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 ‘form’

The Census Bureau makes follow-up calls to 10% of those who mailed in their forms

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The Census Bureau’s follow-up system appears to invite fraud as there is no obvious way to know if you are talking to a scammer or Census Bureau employee…

Racebox.org

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

This is an interesting (and extremely simple) web site that displays what the “race question” on census forms has looked like since 1790. It’s definitely worth checking out: Racebox.org

Photo of the day: Census form’s blowing in the wind

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Apologies for being MIA for the past 36 hours, but I was traveling and now I am back to MyTwoCensus work…Here’s a great photo:

2010 CENSUS— A faded bag with a census form hangs in front of a Talkeetna cabin. Enumerators now follow up and go door to door to count residents. Photo by Diana Haecker

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.

MyTwoCensus Investigation: 2010 Census Response Rates Lag Behind Response Rates From 2000

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Correction/Update:

1. I may have misheard Dr. Groves at the Wednesday Press conference when I wrote that he said 2010 response rates were as good as they were in 2000.

2. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that 2010 response rates are significantly WORSE than they were in 2000. My suspicions were also raised today when I learned that the response rate increased by 14% in one day. This means that some 25 million forms were processed in the past 24 hours, which is historically unheard of!

I apologize for any inaccuracies, but I stand behind the data and statistics that I am reporting, and furthermore, other than the one statement above, I stand by the rest of my claims. I was likely confused when I heard Dr. Groves say “We’re off to a pretty good start.”

Though we don’t have the full transcript yet (we will publish it here as soon as we get it), Census Director Robert M. Groves made claims at yesterday’s press conference that mail response rates for the 2010 Census were ahead of/on par with what they were in 2000. These claims are false for the following reasons…

According to Appendix F of this document from the 2000 Census, http://www.census.gov/pred/www/rpts/A.7.a.pdf, the mail return rate was at 42% ten days after the major questionnaire mailing period began on 3/13/2000. But in 2010, ten days after the process started on 3/15, the  participation rate is at only 20%. Here are screenshots from the 2000 report and from 2010Census.gov to check out the data:

Now, look at the mailback rate for 2010 on 3/25 (This year the mailing started on 3/15. In 2000 it started on 3/13.):

*ALSO, PLEASE  KEEP IN MIND THAT THE 2010 CENSUS FORM IS WAY SHORTER/EASIER TO COMPLETE THAN THE ONE FROM 2000!

Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post live-blogs the process of filling out his 2010 Census form…

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

To make a long story short, it took Ed only a few minutes (significantly less than the ten minutes the Census Bureau advertises it will take) to complete his form. But to watch him on video, HERE’S THE LINK.

City name incorrect on some 2010 Census forms

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The following report comes from West Virginia (yet we have also received unsubstantiated reports that this same problem has occurred in areas of Missouri and Mississippi). H/t to newsandsentinel.com:

By Natalee Seely

VIENNA – Vienna residents who have received materials for the 2010 Census in the mail may notice an incorrect city name on the return form, but census officials said forms that include the wrong city but the correct street address will still be counted accurately.

The census materials sent to Vienna residents incorrectly state Parkersburg as the city name instead of Vienna on the return form, said Vienna Mayor David Nohe.

City officials contacted the census bureau about the error Tuesday and were told to have residents cross out “Parkersburg” and write “Vienna” on the return form before sending it back, said Nohe.

“We would encourage people to cross out Parkersburg and write in Vienna on the form,” he said. “I just don’t want this to lead to an inaccurate count. City officials will continue to talk with the census bureau to guarantee these will be accurately counted.”

A press release from the U.S. Census Bureau stated an incorrect city name will not affect the count as long as the street address is correct, but residents may change the name if they like.

The city is not important because all census forms will be counted using a geocode that assigns each housing unit to the correct geographic location, said Michael Gregorio, a public information officer with the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I can guarantee, if it has the right street address but the wrong city name, it won’t make a difference,” he said. “But the residents can change the city name if they want to.”

According to a press release from the census bureau, the incorrect city names on some forms is a result of a cost-saving measure that streamlines how forms are sorted and delivered to residents by the U.S. Postal Service.

A geocode printed on the form will guarantee the correct geographic location, regardless of the city name indicated.

If residents have received forms with the wrong house number or street name, census workers will follow up with them at a later date, according to the press release.

Poll: Public Attitudes Toward US Census Improving

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

H/t to the Associated Press and the Pew Research Center for the following:

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the 2010 census under way, about 1 in 10 people may not participate in the population count, with many saying they see little personal benefit from the government survey or have concerns that it may be intrusive, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center poll shows marked improvement in public interest since January. At that time a poll showed 1 in 5 might not mail back the census form. Still, the new poll highlighted lingering apathy toward the head count, particularly among young adults.

”There is an increased commitment to participating in the census, but disparities remain,” said Michael Dimock, an associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. ”These include groups who have less-certain economic situations and who are often more mobile, which poses a challenge for the census count.”

The poll comes as more than 120 million census forms arrive in mailboxes this week. The population count, conducted every 10 years, is used to distribute U.S. House seats and more than $400 billion in federal aid.

Stephen Buckner, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said the increase in overall public awareness was heartening, noting that the government can save $1.5 billion in follow-up visits if everyone mails back their forms.

Buckner said for those who remain apathetic or reluctant to turn in their forms, the bureau will be closely monitoring mail participation rates and will increase advertising and outreach in the regions of the country that are lagging, including college campuses.

Beginning in May, the Census Bureau will also send census-takers to visit homes that do not return their forms.

”We’re aware students are historically harder to count, and we are putting things in place to get an accurate count,” he said.

Overall, nearly all of those surveyed by Pew were familiar with the census. About 87 percent reported they had already filled out their 10-question form, or definitely or probably would do so, often citing reasons that it was ”important” or a civic duty.

Still, a majority of the people said they saw little personal gain from the census (62 percent) or expressed uncertainty as to whether the government was asking for more information than it really needed (55 percent). Many also said they still weren’t confident that census information would be kept confidential and not be shared with other federal agencies for law enforcement, despite repeated assurances from Census Bureau director Robert Groves.

Broken down by age, adults 18-29 were least likely to say they would definitely or probably participate, at 71 percent. That’s compared to 86 percent for adults 30-49; 92 percent for those 50-64; and 89 percent for people 65 and older.

Hispanics also were less likely to participate compared to other racial groups, although that gap has narrowed since January.

Pew interviewed 1,500 adults by cell or home phone from March 10-14. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, higher for subgroups.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: A Rare Spell Of Bipartisanship Spells Good News For The 2010 Census

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Since Members of  the House of Representatives face re-election every two years, they are constantly campaigning, and always on the lookout for legislation that may be used to attack them. I suspect the fears of populist discontent and anti-Washington sentiment (perhaps combined with just a tinge of moral values) are what led all but two Republican members of the House of Representatives to support legislation that makes March 2010 “2010 Census Awareness Month.” This show of bipartisanship was unexpected yet welcome.

Even former 2010 Census critic Michele Bachmann (R-MN) jumped on board this movement. This is an excellent first step to combatting anti-census sentiment that has swept the nation in the past few months, coinciding with the growth of the Tea Party movement.

The level of GOP discontent with Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee should not be ignored: Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unanimously passed a bill, with full GOP support (and even co-sponsored by Republicans Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz) to stop the RNC from sending mailers that misuse the word census.  MyTwoCensus has reported on this issue for months, and we are glad to see GOP officials acknowledging their party leader’s mistakes and holding the RNC accountable for their unethical fundraising methods.