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 ‘information’

Newspaper Publishers Revenues Decline in 2008

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

OK, so the following post isn’t related to the 2010 Census, but it just goes to show you why sites like MyTwoCensus are becoming more and more necessary,  as newspapers across the US go bust! The following comes from today’s Census Bureau press release about the Bureau’s American information economy statistics that were just released:

Newspaper publishers experienced a single-year decline in total revenue
of 8.3 percent — from $47.9 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2008. This
followed a more modest decline of 2.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census
Bureau reported today.

A major contributor to the overall loss in revenues for the industry was
the decline in advertising space revenue for general newspapers, which
dropped 10.2 percent — from $30.9 billion in 2007 to $27.8 billion in
2008. Revenue from newspaper subscriptions remained largely unchanged
over the period, from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2008.

These estimates come from the 2008 Service Annual Survey: Information
Sector Services. The survey provides national estimates of annual revenue
and expenses for industries primarily engaged in producing, processing and
distributing data, which range from motion picture production to libraries.

“When we measure information as a commodity, it allows us to track
trends in various industries, such as newspaper publishers, motion picture
and sound recording industries, and radio and television broadcasting, that
produce and distribute information as the source of their revenue,” said
Mark Wallace, chief of the Service Sector Statistics Division at the U.S.
Census Bureau. “Businesses can then use these data to examine market share,
evaluate business potential and plan their investment strategies.”

Radio stations saw a 6.7 percent decline in revenues in 2008 — from
$13.6 billion to $12.7 billion — a decrease from the relatively flat
observed since 2005. Local radio station air time revenue for broadcasting
advertising and program content (commercials, infomercials, real estate
listings and sponsorships) fell 9.5 percent — from $9.0 billion in 2007 to
$8.1 billion in 2008.

Cable and other subscription programming, such as producing and
broadcasting television programs for cable and satellite television
continued to see increased revenues, climbing from $40.9 billion in 2007 to
$45.1 billion in 2008 — an 10.1 percent increase.

Over the same period, Internet publishing and broadcasting revenues grew
19.8 percent from $16.7 billion to $20 billion, spurred in part by the
increase in revenue from one of its sources, publishing and broadcasting of
Internet content, which increased 19.6 percent — from $8.7 billion in
2007 to $10.4 billion in 2008.

Summary data (total revenue and total expenses) are provided at the
sector, subsector and industry group level for the survey year and past
years. Detailed expense data are published for select sectors and
subsectors. Industry specific data, such as product line and detailed
(source of funding), are provided for selected industries.

The information sector is classified under the North American Industry
Classification System as NAICS 51.

Prison Spotlight: The Diversity Myth

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Here’s an interesting angle about the 2010 Census from a Kansas City Star opinion piece:

How Places With Prisons Falsely Boost “Diversity”

By Marie Sanchez

The 2010 U.S. census will soon be upon us, and by now you may have heard one of the patriotic pitches to comply.

Every breathing soul must be tallied during the massive federal endeavor, the national headcount taken every decade. The census is central to the functioning of our democracy, we’re told.

The data are used to distribute $400 billion in government spending, to compile countless reports on educational needs, to plan for economic development and formulate public policy.

More important, census data have a direct bearing on congressional districts and the Electoral College. The information is crucial to help us uphold the constitutional principle of one person, one vote.

So why, then, is the federal government gearing up to distort this vital set of data by how it accounts for the nation’s booming prison population? Prisoners are counted, not according to their home address but where they are incarcerated.

At a glance, this might not seem like a big deal — until the details of our nation’s 2 million inmates are broken down. Rural communities with large prison populations suddenly appear to be bastions of diversity, while those without prisons continue to see their population numbers slide.

On average, inmates serve for 34 months before returning to their original communities. They never shop, dine, attend school or otherwise become members of the towns and cities where they are warehoused while paying their debt to society.

One distortion this way of counting population causes is what some activists call “prison-based gerrymandering.” Because population figures are used to determine legislative districts, voting power is diluted in some areas and falsely ramped up in others.

The NAACP, no doubt recalling how black people were once considered three-fifths of a person for the purpose of representation, was among the first organizations to call for reform. Because 12 percent of black men in their 20s and 30s are in prison at any one time, urban areas lose out on the strength of those uncounted inmates.

But it’s actually rural communities, where prisons are often built, that suffer the most from the distortions. Peter Wagner, a Massachusetts-based advocate for the Prison Policy Initiative, has found 173 counties where more than half of the black population is made up of inmates. Seven state senate districts in New York alone, he argues, would need to be redrawn if inmates were omitted from population figures for the areas where they are doing time.

Local officials in some parts of the country have responsibly attempted to eliminate the distortions. Bravo. The town of Anamosa, Iowa, changed the way it elects city council members after discovering that the population of a state penitentiary created a ward where a candidate got elected on the strength of two write-in votes. His inmate constituency of about 1,300 prisoners was roughly as populous as the town’s other wards.

With census-takers already completing the process of verifying addresses for the spring headcount, it’s too late for the government to change how it plans to conduct the 2010 census. Recording the true home address of inmates would be costly (an estimated $250 million), and many prisons don’t have the information readily available.

What the government can do to help rectify the situation is release the prison data earlier than planned, in time for states to take the information and delete those numbers for redistricting purposes.

Criminals forfeit a lot when they get locked up. They lose the right to vote, in all but two states.

They lose daily interaction with loved ones and the chance to engage in meaningful work. What they shouldn’t lose is the sense that their presence counts.

To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send e-mail to