Posts Tagged ‘New York’
H/t to Sam Roberts at the New York Times for this (full article HERE):
What was Al Capone’s address? Where did Jonas Salk live? What did John D. Rockefeller list as his occupation? Whom did Franklin D. Roosevelt list as the head of his household in 1925?
The New York State Archives and Library has collaborated with Ancestry.com to provide searchable versions of the recently released 1940 United States census; New York State censuses from 1892, 1915 and 1925; and marriage, draft and other records dating to the 17th century.
As Congressional districts have been sliced and diced across New York, the New York Times created an easy-to-use interactive map detailing the changes. Enjoy it HERE!
Each state must redraw its political maps to reflect the 2010 census, but New York, which has approved neither legislative nor Congressional districts for this year’s elections, is among the last to comply. Redistricting has become increasingly urgent because of the calendar; the state’s Congressional primary is scheduled to be on June 26, and its legislative primary on Sept. 11.
Hi everyone, it’s been a long time. Unfortunately, life has made it such that MyTwoCensus.com isn’t my #1 priority at this moment, but that doesn’t mean that the impact of the 2010 Census is any less pertinent. In fact, there has been tons of news lately about the 2010 Census. Some key stories that I’ve been following:
1. As I would have predicted, specifically in the case of New York, where I identified myriad problems with 2010 Census operations, the city is disputing its 2010 Census numbers as it will likely be missing out on a ton of federal funding ($3,000 per resident not counted per year). Here’s some info.
2. Despite its inflated advertising budget (don’t forget that bomb of a Super Bowl ad), the Census Bureau’s 2010 Census ad campaign is winning awards…but again, these are industry awards created by the industry, for the industry, so don’t take them too seriously. When you compare the amount of ad dollars spent in 2000 vs. 2010 to the participation rates, it is clear that 2000 was a better performance proportionally.
3. This shouldn’t be a major shock, but America’s demographics are CHANGING. While the surge of Hispanics was expected, people didn’t expect the number of Asians in America to be growing so quickly. Here’s some info.
4. Minorities are moving to the suburbs and whites are moving to the cities, reversing trends that started in the post-war era. This is very interesting.
5. The GOP’s (Republican Party) success in the 2010 Elections may translate to redistricting success. Here’s a look at how the GOP won big in the 2010 Census.
On a more positive note, I have become quite interested in genealogy in recent months and I can tell you that US Census records have been invaluable in tracing my family’s history. In this sense, I am quite happy and proud that my family participated in the 2010 Census, because maybe, long after I’m gone, a future generation will be able to access information and learn about life in the year 2010.
MyTwoCensus.com has been tracking the following lawsuit for quite some time. At first, we supported this suit, because it shows that the Census Bureau discriminated against people in the hiring process. However, when caucasian Census Bureau applicants who were rejected because of supposed criminal records tried to join the lawsuit, they were told that because they were not minorities, they were ineligible to join. If the Census Bureau’s hiring procedures discriminated against people with criminal records/arrests, then it did so against ALL people, not only minorities. Here’s today’s update from the AP:
NEW YORK — A lawsuit in New York City claims the U.S. Census Bureau discriminated in its hiring of more than a million temporary workers to conduct the 2010 census.
The lawsuit was filed by civil rights groups in federal court in Manhattan several months ago and was updated Thursday.
It says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warned the Census Bureau last year its hiring practices might be discriminatory. The lawsuit says the EEOC told the bureau its criminal background check policy might “run afoul” of the Civil Rights Act.
The lawsuit accuses the bureau of illegally screening out applicants with often decades-old arrest records for minor offenses or those who were arrested but never convicted.
What happened last month at the Brooklyn LCO was indeed unfortunate. But let us not be naive: Data collection inaccuracies and falsifications are happening throughout the entire New York Regional Area and possibly the entire nation, though perhaps on a smaller scale than in Brooklyn.
There are many luxury rental and condominum buildings where real estate management companies have a strict “no enumerator” policy, as well as tenement buildings and brownstones where it is impossible to gain access. There are also one or two family houses where it is unclear how many people live there and a knowledgeable proxy could not be located.
For these units, some enumerators went to public search records on the Internet or merely wrote the names off the mailboxes. The mid and upper level census managers encouraged field staff to use techniques to “guesstimate,” creating major operational ambiguity for the once in a decade headcount.
What was acceptable inside the questionnaire was another problem. Most enumerators tried to get all the information but those who went to a proxy who gave them little, no, or inaccurate information, finished their areas quickly. These same field staff were rewarded with more work and allowed to clean up districts that were lagging behind.
These cases are the same ones where quality assurance suspects poor data collection practices or data falsification. However, in some cases re-interview staff are unable to locate the respondent to verify whether the interview was actually conducted and prove it definitively. Many other quality assurance managers are told to “just pass it” or are afraid to accuse enumerators of poor quality work, fearing that they will be stepping on people’s toes.
For two years municipalities and city officials preached about the beauty of the census through media and print advertising. They encouraged people to send back their census forms saying it was the only way to ensure that their residents were counted and for their community to receive the federal funding it was entitled to.
But these city officials did little in the way in forcing real estate management companies and reluctant respondents to cooperate when their participation was required. The fact that the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce made empty threats to fine people for not cooperating and then did not follow through on it shows how poorly 2010 Census data has been managed.
The offices in the five boroughs of New York will be the last in the nation to finish NRFU, whereas most areas were done weeks ago. The few career census employees who valued a fair and accurate count and finished last can not be proud of their work. Those responsible for promoting the individuals won’t let them be proud. When it comes time for their annual performance reviews, the fact they finished last will be reflected poorly and jeopardize their careers.
What happened in Brooklyn should not come as a surprise. In retrospect the Census did what it usually does. It set hard line production goals, held managers and field staff accountable and fired them if they failed to meet these goals with little constructive technical support. Those who work quickly are rewarded with more work with little regard to accuracy.
I dedicate this post to the many crew leaders, field operations supervisors and LCO manager who lost their jobs because they valued a fair and accurate count.
From the New York Daily News:
BY MICHAEL MCAULIFF
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee has set a hearing into the Brooklyn Census office that dummied up thousands of questionnaires, prompting the firing of two managers and do-overs for 10,000 family surveys.
Rep. Ed Towns, whose district is next door to the Northeast Brooklyn Census office that used the Internet and phone books to fill out forms, set the hearing for July 19 in Brooklyn’s Borough Hall.
“Given my commitment to the success of the 2010 Census, this recent problem is particularly troubling,” said Towns, who ironically held an earlier hearing in the very census office that later became a problem.
“Any attempt to compromise the integrity of the census is simply unacceptable given what is at stake for our community,” Towns said of the shenanigans first reported by the Daily News. “I am holding this hearing to ensure that the Census Bureau is following all of the necessary steps to accurately count every resident in Brooklyn.”
Among those invited to testify are Census Director Robert Groves, Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser, and Tony Farthing, the census regional director.
Most likely, the Census Bureau will come to the aid of its employee, but it will be interesting to see how this incident plays out in court. In a recent incident in Hawaii, the federal government staunchly defended their field worker. Let’s see how the following story plays out:
Count Me OutRosendale Census Worker Receives Summons for TrespassingBy Rochelle Riservato and Tod Westlake
ROSENDALE – A United States 2010 Census Bureau Quality Assurance fieldworker was involved in an altercation at a residence in Tillson on June 1, which then resulted in the bureau fieldworker being served with a “criminal summons for trespass.” The fieldworker was then issued an appearance date of Wednesday, July 21, in Rosendale Town Justice Court.
Apparently, the fieldworker — who would speak to the Journal only on the condition that her name be withheld from publication — was performing a re-interview visit at a Rosendale home, and was requested by the homeowner to leave the property. The census fieldworker stated that she got back in her vehicle to finish filling out “refusal paperwork” and left the premises.
“I want these charges expunged from my record,” said the fieldworker, “I was only doing my job — a ‘no-response’ is the only reason someone like me has to go at all.”
But a statement by the homeowner in question tells a different story. The homeowner says that she told the fieldworker that she had already filled out the form, but was told by the fieldworker that this was a “follow-up” visit. When the homeowner refused to cooperate, asking the fieldworker to leave the premises, the fieldworker responded that she was a “federal officer” and that she would “sleep in her car in [the homeowner's] driveway” until the homeowner complied. The homeowner repeated her request that the fieldworker leave her property, and the latter “laughed at her,” according to the statement. The incident took a total of 20-25 minutes, the statement says. The homeowner says that the fieldworker went so far as to suggest that the homeowner would be “wearing cuffs by the time this was over.”
The fieldworker says that, two weeks after the altercation, she came home to find a Rosendale police vehicle blocking her driveway when she arrived home from work.
“I said ‘Hi Officer, what’s going on?’ I had no idea he was coming to arrest me,” she says. “The officer told me I was under arrest for criminal trespassing and handed me a summons signed by Justice Robert Vosper.”
Chief Perry Soule of the Rosendale Police, however, said this was not an arrest. The officer was simply delivering a criminal summons from the justice court. Soule said that his office typically does not see complaints against census workers, and that these are referred to the justice court.
Subject: Bed bugs at LCO 2226
The bed bugs are not just in the admin area of the LCO 2226 office. They are all over. Someone in the IT room was napping (when working the night shift) and woke up with their stomach all eaten up.
One worker ended up bringing them home and the office won’t pay to deal with the employees home infestation.
No one wants to go to the office anymore to work because they don’t want to get bed bugs. Its awful.
Well, folks, you heard it here first. (Don’t forget that!) Now, let’s hope that the New York news organizations will pick up on the following info. As usual the Census Bureau releases critical information on a Friday afternoon in the summer time hoping that the media mavens in New York are already on their way to the Hamptons and will forget about this by Monday. How much will this operation cost taxpayers? Will the fired officials be charged with crimes? Here’s a Census Bureau Press Release:
Brooklyn Households May Get Additional Visit From Census Bureau
Quality checks reveal work must be redone to ensure complete accurate count
WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that checks on the quality of some of the work in the Brooklyn North East local census office (LCO) have led to a replacement of the management of that office, and to the judgment that at least 10,000 household interviews will have to be redone to ensure a complete and accurate count.
“I want to stress that our highest priority is to get a complete and accurate count in 2010 for Brooklyn, and while I regret some of the work must be redone, I’m sure the people of Brooklyn share in the goal of getting this right,” said Regional Director Tony Farthing.
Census officials from the New York Regional Office and the Suitland, Maryland headquarters visited the LCO this week following up on concerns raised by some employees in the LCO that the management there was not following established procedures. Senior managers confirmed that a variety of training and processing standards had recently been neglected in the LCO. The New York Regional Office has replaced the LCO management with two experienced managers who are very familiar with the communities in the affected area. The systematic review of processing steps continues, and may lead to more household re-interviews. A physical inspection of a sample of census questionnaires pointed to a recent breakdown and failure to follow quality standards that must be met by every local census office.
Regional Director Tony Farthing said that the new LCO team will be in the field beginning this weekend to ensure all enumerator interviews are conducted properly and that any suspect interviews will be redone with new interviews of the households. He said he felt confident all the work can be completed before the end of door to door enumeration, but that work would continue until the Bureau is satisfied of the quality.
Editor’s note: News releases, reports and data tables are available on the Census Bureau’s home page. Go to http://www.census.gov and click on “Releases.”
Though the New York Times reported that New York now has 8.4 million people according to 2009 Census Bureau estimates, MyTwoCensus is hoping that Sam Roberts and his colleagues at the Times will be able to investigate the likely undercount of New York City stemming from the fact that 2010 Census enumerators are finding themselves unable to access buildings because of doormen and other security restrictions. This is a problem that has been reported to MyTwoCensus.com on many occasions. And it doesn’t seem to be getting fixed any time soon. Will NRFU operations end before this problem is solved? Will Census Bureau officials resort to the illegal/unconstitutional practice of guesstimating how many people live in each building and then make up false information about the ages and races of the occupants?
If you have answers, don’t hesitate to let us know!
There are two boxes on the back of the enumerator questionnaire which isn’t mentioned in the manuals. The two boxes are REF and CO which stand for refusal and closeout. We are being told to mark the REF and CO boxes when we are at 95% or above. In order to get to 95% we can take a headcount and write in the margin that the respondent refused or didn’t know on all the questions. But that does not justify marking the CO box. If the respondent opens the door and refuses then it is better to mark a population count of 1 but do not mark the REF box.If a real estate management company refuses you access but is willing to tell you how many people live in the building then the enumerator can assume the total number of people in each housing unit is the total population of the building divided by number of units in the building and the enumerator can be the proxy. However they are still not to mark the CO or REF box.
We got a lot of mail this weekend. I’m going to try to answer some of it here and post the rest of it for readers to comment on:
Subject: Falsifying data
I live in midtown Manhattan.
I got a flier on my door asking me to call the census office and give them my information over the phone. Is that legal? The commericials all say a census taker will come to the door.
ANSWER (from a New York Census official): YES, WE CAN NOT GET INTO THE &$%$^# BUILDING. LET US INTO THE &^%#*@ BUILDING!
The following report comes from a Census Bureau official whose identity has been confirmed but will remain anonymous as she is a current Census Bureau employee:
The five boroughs of New York City and its diversified population of eight million have long eluded demographers and census employees in producing an accurate count. Having worked in three censuses now and living in New York for almost my entire adult life I notice that the socioeconomic spectrum of New Yorkers has widened, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. In the last ten years there is an influx of immigrants; some legal some illegal. It makes what was once a one family home in Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx a two or even three family home. These people are living in converted basements or the second story of the houses some legal some illegal. On the other end of the spectrum, luxury rentals and condominiums have become even more exclusive with price tags in the millions of dollars. In both cases the immigrants and residents of these upscale housing units and their exclusive real estate management companies have ignored repeated attempts by phone or mail to allow enumeration. Even in the face of a fine, the management companies are adamant about their policy and would willingly pay the fine rather than to allow enumerators to count their residents. The problem is the Census’ Bureau’s threat of a fine is merely used as a scare tactic. When a real estate mogul calls their bluff the actual fine like many other Census Bureau promises is empty.
As native New Yorkers we anticipated these problems. And sitting through four days of verbatim training where someone read through a book, we knew that it wasn’t as simple as the script made it to be to persuade these respondents about the importance of the census and their participation. As a group we brainstormed and created techniques through trial and error to get those who were non-responsive to fill out our questionnaires. Some of these tactics included: sending another enumerator of a different race or creed after several visits with no contact; leaving blank enumerator questionnaires under their door allowing them the privacy of completing it in their own home. One of us even went as far as sending well dressed suits or female fashion models to coerce participation. But all this takes time and money. All of which with 15 billion price tag the Census Bureau doesn’t have.
With inaccurate workload estimation models and front loading the Census Bureau overrecruited, overhired on many operations in preparation for the final major operation: non-response followup. One of the major costs was the paper based operational control system PBOCS which has been the subject of intense scrutiny by media, Congress and employees because of its inability to check out, check out and ship questionnaires and generate management reports. The managers who are monitoring productivity and costs are trained to believe if the reports don’t show it’s done then it isn’t done. With only erroneous reports to rely on, headquarters and regional offices are using a take no prisoners do whatever it takes attitude to pressure temporary employees to complete the task. PBOCS also moves assignment areas fooling LCO managers and field staff into thinking they have more or less work than they have. And ultimately this may have long term geography problems when the Census is completed and used for congressional redistricting.
Since PBOCS doesn’t work correctly and fails to handle the workload, The Census Bureau runs on a more is better attitude. The solution is hire more employees for manually counting and reviewing enumerator questionnaires when they should have slowed enumerator production. Local Census offices have gone from a simple 9am-5:30pm operation to running three shifts 24 hours a day seven days a week with triple to quadruple what their staffing authorizations originally allowed. This compounded the bottleneck, increased the backlog of questionnaires waiting to be checked in and slowed the re -interview and quality assurance phase. There is overwhelming suspicion of data falsification and false proxies but by the time this is figured out the operation will end and the enumerators already released for lack of work.
Now what was originally touted as the most accurate decennial count ever has quickly turned into a race to meet production goals and wrap up the operation as quickly as possible with procedural changes. We have enumerators, telephone clerks in the LCO, and enumerators from other LCOs taking interviews ignoring the fact that PBOCS will only let you check it in under an enumerator and that if data falsification is happening it will be difficult to find the culprit. What were originally any six personal and telephone visits is now three visits go to a proxy. What used to be try to get the household member because he knows his own name, sex, age, DOB, Hispanic origin and race and whether he rents or owns has become going to a proxy on a first visit and sometimes writing don’t know on most if not all of those questions. Sadly this actually passes the office review portion and nothing in the enumerator procedures disallows that. If a respondent refuses and a proxy is able to give any of the information no matter how knowledgeable he/she is that doesn’t constitute marking it as a refusal, skewing the accuracy of the data.
The incentives of career census employees at RCC and headquarters are in contradiction with each enumerator who wants our city to be accurately counted. The career census employees’ evaluation of performance is purely based on numbers how many cases are completed with little regard to the demography or difficulty of enumerating the population. Their expectation is that the enumeration of traditionally undercounted minorities of Bedford Stuyvesant be just as quick as the white, upper middle class of Upper West Side of Manhattan. The very same agency whose motto has always been the leading source of data about the nation’s people and economy has become a competition between area managers and local census offices.
The leadership in the local census offices isn’t the strongest either. Those who made hiring decisions in New York RCC had every chance to hire the best managers but instead resorted to nepotism to make decisions. When it was clear these decisions were poor the career census employees terminated LCO managers’ employment to cover it up. But then found another disappointing replacement. In an attempt to bring operations up to speed the Census Bureau flew in managers from Denver into Manhattan and headquarters to Staten Island.
The goal is for enumerators to get as many cases in and clerks process work as quickly as possible doing whatever it takes to get the job done, otherwise there will be a formal written reprimand and termination of their employment. It is the chest beating, gorilla apelike attitude of the managers that will ultimately be the demise of New York City.
Lester Farthing, the Regional Director and his managers of the New York Regional Census Center have no intention of an accurate count in the five boroughs. Instead their goal is to appease headquarters, finish as quickly as possible so that the career census employees will be viewed as productive team players who are not questioning the possible inaccuracy of this count. As one of our area managers will say “it’s a hot mess.” I only hope the mayor of our great city Michael Bloomberg, city census coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch, politicians and congressmen are reading this letter and will intervene because ultimately it is the city that will suffer for the next ten years. They were quick to make public announcements touting the importance of participating in the census by returning the forms. But have yet to do anything to persuade non cooperative households and real estate management companies to allow enumerators in to complete their job. The sad reality is that it may be too little too late.
With the way the census works can any of us ever trust census data again?
Yesterday, MyTwoCensus.com reported that 2010 Census workers from Colorado have arrived in New York to assist with operations. Each of these employees is put up at a hotel and paid a per diem rate. (I’ve heard that Hilton Hotels are being used for this purpose — which isn’t surprising since Census Bureau officials are known to stay at Ritz Carleton Hotels while on government business).
Michael C. Cook of the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office wrote to me yesterday, “When we assess that a particular office is either not following procedures or has weak management we often make staffing changes, or even send in experienced managers to help improve operations and re-train the temporary staff.” So the Census Bureau is saying that nobody in New York, a city of 8 million people, is capable of handling these procedures? (Two sources have confirmed to me that one manager clerk from Washington DC is even being put up in New York’s Battery Park in a $4,500 per month apartment on your dime.)
The federal government outlines hotel and per diem rates for New York quite clearly. This means that in addition to their salaries as Census Bureau employees, each individual is spending up to $411 per day, not including flights or other expenditures, merely to eat and sleep in New York. This isn’t the first time this has occurred. During the address canvassing stage of 2010 Census operations, the Census Bureau sent in workers from North Carolina to assist with efforts in New York. Such wasteful incidents have also occurred with workers from Georgia being sent to Florida and workers from Texas being sent to Louisiana. With unemployment hovering around 10% and the Census Bureau’s admission that it had four times as many applicants as it did positions open, can this type of spending on transportation, hotels, and per diems be justified? Absolutely not.
In the past week, many New York City Census Bureau employees have been terminated. MyTwoCensus.com has received substantial evidence from two individuals who have alerted us that since the Denver, Colorado region was ahead of schedule, they have since flown workers to New York, put them at hotels, paid them per diems, and provided meals for them. Yes, you are reading this correctly. A city of 8 million people does not have enough competence to complete a task, so the Census Bureau has recruited folks from Denver to help them get the job done. If this isn’t inefficiency, what is? More details coming ASAP.
Note: If you know more about this, please get in touch with me or leave a note in the comments section with details. Thanks!