A month ago, MyTwoCensus posted a picture of hundreds of boxes of materials that were being recycled. Although no one will argue that recycling is good for the environment, the truth is none of this should of been printed in the first place. The Census Bureau estimate of the census forms they needed were off completely wrong and here’s why:The company contracted to print the enumerator questionnaires (D1-E) printed over 200 million questionnaires. However the NRFU workload was only estimated to be 47 million households. Critics could argue that the NRFU workload was unknown before the printing contract was awarded however the American Community Survey estimate of 2008 only showed 128 million households in the United States. If America had a zero percent response rate they would still require only 128 million questionnaires, not the 200 million that was printed. There were 15 million enumerator supplemental questionnaires (D-1E SUPP) printed which field staff used when there were six or more household members. Information on how many households have six or more people was unavailable however only 23.4% of American households have 4 or more members. Any statistician can say with confidence that households with six or more members is negligible.The errors in estimate cascaded to other printed materials such as information sheets and notice of visits also being overprinted. For example even though census procedures specifically allowed only three personal visits; in some regions to increase accuracy and avoid going to a proxy some enumerators made more than three visits. However Stephen Morse’s picture clearly shows there are still hundreds of boxes of these forms unused. Another example were the forms for eligibility employment verification (I-9) forms. The contract for the I-9 forms was 20 million, yet the census only ended up hiring about 600,000 employees across the nation and estimates show only a couple of million applicants.None of this news should be surprising, Census models are completely inadequate. In 2009 during address canvassing they threw away millions of taxpayers’ dollars on training employees for which there was little or no work available. Each office returned palettes and palettes of office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper clips and rubber bands. The companies contracted to provide these were the ones who received the money.If Census managers are infuriated over this picture perhaps they should be funneling their energy towards ensuring that their money is spent on technology that actually works and the proper amount of printing. Surely printing 200 million questionnaires for just 48 million households assuming assignment prep error is a little overkill.
Posts Tagged ‘printing’
UPDATE: I have word that the New York regional office is up in arms over this photo. Please note that I received it from a college friend who does NOT work for the Census Bureau. I don’t want anyone to be falsely accused/needlessly fired over something that they didn’t do…
423 West 127 Street, New York, New York
Multiply this by the 494 local census offices around the country…and know that this happens on a daily/weekly basis.
Last week, I planned to publish this piece, but the data from a New York area census office didn’t come in until yesterday…Check it out:
Here’s the hard evidence:
It seems like the Census didn’t know April 22nd was Earth Day. In honor of it the printers ran non stop from morning to midnight in 494 offices across the nation printing out all the address listing pages and assignment preparation for Non Response Followup.
Cost to print NRFU Address Listing Pages of every housing unit in the United States single sided and then ship it to the National Processing Center Fed Ex Priority Overnight
Cost to print out hundreds upon thousands of maps single sided only to not even be looked at
Cost to print all the training materials on high quality printer quality paper
Cost to print all the glossy recruiting brochures, partnership posters only for them to be unopened and thrown out by the palette like this everyday (see pictures below)
– Some food for thought. These boxes are filled with 500 brochures a piece and has been happening everyday for months and in all 494 offices everyday –
Cost to print all the Be Counted Questionnaires which were all taken back from the Be Counted and Questionnaire Assistance Centers to be thrown away even though New York City wanted to extend the program by 30 days and some to count the estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants.(see attached disposal list)
Cost to print all the GQV Questionnaires which we still have two palettes left. (see attached disposal list) And that is just one of the forms on the attached list to throw out…Here we go:
Photos of materials on their way to be destroyed/recycled:
We didn’t cover Earth Day (which was earlier this week) on this site, so here’s our belated Census Bureau Earth Day tribute…The Census Bureau is now printing the address listing pages and other assignment-related materials for the massive non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations. It seems like the Census didn’t care because all the printers ran non stop 24 hours to print out many documents (details of which are coming soon)…
*Apologies for an earlier version of this post that only semi-listed the materials printed. We will hopefully have a complete list by Monday…
MyTwoCensus.com wonders what other college towns that are dependent on students are also lacking forms…See this report from Indiana:
Indiana State students among those awaiting census forms
Spring semester ends in three weeks
Sue Loughlin The Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University students will complete spring semester in three weeks, yet residence hall students still have not been counted in the 2010 census.
The U.S. Census Bureau has taken longer than expected to provide the census forms to the university, said Tara Singer, ISU’s assistant vice president for communications and marketing. “I believe there was just an underestimation of forms needed” for the community’s college students, she said.
A similar problem has occurred at Indiana University.
ISU has 2,999 students living in 10 residence halls and 382 students living in University Apartments, she said.
Those students will be counted as Terre Haute residents.
While there’s been a delay, Singer expects the university will receive those forms very soon. “Yes, we think we’ll get them [students] all counted on time” before they leave at the end of the semester, she said.
She does expect to have the forms by next week, when ISU will conduct floor meetings in residence halls to distribute the forms and ask students to complete them at that time.
ISU does have a representative on the Terre Haute Complete Count Committee. “We want to have our students counted because they spend approximately 10 months a year here in Terre Haute,” she said.
ISU has taken an active role in trying to make students aware of the importance of the census through posters, electronic communication and student organizations, she said.
ISU has not caused the delay, Singer said. “We’ve been ready.”
Terre Haute public affairs director Darrel Zeck, who leads the Complete Count Committee, said he recently learned about the insufficient number of census forms to count the college students.
Zeck said he was relieved to learn Thursday that ISU will get the forms soon.
Meanwhile, Rose-Hulman does have its census forms for students and distribution to fraternity presidents was to begin Thursday night, said Tom Miller, Rose-Hulman dean of student affairs. Rose-Hulman has 1,100 students living on campus.
The forms also will be distributed to students in residence halls, Miller said. “Everything is in order.”
Having ISU and Rose-Hulman students counted is critical for Terre Haute in its ability to qualify for various types of federal funding, Zeck said. While he’s relieved, he believes it’s “unacceptable” there was a shortage of forms to begin with.
Cindy Reynolds, an assistant regional census manager in Chicago, said that it was her understanding a staff member had contacted ISU and “any problem has been resolved.”
While initially there were not enough forms, there should be enough now, Reynolds said.
Despite the threat of service cutbacks and job losses at the US Postal Service that were announced in recent days, the mailing of approximately 100 million “advance letters” appears to have gone off with only a few minor glitches. (See previous post about city names and zip codes being inaccurate in St. Louis!) Yes, this whole mass mailing concept should seem like a fairly simple process, but after the major printing debacle that occurred in 2000 (that could have been fatal to the advance letter process), we taking nothing for granted. Despite some small levels of populist discontent about the Census Bureau “wasting money,” the lack of discussion about the advance letter should be treated as a good thing, in that people are now generally aware that their 2010 Census form will arrive in the mail in one week. Let’s just hope that next week’s mailing, which is clearly the most important one in terms of obtaining data (and saving taxpayers money in the long run) is also a process marked by accuracy and efficiency.
The following is a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2009
Jack Martin/Shelly Lowe CB09-CN.17
Public Information Office
301-763-3691 2010 Census Web
e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org> 2010 Census sample
Printing of 2010 Census Questionnaires Under Way
New 10-Question Survey Among Shortest Since First Census in 1790
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun printing 2010 Census questionnaires as
the agency continues preparations for next year’s count of the U.S.
population. The new questionnaire, which every residential address will
receive, is designed to be one of the shortest since the first census in
1790, asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete.
“Our goal is to count everyone living in the United States once, only
once, and in the right place,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M.
Groves. “Making that happen begins with the 2010 Census questionnaire, a
powerful tool that provides critical data that will guide representation in
Congress and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to
state, local and tribal governments every year.”
Beginning in mid-March 2010, more than 120 million questionnaires will
be delivered to U.S. residential addresses. To meet the goal, the Census
Bureau will print more than 1.5 million documents every day.
For the first time, more than 13 million questionnaires will be
bilingual (English – Spanish). The move is based on tests showing that
targeting the bilingual questionnaires toward areas with high
concentrations of Spanish-only speakers will improve response rates.
Questionnaires are also available on request in Spanish, Chinese
(simplified), Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. Language guides, which
provide instructions on how to complete the questionnaire, are available in
nearly 60 languages.
“The Census Bureau has gone to great lengths to make the printing
process as efficient and eco-friendly as possible,” Groves said. “The
printing of 2010 Census questionnaires uses
30 percent less ink than 10 years ago and will be printed on 30 percent
Another critical factor in the success of the census is the quality of
the address list used for delivering the questionnaires next March. This
spring, Census Bureau workers walked every street in the nation to match
actual residential addresses on the ground with those provided in lists
from the U.S. Postal Service and local governments.
The 140,000 workers who verified addresses operated out of 151 local
census offices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In the fall, an additional 344
local census offices will open.
The Census Bureau will hire approximately 1.4 million people to conduct
the 2010 Census, including following up with households that do not return
“The 2010 Census is easy, important and safe,” Groves said. “The Census
Bureau is ready to undertake this massive domestic operation and looks
forward to everyone’s participation in the national count.”