the Chicago Tribune story is inside:

http://www.mytwocensus.com/2010/06/17/mytwocensus-editorial-current-census-bureau-official-involved-in-scandal-must-go-immediately/

Was Aramanda hired bc of politics? or merit? Do you have proof that we was hired bc of merit? How and when did he get this job? What is his exact position?

What is Aramanda’s record while working for the Census Bureau?

Will Aramanda be getting paid by the Census Bureau while he testifies at this trial?

Who is running the show at the LCO when he is across town at a trial?

Will he be fired immediately? (Note: I am urging that he is fired immediately as this is a huge conflict of interest).

I hope to hear back from you by COB.

Here is his reply:

Hi Stephen,

The federal Privacy Act governs what any federal agency can disclose about
an employee. You can find details about the Privacy Act at:
<http://www.justice.gov/opcl/1974privacyact-overview.htm>. We encourage you
to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in writing addressed
to:

Mary C. Potter, FOIA Officer
U.S. Census Bureau , Room 8H027
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233-3700

Best,

Michael C. Cook
Branch Chief, 2010 Census Media Relations
Public Information Office
U.S. Census Bureau

OK, this response makes me IRATE. I have filed NUMEROUS FOIA REQUESTS in the past 6 months, and none have been answered. The Commerce Department will surely find some grounds or other not to honor my request and then they will tell me that I have to file an appeal. I will then file the appeal, and keep contacting the appeals office, and then never hear anything ever again. Thank you Obama Administration transparency…Jesus Christ. The White House has become a PR firm. Enough said.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Current Census Bureau official involved in Blagojevich scandal must go…immediately!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

MyTwoCensus is disturbed to learn that a man so deeply involved in the Blagojevich/Obama-Senate-seat-for-sale scandal is now employed in an upper level management position by the Census Bureau in Chicago. Even if the man, Joseph Aramanda, has not been convicted (yet) of  a crime, his reputation for being involved in illegal activities seriously undermines the credibility of Census Bureau operations in Chicago. In a city with corruption linked to 2010 Census advertising, the public should not have to worry that upper management positions are being filled by individuals who are directly tied to government corruption and fraud. Furthermore, Joseph Aramanda’s experiences as a pizza franchise owner (his job prior to the Census Bureau gig) don’t qualify him to be in charge of 1,000+ employees. This is particularly troubling at a time when there are  many hardworking, educated individuals with office management experience in the Chicago area who can do the job just as efficiently. MyTwoCensus.com will be pressing the Census Bureau to fire this man immediately, as his association with the Census Bureau tarnishes the reputation of the 2010 Census. That the suits in Washington could let a man so deeply embroiled in scandal run the office of one of America’s largest LCO’s is extremely troubling and indicative of larger problems.

The following coverage comes from The Chicago Tribune:

Pal says Rezko lured him into becoming a middleman in money transfers

Transfers helped obscure cash illegally destined to Blagojevich, Rezko and others, prosecutors say

June 15, 2010

These days Joseph Aramanda manages a U.S. Census Bureau Chicago-area office and its 1,000 employees. But it was in a different capacity that he showed up for the government Tuesday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse — witness in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Aramanda took the stand to explain how he was lured by Blagojevich insider Antoin “Tony” Rezko into becoming a middleman in money transfers that prosecutors claim helped obscure cash siphoned from government-related deals and illegally destined for Blagojevich, Rezko and others.

Blagojevich wasn’t directly linked to the complicated chain of financial transactions described by Aramanda, who will return to the stand Wednesday. But prosecutors are clearly using his testimony to explain how Rezko, Blagojevich’s friend and political money man, operated to benefit himself and the ex-governor.

For the full article, click HERE.

More shadiness and wastes of money in 2010 Census advertising campaign (this time by the City of Chicago)

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Update: After speaking with the Census Bureau’s public information office, I want to clarify that this is not federal money but Chicago’s money that has allegedly been spent improperly.

I’m not sure how I missed this piece from the Huffington Post when it originally came out on 5/19, but I am now investigating the claims laid out here:

The cronyism, corruption and shady contracts continue to emanate from the Todd Stroger administration, as a new and yet all-too-familiar scandal involving US Census contracts is emerging Wednesday.

With a few hundred thousand dollars of federal grants left to publicize the census, Stroger’s spokesman Eugene Mullins told the Chicago Tribune that he and deputy chief of staff Carla Oglesby awarded contracts to eight publicity firms to spread the word. So far, so good.

But all of the firms — like Oglesby’s own PR firm, which is now under investigation — were awarded contracts of $24,995, five dollars less than the amount that would require County Board approval.

And, of course, as a little digging from FOX Chicago revealed, it gets worse. (Scroll down for video of the FOX investigation.)

Nearly all of the companies receiving contracts were incorporated just days before the contracts were issued.

One business was run by a convicted felon, and listed a vacant lot as its business address. One business appears to be a modeling agency. Two of the contractors submitted nearly identical invoices, and gave the same unlisted phone number.

The contracts were all paid up-front, before any services were rendered.
Story continues below

And, the Tribune writes, “leaders of the Cook County Complete Count Committee, appointed by Stroger to conduct census outreach, said they were unaware of the contracts.”

How did Mullins respond?

When asked about the contracts on camera by FOX, Mullins was silent. Anchor Jeff Goldblatt said on air that “he called me late tonight, a profanity-laced phone call” in which he “basically threatened to sue” for “defamation of character.”

Mullins gave an on-the-record quote to the Tribune: “Either we can spend the money the best we can or it goes back to Washington,” Mullins said.

Both Mullins and Oglesby, who signed off on all the census contracts, are themselves involved in other Stroger administration scandals.

After Stroger’s defeat in the February primary, the lame-ducked Cook County Board President gave Mullins a $10,300 raise — despite a pay freeze that had been on the books for months.

And Oglesby is only recently back at work after a five-day suspension for steering a similar $24,995 contract to her privately-owned public relations firm, CGC Communications.

According to Finance Committee chairman John Daley, “All of this is under review by the inspector general.”

Here’s the video from Fox:

Daily Sound Off: The Chicago Enumerator

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Here’s today’s Daily Sound Off:

May 26, 2010

I am an enumerator/Census taker in Chicago and this is my story of working for the U.S. Census Bureau over the past month.

My CLD has never had enough address binders for each of the approximate 15 enumerators working for it.  During training, some binders were split up, while a lucky few got a whole binder, me included.  However, the majority of my addresses were in a federally subsidized Section 8 building, where office staff refused me access and would not return my crew leader’s calls. The lower income families residing in this building need to be counted the most for funding, etc., especially since their housing is federally funded, but staff has been unfortunately uncooperative thus far.  I should have moved onto a new binder after the first week of work, but my CLD received only a handful more of binders during that first week and none since.

My CLD is now in the fourth week of work and has not received any new binders, despite my crew leader promising us new binders 2.5 weeks ago, at one point even telling us the day on which we would receive them!  At a meeting 1.5 weeks ago, she told us matter-of-factly that one of the reasons we weren’t receiving more work was because we had too many old EQ forms coming back with mistakes because she had failed to review them before she submitted them!  Forms are being corrected, addresses revisited, at what point have we submitted enough work to get new work?  Why are individuals who have finished their work forced to wait for others who have not?  Why are enumerators suffering for a crew leader’s mistakes?

It sure seems like crew leaders, others in supervisory positions, and those working in offices are putting in plenty of hours dealing with the mess and confusion of the 2010 Census, wasting taxpayers’ money, but many enumerators are barely able to put it any hours, when we are the ones supposed to be collecting data that IS the Census!  The work is not filtering down to us at the bottom of the bureaucracy.  I haven’t worked in the field for a week now, every week I have worked fewer and fewer hours, never near the 20 hours per week I was told to expect during training.  The most hours I ever put in was for training, inadequate training at that!

My crew leader decided to hold an additional training session after the second week to demonstrate common mistakes we had made on our EQs, when they could have easily been corrected if she had actually reviewed them like she is supposed to!  In fact, she said she was instructed to start writing enumerators up for mistakes, when they are the result of inadequate training and crew leader oversight!  I would also like to note that my crew leader chooses to meet during meal times at a McDonalds crowded with crack heads, not the most appropriate environment.

It is apparent that my crew leader is poorly trained and cannot answer many questions posed to her about Census policies and procedures.  Another example of this: Pay.  My crew leader signed off on several pay sheets I had filled out for training where I claimed 30 miles, which is what I drove round-trip to and from work.  I subsequently received a call from my LCO informing me that I was not allowed to claim those miles.  I talked to a supervisor, who informed me that if she signed off on those miles, she could be terminated from her job.  I told her that my crew leader had seen the miles and even said I would be reimbursed for them, and the supervisor at my LCO told ME to inform HER that enumerators can only claim mileage from home to work (which it turns out is IN the Enumerator Manual) and that it would be trouble for me if the pay sheets with 30 miles were submitted!  It was extremely inappropriate and strange to be threatened with responsibility for the termination of a LCO supervisor and the implication of my termination as well!  Once again, because of my crew leader’s severe ineptitude and inadequate training, the little guy at the bottom of the hierarchy gets the stick, thanks federal government.

The supervisor at my LCO told me that my pay sheets with the mileage would have to be sent back by courier to my FOS so that I could redo them.  Of course my FOS never received them.  I called the LCO supervisor again and at first she could not find any record of what had happened to my pay sheets.  She then discovered that someone had approved the miles!  For what she previously made out to be a serious violation of procedure, she laughed about it and seemed to want to chit chat with me.  I felt like she may have been drinking that night I talked to her.  Apparently, no one knows the mileage enumerators can claim and are approving reimbursements they shouldn’t be, wasting more taxpayer dollars!

My crew leader instructed us during training not to keep the duplicate copy of our pay sheets because they would be mailed back to us.  I double-checked this, unfortunately with the same supervisor at my LCO that I mentioned previously.  She also explicitly instructed me to submit both copies together.  However, one of my family members also working as an enumerator said everyone in her CLD was keeping their pay sheet copies.  I checked the Enumerator Manual and it explains that the copy is to keep.  I called Payroll to see what they had to say about this conflicting information, and the guy I spoke to advised me to keep the copy, but that the issue was up to crew leaders’ discretion!  Clearly, no one is aware of their own policies!  Surely, I have the right to keep the copy of my original work records!  I just keep the copy now, since there is no one clear directive.  This is just one instance of several, where I have received contradictory information from my crew leader or LCO versus what is written in the Enumerator Manual.  This whole operation is either incredibly inept, corrupt, or both.

Today, in the fourth week of field work, I called my LCO to ask when/if we are getting new binders, after being promised them for at least 2.5 weeks now.  The woman I spoke to said I shouldn’t be calling the LCO and that I should ask my crew leader, meaning that I must not step out of line in the hierarchy.  I explained that my crew leader and FOS clearly do not what is going on and do not have answers to my questions, so that was why I was calling the LCO.  She said it was too bad that was my situation, but that she could do “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING” for me.  I quote.  I asked if she was not allowed to give me information regarding the issuance of new binders, but that did not seem to be the case.  She just refused to give me any information and told me she had talked to my FOS earlier in the day.  Don’t step out of line if you are on the bottom, know your place, and don’t ask questions if you work for the Census!

I am stuck talking to those directly above me who also know nothing.  I called my FOS today and she said she didn’t think we would be getting new binders.  She said we could be reassigned to another FOS, but she would check to make sure and call me back.  She always sounds sleepy and bewildered, I will probably have to call her back instead and lord knows if she will be any more informative.  I have been waiting for at least 2.5 weeks now, barely getting any hours in, on the promise of new binders, only to hear that there may not be any coming, and that my only chance for more work is to be reassigned four weeks in!

Two months and 20 hours per week I wish!  I was depending on this job for extra income this summer and it has amounted to barely anything, just waiting and hoping for work, rather than actually working, and trying to keep tabs on others’ incompetence.  Thanks for paying me to be trained for a job I barely even got to do federal government! OUTRAGEOUS.  The 2010 Census is such a poor reflection on the U.S. government, can’t we do better than this?

With school year winding down, college students lack census forms on campus

Friday, April 16th, 2010

MyTwoCensus.com wonders what other college towns that are dependent on students are also lacking forms…See this report from Indiana:

Indiana State students among those awaiting census forms

Spring semester ends in three weeks

Sue Loughlin The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University students will complete spring semester in three weeks, yet residence hall students still have not been counted in the 2010 census.

The U.S. Census Bureau has taken longer than expected to provide the census forms to the university, said Tara Singer, ISU’s assistant vice president for communications and marketing. “I believe there was just an underestimation of forms needed” for the community’s college students, she said.

A similar problem has occurred at Indiana University.

ISU has 2,999 students living in 10 residence halls and 382 students living in University Apartments, she said.

Those students will be counted as Terre Haute residents.

While there’s been a delay, Singer expects the university will receive those forms very soon. “Yes, we think we’ll get them [students] all counted on time” before they leave at the end of the semester, she said.

She does expect to have the forms by next week, when ISU will conduct floor meetings in residence halls to distribute the forms and ask students to complete them at that time.

ISU does have a representative on the Terre Haute Complete Count Committee. “We want to have our students counted because they spend approximately 10 months a year here in Terre Haute,” she said.

ISU has taken an active role in trying to make students aware of the importance of the census through posters, electronic communication and student organizations, she said.

ISU has not caused the delay, Singer said. “We’ve been ready.”

Terre Haute public affairs director Darrel Zeck, who leads the Complete Count Committee, said he recently learned about the insufficient number of census forms to count the college students.

Zeck said he was relieved to learn Thursday that ISU will get the forms soon.

Meanwhile, Rose-Hulman does have its census forms for students and distribution to fraternity presidents was to begin Thursday night, said Tom Miller, Rose-Hulman dean of student affairs. Rose-Hulman has 1,100 students living on campus.

The forms also will be distributed to students in residence halls, Miller said. “Everything is in order.”

Having ISU and Rose-Hulman students counted is critical for Terre Haute in its ability to qualify for various types of federal funding, Zeck said. While he’s relieved, he believes it’s “unacceptable” there was a shortage of forms to begin with.

Cindy Reynolds, an assistant regional census manager in Chicago, said that it was her understanding a staff member had contacted ISU and “any problem has been resolved.”

While initially there were not enough forms, there should be enough now, Reynolds said.

Last year it was cash4gold. Now it’s cash4censusforms

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Question: Is it ethical for cities, universities, or other entities to offer cash prizes in exchange for participating in the 2010 Census?

The following comes from DailyNorthwestern.com:

City, Northwestern offer incentives for completing 2010 census forms

By Katie Park

Northwestern and Evanston have teamed up to provide cash incentives for students to fill out the 2010 census, which will be available for students on campus next week.

While students living off campus should have already received their census forms in the mail, census workers will distribute the forms to students in dormitories next Monday through Thursday, said Lucile Krasnow, NU special assistant for community relations.

“Students might be asking, ‘Am I really a resident of Evanston?’” Krasnow said. “It’s where you live the majority of the year. They should indeed fill out the census in Evanston.”

With the last census in 2000, the University saw about a 98-percent participation rate, Krasnow said. Students filled out the census form as part of their on-campus housing process, a system that no longer exists.

Instead, the University will award cash prizes to residence halls, fraternities and sororities with the highest participation rates, Krasnow said. Dorms with up to 85 people will be eligible for a $250 cash prize, dorms with 86 to 150 people will be eligible for a $500 prize and dorms with more than 150 residents will be eligible for a $750 prize, she said.

Greek houses will meet with census workers throughout the month of April to distribute the forms. The fraternity and sorority with the highest participation rates will each be eligible for a $250 prize.

“The idea is to encourage everybody to take part in the census,” Krasnow said. “It’s a very quick, easy form, and it’ll take less than 10 minutes to fill out.”

McCormick sophomore June Choi lives on campus and said the participation competition was not an incentive for her.

“I was going to fill it out anyway,” Choi said. “I would think people would just write it up. It’s really short.”

In addition to developing the competition for student residents, Krasnow has worked with Downtown Evanston, a group of local businesspeople and property owners, to develop an event for both students and Evanston residents. During Community Savings Weekend, April 9-11, more than 20 Evanston businesses will offer discounts to thank residents for their participation in the census.

“The idea is that—it’s on the honor system—we hope you did fill out your form,” said Downtown Evanston Executive Director Carolyn Dellutri. “(The census has) a big impact on the community overall, and we’re doing it as a partnership with the city and University.”

SESP senior Daniel Diorio said he was interested in the discount program.

“I’m a fan of incentives for anything,” he said. “I never thought of businesses having interests invested in the census.”

Diorio lives off campus and said he has already sent in his form.

“It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “It helps the government allocate resources more effectively, and it’s only five minutes of my time.”

Census workers will follow up with students living off campus who do not fill out their forms, Krasnow said.

Each NU student counted in the census will bring about $980 per year to the city of Evanston for the next 10 years, Krasnow said. This money can finance federal and state initiatives such as transportation programs, student loans and grants.

“We really see this as part of our civic responsibilities,” Krasnow said.

The Multiracial Debate

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

H/t to the Chicago Tribune for producing a lengthy piece of journalism:

By Oscar Avila, Dahleen Glanton,

Look in the mirror and what do you see?

When the census form arrives in mailboxes this week, the complex answers to that question will help paint America’s evolving portrait, with repercussions for a decade and beyond.

For most people, the census will be a simple 10-minute process. For others in this nation of Barack Obama, Jessica Alba, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Apolo Ohno and Joakim Noah , questions of mixed race and ethnicity will prompt soul-searching over how to categorize themselves among a small but growing minority in the national fabric.

The census is a montage of self-portraits that will detail the ways a nation of nearly 309 million has changed since 2000, including migration, family size and housing patterns. While that data is easier to quantify, critics say a rote list of boxes and checkmarks can’t adequately reflect all the racial and ethnic transformations.

On Chicago’s South Side, the daughter of a black father and white mother will check both. Her brother will check black. Their children will write in “mixed” or “biracial.”

A Brazilian immigrant will mark a box that says Hispanic, though she doesn’t accept the label. A woman from Jordan won’t check Asian, though she is. A man born to a Japanese mother and white father considers himself white only at census time.

Another respondent may check four racial boxes like the multi-ethnic Woods, who invented his own identifier: “cablinasian,” a mix of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. Obama jokingly labeled himself a “mutt,” but he won’t find that box on the form.

Some bemoan the absence of a separate “multiracial” box to check. And beyond race and ethnicity, the form won’t account for the principal factor by which many Americans identify themselves: There is no category for sexual orientation, so some gay activists plan to protest by affixing pink stickers on the envelope.

“The lesson is that, like reality, like our lives, census data are messy,” said Jorge Chapa, a University of Illinois professor who has consulted for the Census Bureau. “But the messiness does reflect the growing diversity and our complexity as a people. It’s closer to the truth.”

Over the years, the census form has changed to reflect racial realities. A historic switch for the 2000 census allowed Americans to click more than one category, meaning that the son of a Kenyan father and a white woman from Kansas can now officially be both races. About 6.8 million Americans, 2.4 percent of the population, checked more than one racial box.

A Brookings Institution survey has shown a doubling of mixed-race marriages over the last two decades. A Pew Research Center report last month documented that younger generations were far more tolerant of racial mixing than their elders.

People who mark more than one race box are not counted more than once in the overall population tally. But they would add one additional person to each racial category they choose.

Susan Graham, executive director of California-based Project RACE, which advocates for multiracial families, said a hodgepodge of individual boxes is not sufficient to describe her children. She is white and was married to an African-American, and their children have a singular identity as multiracial American.

“The term ‘multiracial,’ we believe, is important and should be on the form. Words are important,” Graham said.

Researchers have found that people’s self-identities can be fluid: Over the course of their lives, they can more strongly identify with various parts of their ancestry at different times.

Kenneth Prewitt, who directed the 2000 census, said some civil-rights groups have resisted the concept of checking more than one race out of fear that it will dilute their influence.

Prewitt said the “Hispanic” term, one used mainly in the U.S., is especially confusing. The term, which the Census Bureau first used in 1980, describes an ethnicity pertaining to Spain but can include white, black and other races. He would include one catch-all category merging Hispanics with other race identifiers, or eliminate all boxes and have everyone write in their preferred identities.

(to continue reading this article click HERE)