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 ‘Hurricane Katrina’

Counting on census controversy

Monday, January 4th, 2010

From a proposal to ask about citizenship on 2010 Census to a collaboration between Latino groups and evangelical churches to promote the census, we’ve seen a fair amount of controversy, well before census forms are distributed in March.

Audrey Singer, a senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution examines some of the controversies surrounding the upcoming census in an op-ed for CNN.com.

Much of the debate will center on meaning of “home,” she writes:

This coming census — the largest count of the U.S. population with more immigrants and minorities than ever — will be complicated further by the economic downturn and foreclosure crisis because many people are “doubling up” or otherwise living in temporary quarters.

The census questionnaire asks for a count of all people who live and sleep in the household “most of the time,” as of April 1, but not those who are living away at college or in the military or those who are living in a nursing home or who are in a jail, prison or detention facility. (They are counted separately from households.)

“Home” may have changed recently for those whose hardship leaves them little choice but to live with relatives or friends, however temporary that may be. “Home” for displaced residents of the Gulf Coast may be miles away from where they lived before the devastation that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrought in their communities.

“Home” for some immigrants is in U.S. communities even though they are not legally residing in the United States. And “home” may be in a prison or detention center in a state far away from the inmate’s hometown residence.

In the comments, let us know what you see as the most controversial parts of the 2010 Census.

Next Year’s Census Count Promises to Rejigger Political Map

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Here’s an interesting forecast on redistricting as a result of the 2010 Census from the Wall Street Journal (click HERE for the full piece):

By Stephanie Simon

The federal government has hired tens of thousands of temporary workers to prepare for the 2010 Census — a population count that could remake the political map even as the foreclosure crisis makes it more difficult to account for millions of dislocated Americans.

Early analysis indicates that Texas will likely be the biggest winner since the prior count a decade ago, picking up three or four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and Election Data Services Inc., a political-consulting firm. Other states poised to gain at least one seat include Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and Utah.

Growth in these states is driven by factors including migration from other states, immigration and birth rates. The economic crisis has put the brakes on some of this expansion — Florida just reported its first year-over-year population decline since 1946 — but in general, Sun Belt states have grown faster than others over the past decade.

Since the number of seats in the House is capped at 435, the gains in the South and West have to be offset by losses elsewhere.

New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts and the recession-battered industrial states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania each stand to lose a House seat. So does Louisiana, where the population still hasn’t rebounded from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which displaced so many residents that census takers face a difficult task in tallying them all.

A state’s votes in the presidential Electoral College depend on the size of its congressional delegation, so the census will likely tilt the balance of power slightly, with reliably Republican “red states” gaining several votes while Democratic strongholds such as New England lose clout.

[Balance of Power chart]

The effect in Congress is less clear, said Karl Eschbach, the Texas state demographer. Texas, for instance, is solidly red when it comes to presidential elections. But Democrats have begun to make inroads in the state Legislature, buoyed by a flow of newcomers from more-liberal states such as California. So political analysts believe one or more of Texas’s new seats in Congress may well translate into a Democratic pickup.

How do you count the drunks on Bourbon Street? Go bar to bar.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The following report from the Associated Press makes us wonder if we are really living in the year 2010 or 1910, as technology continues to elude us and door-to-door interaction is on the rise. Nonetheless, the MyTwoCensus team applauds the decision of Census Director Robert M. Groves to accurately count the residents of New Orleans without succumbing to the partisan interests of New Orleans’ often-controversial mayor, Ray Nagin. Nagin’s call to count former residents of New Orleans who no longer live there as current New Orleans residents is selfish and detrimental for the rest of the country. If former residents were counted as still living in New Orleans, then the municipalities where these people currently reside would not receive the proper federal funding that they deserve and need to compensate for the extra bodies.


By BECKY BOHRER (AP) – 6 hours ago

NEW ORLEANS — Census forms will be hand-delivered in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita to get the most accurate count possible following concerns that the region could lose federal representation and funding.

The measures announced by U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves on Tuesday did not go as far as those sought by Mayor Ray Nagin and some advocacy groups to locally count potentially thousands of former residents scattered across the country who are trying to come back.

By at least one estimate, 75 percent of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina population has returned in the nearly four years since the Aug. 29, 2005, storm and levee breaches. In some neighborhoods, there remain huge swaths of empty homes.

Groves said he shared Nagin’s concerns, but “the proposal to count people where they want to be is something that would really be a massive change.”

Census rules dictate people be counted “in their abodes,” as of Census Day, he said, and Congress has not changed the law to reflect situations like refugees of Katrina and other disasters, missionaries spending time overseas or noncitizens being included in the count.

“So we have to follow the law,” Groves said. “In the 2010 Census, we’ll count people where they usually live.”

Census workers in the region are expected to hand-deliver an estimated 300,000 questionnaires to homes in 11 south Louisiana parishes affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Additional hand deliveries are expected in parts of Mississippi’s Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, also affected by the 2005 storms, and parts of Galveston Island, Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Ike last summer, said Jeff Behler, deputy regional director of the census’ Dallas office.

Census officials said 2,400 workers would be hired in the New Orleans-area office, but they could not immediately provide a total cost for hand-delivering forms. They said hand deliveries are sometimes used in very rural parts of the country and on some tribal lands.

Nagin repeated his call Tuesday to include former residents who moved away from the city and are working to come back, saying an accurate count is “essential” for the future of the region and providing needed services to displaced residents when they return.

“We’re looking forward to a good count, as high as we can possibly get it,” Nagin said.

There’s a lot at stake: the 10-year count, which starts with surveys going out in March, will help decide congressional representation and distribution of at least $400 billion a year in federal funds across the country.