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 ‘LA Times’

Kevin Drum responds to LA Times op-ed

Monday, May 31st, 2010

My former Mother Jones colleague, Kevin Drum, has written a response to the recent LA Times opinion piece that suggested illegal immigrants shouldn’t be counted in the 2010 Census since they can’t vote.

Interesting Op-Ed from the LA Times…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Though this issue hasn’t been discussed for a few months now, an op-ed in the LA Times questions why illegal immigrants are counted in the 2010 Census, thus altering Congressional apportionment, if they don’t have the right to vote.

LA Times: Native-born Californians regain majority status

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Solid article on demographic shifts in Cali from the LA Times (Click HERE for complete article):

By Teresa Watanabe and Hector Becerra

California has long been the ultimate melting pot, with the majority of its population coming from outside the state.

Dust Bowl emigres, Asian railroad workers, high-tech entrepreneurs, Mexican laborers and war refugees from around the globe flocked to California. The majority migrant population filled the state’s myriad labor needs, challenged the schools with a cacophony of new languages and roiled its politics with immigration debates.

But, in a dramatic demographic shift, California’s narrative as the nation’s quintessential immigrant state is giving way to a new reality.

For the first time since the 19th century Gold Rush, California-born residents now make up the majority statewide and in most counties, according to a USC study released Wednesday. And experts predict even Los Angeles — long a mecca for new immigrants — will become majority California-born by the time the 2010 census is completed.

“Home-grown Californians are the anchor of our economic future,” said Dowell Myers, a USC urban planning and demography professor who coauthored the study. “But people are living in the past. They still think we are fighting off hordes of migrants.”

The study showed that California’s share of foreign-born residents grew from 15.1% in 1980 to a peak of 27.4% in 2007. This segment is estimated to decline to 26.6% in 2010.

Los Angeles County shows parallel trends, with foreign-born residents growing from 22.1% of the population in 1980 to 36.2% in 2006. That figure is expected to dip to 35% in 2010.

Meanwhile, the native Californian share of the population is projected to increase from 45.5% in 1980 to 54% in 2010 statewide. In Los Angeles, the homegrown share is expected to rise from 40.8% to 49.4% over the same period.

Myers said the recession and stricter immigration enforcement were probably two key factors driving down California’s foreign-born population, as fewer migrants are coming and more are leaving because they can’t find jobs. But even when the economy recovers, he said he expects the trend to continue because the state’s high housing costs and dramatically lower birthrates in Mexico will continue to suppress migration to California.

Event tonight in Los Angeles…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Here’s the LINK to the event…

Is the Census Controversial?

Moderated by Steve Padilla, Assistant National Editor, Los Angeles Times

The California Endowment
1000 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA

The Census Bureau is fundamental to American democracy — its ten-year counts determine representation in Congress and in the Electoral College, and influence federal and state funding for health, education, transportation, and more. Businesses rely on the Census to predict demand and choose locations; governments use it to make housing decisions, study communities, map roadways, create police and fire precincts, and plan local elections. But because of this vast impact, the Census also confronts controversy each time it sets out to count. Americans of all political leanings have strong preferences for whom and what they want counted, and obstacles often prevent the Census from making full counts, particularly of minority groups. Some, recalling the Census’ history of providing information on various groups for national security reasons, regard the count with skepticism and mistrust. With the 2010 Census looming, Zócalo invites a panel of experts — including UCI’s Jennifer Lee, UCLA’s Paul Ong, Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles and Arturo Vargas of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials — to consider how the Census works, how it might improve, and why it is relentlessly controversial.

Consuls from Latin America will help with the 2010 Census

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

From the LA Times:

In an effort to allay any fears between the immigrant community and federal authorities, officials with the 2010 Census met with consuls of several Latin American countries to ask for support in their communities to spread the word about the importance of being counted.

“It is vital that every person living in the United States takes part to assure accurate representation and funding for vital services”, said Marycarmen Moran, promoter of the 2010 Census, adding that the consuls agreed to do all they can to make the census a success.

This cooperation is needed because Latino immigrants, mainly undocumented, have expressed concern regarding the confidentiality of the information obtained during the process, according to consulate officials.

“The immigration status of the individual is an issue that has generated some fear among immigrants”, said Eddie Bedon, Ecuador’s Consul General. “The Office of the Census has assured us that the confidentiality of the information will be safeguarded, and the census is being conducted irrespective of immigration status”.

“For Ecuador,” Bedón continued, “the information gleaned from the census will be very important. The statistics regarding the number of Ecuadoreans who live and work here will help us meet their needs, and defend their rights and interests”.

William Jarquin, Consul of El Salvador, also affirmed that his government is committed to working with the census. “For Salvadorans it is extremely important because we need to know just how many of us are out there”.

Pablo César Garcia, Consul General of Guatemala, said: “Immigrants need to understand that when they cooperate with the Census, they are helping to create statistics that will then be used to obtain more community investment because, based on these statistics, the city of Los Angeles will receive more [federal] funds for education and health”.

In addition to the consuls from Guatemala, El Salvador and Ecuador, at the meeting with Census officials were also present consuls from Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Bolivia, México and the Dominican Repúblic, among others.

–Paula Diaz/HOY

Los Angeles Times: Census Outreach Is Critical In L.A. County

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Some news from the City of Angels (click HERE for full article) – it’s too bad the LA Times’ new web site looks like it was built for a high school newspaper:

By Teresa Watanabe

With sprawling enclaves of immigrants, crowded housing conditions and pockets of deep poverty, Los Angeles is regarded as the nation’s most difficult county for census-takers to count.

But as they gear up for the decennial census beginning in April, officials are beefing up efforts to reach the region’s far-flung polyglot communities with more community outreach staff and language assistance, including a first-ever bilingual English-Spanish census form.

At a meeting last week in downtown Los Angeles, U.S. census officials met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, dozens of community activists, nonprofit leaders and state and local government representatives to craft strategies on how to reach the 4.4 million people who live in “hard-to-count” neighborhoods in Los Angeles County.

Census officials give that designation to areas where residents traditionally have low rates of census participation, including immigrants with limited English, African Americans and other minority groups, the poor, the less educated and those who live in crowded housing.

Los Angeles County’s hard-to-count population dwarfs those in all other U.S. counties and is concentrated in the city’s central core, from Sunset Boulevard to Imperial Highway, the Terminal Island area and parts of the San Fernando Valley.

Officials fear funding shortages and mistrust toward the government among many immigrants could result in an undercount with enormous consequences for California: the possible loss of a U.S. congressional seat for the first time in state history and the loss of billions of dollars of federal funding for schools and other services.

Congressional seats and more than $300 billion in federal funding for more than 170 programs are apportioned by population, as determined by the census. By some estimates, each person counted results in $12,000 in federal funds over a decade.

“This is the most important census in California history,” said Ditas Katague, state census director.

Fueling the worries about an undercount next year is a sizable drop in state funding for outreach efforts: $3 million for next year, compared with $24.7 million in 2000.

James T. Christy, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Los Angeles regional director, said the federal government has stepped in with some increased funding. It has expanded the number of Los Angeles community outreach staff to more than 350 people from 50 in 2000 and is offering informational guides in 59 languages, an increase of more than 20%. The new languages include Polish, Russian and Arabic. In addition, Russian has been added to the telephone assistance system, which also operates in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Nonprofit organizations have also tried to fill the gap. The California Endowment, which sponsored the census forum, announced last week that it would provide $4 million for statewide outreach, and the California Community Foundation had earlier announced grants of $1.5 million.

But Christy said the financial woes remain worrisome. “Community-based organizations don’t have the funding to tack on a census message,” he said.

Christy also said that next year’s census, the first since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, could be met with suspicion from minorities who may be wary of government intrusion into their lives. He said the Justice Department had assured the bureau that the Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement broader access to personal information for counter-terrorism investigations, could not be used to force the surrender of any census information. The U.S. Supreme Court has also ruled that census information must remain confidential, he said.

“No one can get access to census data,” Christy said. “It is rock solid secure.”

To address such concerns, census officials are expanding their outreach staff and dispatching “complete count” committees made up of local government officials and community members. Committees have been formed by Cambodians, Koreans, Filipinos and Sikhs, among others. Officials are pitching the census as “safe, easy and important,” noting that the form’s 10 questions will not ask for Social Security numbers or legal status.

California could lose a House seat after 2010 census

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
H/T to Richard Simon of the LA Times for reporting on the following:

Reporting from Washington — Here’s yet another result of the bad economy: California’s congressional delegation is unlikely to grow and could even lose a seat after next year’s census for the first time since stagecoach days.

If the state loses a seat, it could weaken California’s clout in Washington and reduce the amount of federal money flowing to the state. It could also set off a game of political musical chairs, forcing two incumbents to run against each other.

As if that weren’t enough, the state that stands to gain the most new seats is California’s longtime rival, Texas, the second most populous state.

With the possible loss of a seat, “an accurate census becomes all the more important to California,” said Terri Ann Lowenthal, a former staff director of the House census oversight subcommittee and a member of President Obama’s transition team for the census.

As California’s population has increased — through the booms of the 1880s, the post-World War II years and the 1980s — so has its clout in Congress.

The delegation has grown every time Congress has reapportioned House seats to reflect population changes. The state gained nine seats — the most ever — after the 1930 census, seven after 1950, eight after 1960, seven after 1990 and one after the 2000 count.

The delegation now stands at 53, the largest of any state.

California neighbors Arizona and Nevada are expected to gain seats, as are Texas, Florida and Georgia. Texas alone could pick up as many as four. Michigan and Ohio, hard hit by the recession, are among the states expected to lose seats.

California’s population has been growing at a slower rate than those of a number of other states, a key factor in apportioning congressional seats. It grew 1.1% last year, its lowest rate in a decade.

“The economy, no doubt, held down the growth rate in California,” said UC Berkeley political scientist Bruce Cain.

Demographers believe that the size of California’s delegation will most likely remain unchanged — still significant because of its history of growth — rather than decrease by one. But they also say the state is on the bubble.

“I would be very surprised if we lost a seat, but not at all surprised if we didn’t gain any, based on the job growth,” said Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

The state is adding jobs at about the same rate as the national average after above-average job growth from the end of World War II until the early 1990s, when the economy suffered deeply from the collapse of California’s aerospace industry, Levy said.

The Golden State’s share of new immigrants — legal and illegal — has also dropped. The state has been drawing about one-sixth of new immigrants in recent years, down from one-third in the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s, said Jeff Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

He added that the percentage of immigrants settling in the mountain states and Southeast has risen.

As immigration has slowed, more people have moved out of California to other states than into California from other states — a net loss of more than 435,000 and perhaps as many as 945,000 in the last four years.

“During recessions, when California’s unemployment rate is higher than the nation’s, as is the case right now, we tend to experience quite a bit of outmigration,” said Hans Johnson, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

The state’s population has grown, nonetheless, because births and continued, albeit slowed, immigration have outpaced deaths and people moving out of California.

“Population is driven by jobs and the economy. So in this next census, I think there will be a strong correlation to the regional and state economies and population,” said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s little doubt that California is going to feel that in a special way.”

Still, the fate of the state’s delegation will remain unclear until after the census is completed, because the current population estimates vary.

If the state’s estimate of 12.6% population growth from 2000 to 2008 is correct, Johnson said, California could still gain a seat or two in Congress. Under the Census Bureau figures of 8.5% growth since 2000, the state’s congressional delegation is likely to remain unchanged.

Although the subject is arcane, size matters in Washington.

Not only is the census used to apportion strength in the House of Representatives and the electoral college, but dozens of federal aid programs are linked to population figures.

The possible loss of a congressional seat was cited by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month in creating a special panel to “make certain everyone is counted so that California gets its fair share of federal dollars and representation in Congress.”

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders has called for illegal immigrants to boycott the census to ratchet up the pressure on Congress to overhaul immigration laws, but a number of Latino House members from California have spoken out against a boycott, saying it could cost the state dearly. In its decennial count, the Census Bureau does not consider a person’s legal status.

Ironically, declining home values may deter Californians from selling their homes and leaving the state.

Mary Heim, chief of the state Department of Finance’s demographic research unit, said the number of people moving out of California to other states “may not reach the level of the 1990s because the economic slowdown is nationwide this time and not as concentrated in California as it was in the 1990s.”

LA Times Editorial: Latino boycott of the census makes no sense

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Check out this editorial from the LA Times:

Latino boycott of the census makes no sense

In a report on undercounting in the 2000 census, the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers calculated that states loses more than $3,000 per uncounted resident. California, for example, is already out hundreds of millions of dollars because of an undercount in the 2000 census of an estimated 500,000 people. Los Angeles, Alameda, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties will lose the bulk of that money, with L.A. losing more than $600 million over 10 years.

Unfortunately, this boycott movement seems to be gaining momentum; it dovetails with an existing fear of government detection. But anyone who boycotts the census has a poor understanding of U.S. history. Political power in this country is tethered to visibility. It is not a coincidence that in the past, the voiceless — Native Americans on reservations, enslaved African Americans — were purposely not counted in the census. (Actually, for taxation and representation purposes, the latter were counted as three-fifths of a person.)

There is no logical reason to fear participation. By law, all personal census information is sealed for 72 years, and no one who fills out a form is going to be deported as a result. With nothing to gain but much to lose, boycotting the census would be a strange tactic for people who have marched by the millions, revealing their numbers for the world to see. Whatever happened to “Today we march, tomorrow we vote”?

Funds and services depend on an accurate count; boycotting could hurt those who need those things the most.
June 4, 2009

The latest effort to push illegal immigrants further into the shadows of civic life comes from an unexpected quarter. Not from those who would gladly deport every single person residing in this country without permission, but from advocates who profess to have their best interest at heart. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders is urging illegal immigrants not to participate in the 2010 census. The group’s supposed logic? That the statistical invisibility of 11 million to 12 million people will be a powerful lever to move legislators and the Obama administration to act with urgency and create a pathway to citizenship.

This misguided advice could have come from the Minuteman Project. Because an undercount means that the very places where illegal immigrants reside and use services, those states and counties already in desperate financial straits will be shortchanged of federal funding that would help all residents. Are these church leaders also urging illegal immigrants to not send their children to school? To avoid hospitals? To forgo driving on highways? An undercount means diminished funding for those public necessities and many others. Furthermore, census data determine voting districts. Are these advocates calling for fewer elected officials who might actually negotiate a pathway to citizenship?