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 ‘South Carolina’

WSJ: Census makes Obama’s re-election more difficult

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal detailing why 2010 Census results may make re-election more difficult for President Obama:

President George W. Bush would not have won the 2000 election had the 1960 map been in use. But the population movement that occurred over 40 years shifted enough electoral votes from states Democrat Al Gore won to states that Mr. Bush won to make the difference. And for that matter, President John F. Kennedy would not have won the White House had the 2000 Electoral College numbers been in place in 1960.

The best guess – and it is more than a guess since reasonably accurate population projections for the states are no secret – is that the following states are likely to gain one seat in Congress and one electoral vote: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Texas will gain at least two and probably three. One other state is likely to gain a seat, but it is not clear at this point which one it will be.

Five of those states, including Texas, went for Republican John McCain in 2008, but all except Washington backed Mr. Bush in the close 2000 and 2004 elections – an indication that if 2012 is as close as it was in those two years, this year’s census could give the GOP nine of the 10 votes.

Census Bureau waste found…on Twitter

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Back in December, Emily Babay added a “Twitter Feed” to the MyTwoCensus homepage. This tool has proved all too valuable in finding out intricate details of Census Bureau problems. If you want to see why/how your tax dollars are wasted, look at the below Tweet for why. Great job payroll system! (FYI the term #lml stands for “love my life.”)

Can someone send me a “Partnership Specialist” handbook?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

I would really love to know if the Census Bureau tells its “partnership specialists” to proclaim every 2010 Census an event a success, even if it is actually a colossal failure. From reading recent articles about poor turnouts at Census Bureau events that are called “successes” by staff members, this seems like a probably strategy. I hope that there’s a reader out there who can clarify this information for me. Many thanks in advance. – SRM

Which states need to improve their Census response rates?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Census forms won’t reach homes until March, but the Census Bureau is already publicizing a three-stage advertising campaign aimed, in part, at encouraging people to fill out their forms and cooperate with Census workers.

So, in which states should the Census Bureau concentrate its efforts?

A look at the response rates from the 2000 and 1990 censuses show that, in general, the same states had low numbers in both years.

Alaska had the lowest response rate in both 2000 (56 percent) and 1999 (52 percent). South Carolina had the next-worse response rate in both years, with 58 percent in 2000 and 56 percent in 1990. (Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, had a response rate of just 53-percent in 2000).

At the other end, Iowa had the best response rate in 2000 with 76 percent, followed by Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin at 75 percent. In 1990, Wisconsin topped the list with a 77-percent response rate. Iowa and Minnesota tied for second-best at 76 percent.

The national response rate was 67 percent in 2000 and 65 in 1990. The Census Bureau is predicting a drop in the response rate, to 64 percent, for the 2010 Census.

More areas with low response rates include Washington, D.C. (60 percent in 2000, 56 percent in 1990), Louisiana (60 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990), Hawaii (60 percent in 2000, 62 percent in 1990), Vermont (60 percent in 2000, 64 percent in 1990) and Maine (61 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990).

Other states with high response rates were South Dakota (74 percent in both years), Virginia (72 percent in 2000, 70 percent in 1990), North Dakota (72 percent both years) and Ohio (72 percent in 2000, 75 percent in 1990).

This county-by-county map shows a more detailed breakdown of response rates from the 2000 Census.

Some states are already striving to improve their performance from the last count. The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., reported that the state will have heavier marketing and outreach efforts in the 10 or 12 counties that had the lowest response rates in 2000.

“Some people just don’t understand the importance of the census,” Michael Sponhour, spokesman for the State Budget and Control Board, told the paper.

Breaking News from South Carolina: GOP uses “fake” census for fundraising scheme

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

We hoped that the GOP learned a thing or two after their robocalls backfired prior to the 2008 presidential election, but apparently no such lesson has been learned as they’re up to such shenanigans again in Pennsylvania. Taking the deception one step further, the GOP recently started mailing “fake” census forms to people in South Carolina to raise money for the party. Our calls to national GOP leaders and South Carolina GOP officials have not yet been returned since it is after business hours. We hope to quickly determine how widespread these mailings are and to whom they have been sent (only  to registered party members or to the general public). The Anderson, South Carolina Independent Mail broke this most shocking story:

3rd District ‘Census’ form is actually GOP fundraiser

A fundraising letter sent by the Republic Party National Committee that appears to be an official U.S. Census form for the state’s 3rd Congressional District is not endorsed by U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, a spokesman said.

The letter, and accompanying “census” form, also seeks donations for “strengthening our Party for the 2009-2010 elections.”

Emily Tyne, a spokesman for the congressman in Washington, D.C., referred questions to Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign spokesman.

“He wouldn’t have anything to do with that,” said Jim Dyke, a spokesman for the Barrett campaign.

“He would hope there wouldn’t be any confusion about this Republican Party fundraiser and the actual census,” Dyke said. “The census obviously is of great importance.”

The GOP “census” includes questions on a range of issues and appears to be an official document. On the envelope is the wording “Do Not Destroy Official Document.”

The form inside includes the words “2009 Congressional District Census,” “Census Tracking Code,” and “Census Document Registered To:” and is similar to an official census questionnaire.

Each section contains questions, and Section V, under “Census Certification and Reply,” asks for donations from $25 to $500 or “other.”

At the end of the document are the words “Paid for by the Republican National Committee.”

Dyke said Barrett “didn’t have any control over it.”

B.J. Welborn, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said official census documents have a phone number for recipients to call to verify the mailing or ask questions. Census workers usually go door to door and have a badge and a hand-held computer, she said, but the agency does mail some questionnaires.

“What we send out is very clearly identifiable,” Welborn said.

“I couldn’t really comment on the GOP (letter),” she said. “We just want to make sure what is from us. If it is a mail survey, it is pretty easy to identify that it is from the U.S. government.”

People with questions can go to www.census.gov, she said. Two census offices opened in South Carolina in 2008 to supervise the current address canvassing operation, according to a statement. The phone numbers are (843) 323-4000 in Charleston and (803) 239-5012 in Columbia. Six more local census offices will open in the state to support 2010 census operations.

A U.S. Postal Service inspector did not respond by press time. An Anderson County Republican Party official did not return a phone message.


Note: MyTwoCensus is hoping to obtain an original copy/scan of the documents and envelopes discussed above. Please send any information/tips to MyTwoCensus @ MyTwoCensus.com.

Update: South Carolina Hiring Process

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Earlier this week, we reported that Calhoun County, South Carolina officials complained that the U.S. Census Bureau hadn’t hired any local residents for the decennial headcount. As we found out later that day, these officials were wrong! Here’s the follow-up from the Times and Democrat:

ST. MATTHEWS — Calhoun County officials were wrong when they complained the U.S. Census has hired no county residents, according to census officials.

They say they’ve hired more than a dozen county workers to compile addresses in preparation for the 2010 census. Earlier this week, Calhoun County officials complained about the lack of local hires.

“We indeed have hired 16 people from Calhoun County to work in Calhoun County in our address listing operation,” Charlotte Regional Census Center Media Relations Manager B.J. Welborn said. “We hired, tested and trained them there. We are out there knocking on doors.”

Welborn said about 79 people applied and took a basic skills test to qualify for the address listing operation. About 16 were hired and two additional applicants are being trained.

Welborn said the employees were trained at the Calhoun County Courthouse Annex building and the St. Matthews Department of Social Services office. Applicants were tested at the Calhoun County Council Chambers at the courthouse.

The 16 were selected based on their test scores and access to a working vehicle.

The Columbia Census office was responsible for the testing, hiring, training and supervision of census employees in the county.

Updated Post: Census Bureau fails to hire residents of Calhoun County, South Carolina

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

UPDATED POST:

Stacy Gimble, a Public Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau, provided an update to our original story:

In following up with our Charlotte Regional office, we have confirmed that
the Census Bureau has actually hired 16 people from Calhoun County to work
in Calhoun County in our address listing operation.

Two additional applicants are being trained as possible replacements in
Calhoun County.  This is a standard procedure in case anyone currently on
the job cannot fulfill his/her duties for any reason.  This brings the
total number of census workers hired in Calhoun County to 18.

Also, the Times and Democrat has agreed to run another story tomorrow,
correcting this information.

Original Post:

Today, the South Carolina Times and Democrat reported that none of Calhoun County’s 15,000+ residents were selected to work for the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2010 Census, even though 140,000 Americans have already taken to the streets to start the Bureau’s initial address verification process. This is an interesting development, because we now have evidence that the Census Bureau has taken their hiring errors to both extremes by failing to hire people from large swaths of land in rural counties while also not hiring qualified people in urban areas who live outside of artificial neighborhood boundaries within municipalities.

Note: We have sent inquiries to four different Census Bureau officials in Washington asking them to explain why Calhoun County’s residents have been neglected from employment. The only justification for not hiring workers from Calhoun County would be if not a single individual passed the Census Bureau’s exams, which, generally are passed by some 40% of applicants.

Here’s the scoop from the Times and Democrat:

ST. MATTHEWS – Complaining of poor communication from the U.S. Census Bureau, Calhoun County officials are particularly peeved that not a single local resident has been hired by the federal agency to help with the 2010 count.

County Administrator Lee Prickett said Monday that, although the county had provided a location for the federal workers to train census taker applicants, “we didn’t see any local people being hired.”

Prickett expressed his concern to Philip LaRoche of Charleston, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, who was on the county council agenda to provide a census update.

LaRoche said the process for hiring census workers is strictly “recruit, test and hire.” Noting that Calhoun County is covered by the Columbia office, he said, “I won’t challenge the test scores for the people” who tested from Calhoun County.

A representative from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce, who was on hand to monitor LaRoche, said her office is the one that looks into complaints and asks the questions that raise awareness. She suggested trying the “very helpful” hot-line link at www.oig.doc.gov.

“I don’t know if there are specific complaints, but people have been inquiring about the process,” Prickett said.

After the session, Prickett noted he didn’t realize no locals had been hired until the training started in space the county had provided. Some local residents did apply and take the test, he said, although no figures were available.

Asked if special skills were required, Prickett said some computer literacy would be necessary, since canvassers carry handheld computers.

Elaine Golden, the county’s 911 coordinator, said the unidentified woman her office contacted about the census “wasn’t very cooperative and was not polite to people who contacted her about positions.” And, there were “confusing stories” given about why local people were not hired, she said.

“I hope we get more cooperation,” said Golden, who also complained the county hasn’t even been notified that address canvassers for the census have already started working in the county. “There’s been a lack of cooperation with the census, so far … When do we meet the supervisor of the address representatives out there now?”

LaRoche, who Golden acknowledged had been trying to help solve the county’s problem, said he’ll contact the Columbia office for field operations, which is different from his Charleston-based partnership and operations office.

“We do want to work with them and help them out,” Golden said.

In the end, as requested by LaRoche, council approved a partnership with the U.S. Census. It’s a “symbolic but important” step to get everyone counted, he said.