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 ‘Connecticut’

Census Bureau employees are victims of crimes, yet also perpetrators of crimes…

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

With 635,000 people on the job for the non-response follow-up (NRFU) operation, it’s not surprising that there are a few bad apples in the bunch. On the other hand, it’s tragic to learn that a Census Bureau employee in Connecticut became a carjacking victim. Here are the tidbits about these situations:

According to Connecticut’s NBC affiliate:

A Census Bureau worker was the victim of a carjacking in Hamden, and the suspect is just 14-years-old.

The 50-year-old Hamden resident was sitting in his car, clearly marked with a Census Bureau sign, on Hamden Park Drive Thursday around 6:00 p.m., according to police.

The victim told police the teen came up to him with a gun and ordered him out of the car, then stole money from him.

Jumping in the car, the teen sped away, but returned a short time later and ordered the victim to drive him to the First Street area, police said.

The teen jumped out of the car at First Street and fled on foot.

Working with several leads, police arrested the 14-year-old suspect around 9:00 p.m. Thursday night.

He is charged with carjacking, first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, first-degree robbery and larceny.  Police did not release the teen’s identity because of his age.

And from the Fox affiliate in Indiana, a Census Bureau employee raped a woman whom he had previously enumerated…weird:

Census worker charged with rape

Posted: May 11, 2010 4:18 AM

A Southern Indiana Census worker sits in jail, charged with brutally raping a mentally handicapped woman.

Now deep concerns from within the neighborhood where police say it took place.

Connie Fry said she was asleep in one room and her daughter in another and had no idea someone was in her home attacking her daughter.

“At one time she told me he was putting his hand over her mouth and he was choking her,” Fry said as she was describing the attack on her daughter.

She said the attacker is 39-year-old Daniel Miller.  Fry said he is not a complete stranger, but someone she had met before.

“Three days prior to the night he got here he came from the Census Bureau.”  That day – Fry said Miller was dressed professionally and was polite only taking her information for the Census.

Officials with the U.S. Census Bureau confirm Daniel Miller is a numerator, someone employed to go door to door gathering information.

At around 4:30 Saturday morning, police said Miller broke into a home at 5602 South State Road 60 in Pekin, Indiana and brutally attacked and raped Fry’s 21-year-old daughter.

“She had blood shot eyes and bruises on her shoulders and her arms.”

Fry said her daughter is handicapped and could not have defended herself.  “She’s got Cerebral Palsy and mild retardation.”

Fry said it was easy to figure out who attacked her daughter because he left behind plenty of evidence.

“He left all his clothes, his wallet and everything in the bedroom.  He went out of here with her pajamas and her panties.”

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Miller at his apartment on North Eastern School Road in Pekin across the street from Eastern High School.

“Sometimes we’re here by ourselves because my husband works out of town,” said Evelyn Wisman Fry’s neighbor.

Even though police say they have arrested the right person, neighbors along Indiana 60 in Pekin are concerned that someone trusted by the government to go door to door is now charged with such a serious crime.

“That’s scary for him to know exactly who’s in the home,” Wisman said.

Miller is charged with rape and burglary and is in the Washington County Detention Center on a $150,000 full cash bond.

Census officials tell Fox 41 a background check is performed on all employees and anyone with a criminal history is not hired.

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Why is the Census Bureau pointing at some cities to improve while others are left lagging behind in silence?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Imagine you’re in first grade and you’re playing soccer for a team. Imagine if you’re one of a handful of kids who isn’t playing as well as the others. Now, imagine that the coach tells a few kids who are playing poorly what they’re doing wrong, but he doesn’t tell you anything. So what do you do? You keep doing what you’re doing, which is lousy. It’s lousy because you will never get better. Well, this is what the Census Bureau has done in recent days by pointing out that some states, cities and towns have poor “participation rates” while letting others linger in the darkness.

Just yesterday, I worried that Connecticut didn’t have enough resources for its Questionnaire Assistance Centers. Today, my fears were confirmed when the Census Bureau called out Connecticut on its low response rates. The Census Bureau sent out a press release with the following:

2010 Census Mail Participation Rates in Parts of Connecticut
Behind Rest of the Nation

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves noted today that some areas are
lagging behind the rest of the country in mailing back their 2010 Census
forms. With Census Day on April 1, parts of Connecticut still have some of
the lowest rates of mail participation. Nationally, 50 percent of
households have mailed back their forms. But in parts of Connecticut, the
participation rate is significantly lower, with Hartford one of the
farthest behind at 32 percent.

“We’re concerned about the relatively low response from parts of
Connecticut,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Every household
that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a
census taker starting in May — at a significant taxpayer cost. The easiest
and best way to be counted in the census is to fill out and return your
form by mail.”

Why single out Connecticut and Chicago when other states and cities are performing even worse? (Conspiracy theorists may start here when they notice that both of these regions tilt Democratic and it would be an insult to the President if Chicago underperformed…)

On Tuesday, a concerned reader wrote to me (note the following numbers have changed since Tuesday…), “This morning the Bureau issued a press release calling out a number of cities and states concerned with their mailback response.  The Bureau called out Anchorage, AK (41% participation response) and Montgomery, AL (41%) as low performing areas.  They also called out several cities in Florida and Jackson Mississippi which have participation rates in the 30’s.

Why did the Census Bureau single out some areas in press releases and not others?  As of Tuesday’s update, these major cities all had participation rates in the 30% range – Houston, TX 33%, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Dallas each at 37%, Austin, TX 33%, Columbus, OH 35%, and Memphis, TN 31%  — yet weren’t mentioned anywhere.

Why call out some locales and not others? If there is a method to this madness, Dr. Groves, Mr. Jost, Mr. Buckner, and other Census Bureau officials are requested to let us know in the comments section why there is such disparity in the levels of attention given by the Bureau to specific poorly performing areas.

Book criticizes use of census to apportion House seats

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

The Hartford Courant reports that an upcoming book by a Connecticut population expert criticizes how the Census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the newspaper, a series of papers by Orlando Rodriguez, manager of the Connecticut State Data Center, form the basis of the book “Vote Thieves: Illegal Immigration, Congressional Apportionment, and Census 2010,” which is scheduled to be published this fall.

Rodriguez asserts that it’s unfair to use the raw head count to determine House seats, because it doesn’t account for non-voters and illegal immigrants:

But in “Vote Thieves,” Rodriguez argues that representation based on population size unfairly penalizes many Northeastern states and intensifies political polarization. The fundamental problem, Rodriguez says, is that states are given federal representation based on the total count of people there. Apportionment is not made according to voting turnout in states, and not according to those who are legal citizens.

This has two major effects, Rodriguez says. Apportionment by raw head counts hugely favors Southern border states at the expense of Northern and Midwestern states. Those Southern border states tend to have younger populations with low voter turnouts. But the generally older and high-voting populations of the North and Midwest are given fewer representatives and thus fewer votes in the House.

If voter turnout in the most recent presidential elections, instead of raw head counts, was used in assigning House seats, Rodriguez’s calculations show that Connecticut would actually gain a House seat.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a shift in the way the census is used to determine Congressional representation soon, but Rodriguez makes some pretty interesting arguments against using the raw head count. If you buy Rodriguez’s claims, relying on voter turnout instead could give states an incentive to maximize voter turnout, reduce disenfranchisement and draw competitive legislative districts to draw in moderate voters. And it’s pretty hard to argue against at least taking a closer look at a method of determining House seats that might do that.