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 ‘Communications’

MyTwoCensus Editorial: My Mad Men moment…What 2010 Census ads should have said…

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I’m a few years behind the rest of the world as I only recently started watching Mad Men, the hit TV series about the world of advertising. The show got me thinking about many things related to the 2010 Census ad campaign. Rather than advertising with “Portrait of America” themes, Christopher Guest nonsense, and other ads that seem to be unclear, unpointed, and uninteresting flops. Why not go straight to the numbers? The simple ad campaign I would have created for the Census Bureau would have gone as follows:

Cost to mail back your census form: 42 cents.

Cost to send a Census Bureau employee to your house if you fail to return your form: $57.

Amount of federal money at stake if you aren’t counted: $1,333.*

Total amount of available funding that you are community should get its fair share of: $400 BILLION.

2010 Census – Mail it back and Participate.

(Back in February, Census Bureau Communications Director Steve Jost told readers of this blog — see the comments section — that the Census Bureau and Draftfcb were in the process of creating a 2010 Census ad competition for the public to compete in…clearly that never happened!)

*The Census Bureau uses the term $400 billion for the total amount of money at stake. $400 billion divided by 300 milli0n people (an approximation of America’s population) is $1,333 per person. Some estimates determine that it is about $3,000 per person missed. Shelley Lowe of the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office said of the per person figure, “We don’t calculate that, but other organizations have attempted to.”

Census Bureau Sends Out Press Release About New Mapping Tool…But Fails To Let Us Know Where On The Internet It Can Be Found!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

UPDATE: I found the mapping tool on the Census Bureau’s web site under the “Press Release” section. Click HERE to access it. Now, what I can say is that I hope this data is regularly updated throughout the headcount. BUT I have already noticed that data from some towns and cities is present while it is missing for others. The map is filled with blank spots. Why? I’m not sure, but I just e-mailed the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office for answers…

I’ve actually been waiting for the below press release for a really, really long time — ever since Steve Jost told me about this long-awaited new function of the Census Bureau’s web site when we met in Suitland back in October. However, the Census Bureau managed to screw this one up, because they didn’t include a link to the mapping site they are speaking of in their press release. A cursory check of 2010.census.gov reveals nothing of this new mapping tool to check response rates. Nor does a Google search for “2010 Census mapping tool” reveal anything other than the site that allows people to track the Census Bureau’s “Road Tour” vehicles. Come on Census Bureau…tell us where to find the tool!

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, FEB. 25, 2010

Census Bureau Launches Online Mapping Tool Showing
2000 Census Response Rates to Help Communities
Prepare for 2010 Census

With mail-out of the 2010 Census forms less than one month away, the
Census Bureau today unveiled a new online mapping tool that allows
communities nationwide to prepare for the 2010 Census by seeing how well
they did mailing back their 2000 Census forms.

Visitors to the new Google-based map will be able to find the 2000
Census mail participation rates for states, counties and cities, as well as
smaller areas called “census tracts.” After the 2010 Census forms are
mailed out in mid-March, the online map will be updated to include a
tracking tool with daily updates of the 2010 Census mail participation
rates for local areas across the nation. Users will be able to compare
their 2010 Census progress using their 2000 Census rates as a benchmark.

“The future of your community starts with a look at its past,” said
Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. “The 2000 Census map allows
communities to see which areas need extra attention and reminders to
improve mail participation. We will be challenging communities nationwide
to take 10 minutes to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms next
month.” The Census Bureau has also created an online toolkit with ideas
that communities can use to inspire their residents to improve their mail
participation rate.

The emphasis on encouraging mail participation in the census is a
practical one. For every
1 percent increase in mail response, taxpayers will save an estimated $85
million in federal funds. Those funds would otherwise be required to send
census takers to collect census responses in person from households that
don’t mail back the form. After the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau was able
to return $305 million in savings to the federal Treasury because mail
rates exceeded expectations ¯ a move the Census Bureau would like to repeat
in 2010.

In 2000, 72 percent of households that received a form mailed it back.
The mail participation rate is a new measure designed to give a better
picture of actual participation by factoring out census forms that the U.S.
Postal Service was unable to deliver as addressed. It should be
particularly useful in areas with seasonal populations or a large number of
vacancies or foreclosures.

As required by the U.S. Constitution, the once-a-decade census must
count every person living in the United States. Census data are the basis
for our democratic system of government, ensuring that representation in
government is equally distributed. The data also help determine how more
than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to state local and
tribal governments every year. That includes money that could go toward
roads, hospitals, schools and critical social services.