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 ‘state’

KansasReporter.org: Spike in Census errors on campus

Friday, June 18th, 2010

The following piece comes from KansasReporter.org, which is a project of the Kansas Policy Institute, and is run by a team of veteran journalists:

By Gene Meyer, June 17, 2010

(KansasReporter) TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Secretary of State’s office has found a big spike in census errors on Kansas campuses that could affect the redrawing of electoral boundaries throughout the state.

Census workers in the secretary of state’s office found significant errors in 30 percent of 25,000 of the more than 100,000 responses they received this spring for a special survey that Kansas conducts each 10 years in connection with the federal decennial census.

By comparison, only 9 percent of the comparable forms turned in 10 years ago were flawed, said Abbie Hodgson, the office’s public affairs director. Many of the latest errors appeared to involve missing information, she said.

State workers need to contact students and resolve the mistakes now to avoid bigger problems as Kansas legislators redraw Congressional, Kansas Legislature and Kansas State Board of Education boundaries during the next two years, said Chris Biggs, Kansas’ secretary of state.

“It’s important that students complete the adjustment form so that they are counted in their hometowns during redistricting,” Biggs said Thursday. “We’re in the process of reaching out…to ensure that we have complete and accurate information.”

Federal census numbers are used to recalculate everything from boundaries for federal and state legislative districts to the equitable distribution of about $400 billion in annual, population-linked spending within each state, said Rich Gerdes, an assistant regional director of the U.S. Census, in Kansas City, Kan.

But exactly how states use those numbers to draw legislative boundaries and divide the money usually is up to state legislatures so long as their members follow broad guidelines regarding equal representation. Kansas and at least seven other states require lawmakers there to make some specific adjustments to federal numbers that most will receive nine or 10 months from now.

In Kansas, a constitutional amendment passed sometime before the 1990 federal census requires that college students and military service members  be counted as residents of their home towns, not the campus or military communities where they might live nine or more months a year.

“That’s different from how we list them on the federal census,” said Gerdes. “We would list them where they live most of the year.”

Legislators use the federal numbers to calculate U.S. Congressional districts and the state-adjusted numbers to determine state legislative and school board districts. And populations can change markedly between the calculations. Heavily populated Johnson County, in northeastern Kansas, gained nearly 2,600 additional residents in 2000, when absent college students were sent home statistically. Less densely populated Riley County, further west, lost more than 13,000 residents when Fort Riley families and Kansas State University students by the same process. (more…)

2010 Census workers can’t report child abuse…

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

NBC Miami shares the following:

The government’s census workers are out and about in South Florida neighborhoods and beyond, going door to door and being invited into homes, but a little-known law is being criticized by local child advocates.

Under the law, census workers can’t say anything about or report sex abuse, child abuse, or any type of abuse of kids they may get a whiff of while visiting a home.

In fact, Federal law not only prohibits them from speaking out, but anyone who does could get a $5,000 fine and five years in jail if they do.

Census Workers Can’t Report Child Abuse

Census Workers Can't Report Child  Abuse

WATCH

Census Workers Can’t Report Child Abuse

In Florida, teachers, doctors, nurses, the clergy, and law enforcement officers must report child abuse when they see it.

Lissette Labrousse, attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, said there’s a reason for the law.

“The Federal law is designed to have people come forward and speak to census workers without fear,” said Labrousse. “Under the law it is required that the census worker keep everything confidential, they cannot release any information to any government agency.”

The census told NBCMiami that it’s very unlikely one of its workers would run across abuse, but if they did the law stops them from reporting it.

But child advocates claim the law hurts their efforts to get the public to come forward anytime children are being abused.

Trudy Novicki, Executive Director at Miami‘s Kristi House, which provides counseling for about 750 abused kids each year, said she called the Census Bureau when she was told of the law.

The Reno Gazette-Journal Fact Checks the Census Bureau…

Monday, April 5th, 2010

A nice piece from Nevada:

Fact checker: Census value rounded up — way up

By Kelly Scott

Last week, a news release from Nevada Census 2010 claimed that “for every resident counted, Nevada stands to receive nearly $10,000 each year of our fair share of federal funding during the next decade.”

Being that Thursday was the once-in-a-decade census day, I decided to see how that number actually breaks down.

Reno Gazette-Journal articles have reported that the state gets “more than $900 a year per person in federal tax dollars” each year for the next decade based on census answers.

Background

The census is used to calculate the numbers for a great deal of federal funding and other things. Among the types of programs based on census results are the Washoe County School District’s free lunch program, transportation funding and money to help senior citizens. Census numbers are used to divvy up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Analysis of the numbers

My first thought was that there was a rounding error in the numbers. Maybe the news release just rounded up?

Well, here’s how it breaks down according to our data guru Mark Robison:

Nevada gets $917 a year per person in federal funds because of census data. That adds up to $9,170 per person over 10 years, not $10,000 over a single year. Robison said he thinks the official state news release we received was likely an honest mistake because other promotional materials have used $10,000 per decade as the amount of additional funding the state stands to receive per person. But that still rounds up $9,170 to $10,000, when customary rounding would normally lower the figure to $9,000.

To find the source of the funds-per-resident claim, Robison dug into a SAGE Commission report sent to Gov. Jim Gibbons last year that urged the state to actually spend money on trying to get people to participate in the census because the state stood to gain more than what it likely would spend.

Here’s an excerpt from the report: “According to the Census Bureau, over $3 trillion in funding is allocated nationwide based on census figures. In 2000, the Legislative Counsel Bureau estimated that the state lost $670 per person per year for every Nevadan missed by the 2000 Census. Recently, the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada State Data Center, and Nevada State Demographer came together to update that figure for 2010. Due to the combined effects of inflation and expanded federal investment returning to Nevada, their collective estimate is that Nevada will now lose $917 per person per year for every Nevadan missed in the 2010 Census.”

For the rest of the article click HERE.

State-by-state breakdown: How was the response rate in your state?

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

The following is a list of the percentages of U.S. households that returned census questionnaires in 2000 by mail or submitted information on another form, over the phone or by Internet (The nation averaged a 67 percent response rate):

- Alabama: 61 percent

- Alaska: 56 percent

- Arizona: 63 percent

- Arkansas: 64 percent

- California: 70 percent

- Colorado: 70 percent

- Connecticut: 70 percent

- Delaware: 63 percent

- District of Columbia: 60 percent

- Florida: 63 percent

- Georgia: 65 percent 

- Hawaii: 60 percent

- Idaho: 67 percent

- Illinois: 69 percent

- Indiana: 69 percent

- Iowa: 76 percent

- Kansas: 71 percent

- Kentucky: 66 percent

- Louisiana: 60 percent

- Maine: 61 percent

- Maryland: 69 percent

- Massachusetts: 69 percent

- Michigan: 71 percent

- Minnesota: 75 percent

- Mississippi: 63 percent

- Missouri: 69 percent

- Montana: 68 percent

- Nebraska: 75 percent

- Nevada: 66 percent

- New Hampshire: 67 percent

- New Jersey: 68 percent

- New Mexico: 62 percent

- New York: 63 percent

- North Carolina: 64 percent

- North Dakota: 72 percent

- Ohio: 72 percent

- Oklahoma: 64 percent

- Oregon: 68 percent

- Pennsylvania: 70 percent

- Rhode Island: 67 percent

- South Carolina: 58 percent

- South Dakota: 74 percent

- Tennessee: 65 percent

- Texas: 64 percent

- Utah: 68 percent

- Vermont 60 percent

- Virginia: 72 percent

- Washington: 66 percent

- West Virginia: 64 percent

- Wisconsin: 75 percent

- Wyoming: 66 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau