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 ‘USA Today’

To 2020 and beyond…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

In my humble opinion, I think it is utter nonsense when journalists, other than those of the tech variety,  are already publishing pieces about the 2020 Census in their reportage. Their are so many stories about the 2010 Census that lack coverage. The implementation of technology for 2020 likely won’t even get to the drawing board stage for another 5 years as tech development is so rapid that we won’t know what is available yet.  Nonetheless, here’s some news on this topic from USA Today. Journalists are already trying to create a stir by focusing on issues like how to use the Internet in 2020 and the potential use of the controversial art of statistical sampling…

USA Today: Census software plagued by defects

Saturday, February 20th, 2010
Census Director Robert Groves is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next week.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Carolyn Kaster, AP
Census Director Robert Groves is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next week.

A key software system for the 2010 Census is behind schedule and full of defects, and it will have to be scaled back to ensure an accurate count of the U.S. population, according to a government watchdog report.Even as Census takers have begun the decennial head count in Alaska and other remote areas, the system is still not ready to handle the paperwork and payroll data for what eventually will be a half-million Census takers.

The software to schedule, deploy and pay Census takers is at risk, according to the report released this week by the inspector general for the Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau. If changes are not made, the Census risks ballooning costs, delays and inaccuracies.

The Census Bureau must deliver a complete count of the nation’s population to President Obama by Dec. 31. The counts are used to allocate each state’s seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years and more than $400 billion a year in federal aid.

Census forms will be mailed to more than 130 million households next month. One-third are not expected to send them back. Census workers will have to visit all of those addresses to collect demographic information.

The Census got a late start designing a paper-processing system because it initially had planned to equip workers with handheld computers to record data from households that don’t mail back questionnaires.

Those devices were scrapped in 2008 because of technical problems, forcing the bureau to fall back on a paper-based system for door-to-door follow-up visits, the Census’ most expensive phase. So far, the Census Bureau has budgeted $2.74 billion for this phase of the operation and $411 million more in case costs rise.

“This is a risky endeavor,” Census Director Robert Groves says. “We know it. We’re watching it very carefully. We’re trying to manage it.”

Because time is running out, the Census Bureau must work around the system’s shortcomings, according to the inspector general. That could mean printing more administrative forms and speeding up worker training.

The glitches continue despite staff “working two shifts per day, extended hours, weekends and holidays,” the report says.

The audit found that the software had 80 critical defects on Jan. 12, up from 26 a month earlier. Both testing and development were about three weeks behind schedule at that point.

“We now are facing trade-off decisions,” says Groves, who is scheduled to testify before Senate and House committees next week.

USA Today: Glitches Hamper 2010 Count

Friday, February 5th, 2010

We’re really wondering who at the Census Bureau is responsible for the below problems…because he or she should be fired immediately…MyTwoCensus.com will soon be investigating who was responsible for this language foible….see the following report from USA Today:

By Haya El Nasser

The words dieu tra jumped out at Quyen Vuong as she perused the 2010 Vietnamese-language Census form online.

“It’s a very scary connotation in the sense that there is a crime and the government needs to investigate,” says Vuong, a member of two Census outreach committees in California‘s Santa Clara County and executive director of the International Children Assistance Network.

The words the Census Bureau used to refer to its upcoming population count evoke chilling memories for Vietnamese immigrants who escaped a Communist regime. Vuong alerted the Census Bureau, and Director Robert Groves told her that online Census materials were being changed and would use the more neutral thong ke (tally) to refer to the count. It’s too late, however, to edit preprinted forms.

Vuong says the government should launch a media campaign to acknowledge the mistake and apologize.

Despite an unprecedented $340 million promotion that includes $130 million for ads in 28 languages (including Tagalog, Yiddish, Khmer, and Urdu), user guides in 59 languages and the Census questionnaire itself in six — English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese — glitches and gripes surround the Census effort:

• The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund last week reported widespread problems in Asian communities, from mistranslations to insufficient staffing in local Census offices.

“We don’t want to be too critical, but no one had a chance to preview the language guides, the advertising campaign,” says Glenn Magpantay, director of the Democracy Program at AALDEF. Concerns over privacy and confidentiality continue, he says.

• The National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents about 200 black community newspapers, is angry that the Census Bureau is spending only $2.5 million on ads in black media.

“We think they’re about $10 million short,” says Danny Bakewell, chairman of the group. “They’re setting it up for us to have the greatest undercount in the history of America. If this happens, it will devastate our community for the next 10 years at least.”

The number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives is based on Census counts every 10 years. The tally also helps to redraw political districts and determine the allocation of more than $400 billion a year in federal money to states and cities.

• Korean-American groups want to see more Census spending in their community. “We heard that there was so much money out there for Census outreach, but I don’t see a dollar,” says Young Sun Song, a community organizer for the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center in Chicago.

• In Texas, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund complains that the state has not formed a complete-count committee to encourage response to the 2010 Census forms that will land in mailboxes next month.

Senators try to exclude illegal immigrants from 2010 Census

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana is not a fan of the 2010 Census. MyTwoCensus does not support the proposed amendment that is discussed below. H/t to Haya El Nasser of USA Today for the following story:

A controversial amendment that would require the Census Bureau to ask for the first time whether people are in the USA illegally is headed for a Senate vote Wednesday.

Proposed last week by Republican Sens.David Vitter of Louisiana and Bob Bennett ofUtah, the amendment would exclude illegal immigrants from the population count used to allocate congressional seats after the 2010 Census. It also would require the Census to ask people whether they are citizens.

“Illegal aliens should not be included for the purposes of determining representation in Congress, and that’s the bottom line here,” Vitter says. If enacted, the amendment to an appropriations bill would stop funding of the 2010 Census unless the changes are made.

The amendment comes less than six months before 2010 Census questionnaires are mailed to 135 million households. About 425 million forms have already been printed, according to the bureau. Some are in different languages; others are duplicates that will go to houses that do not respond to the first mailing.

USA TODAY: Hispanic groups call for Census boycott

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

USA Today scooped MyTwoCensus by revealing that some Hispanic groups are urging people to boycott the 2010 Census. This could spell trouble for the decennial headcount, as Hispanics, typically some of America’s most devout and religious people, are being told by members of the clergy to avoid participating in the census until immigration reform laws are passed. Here’s the story:

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, a group that says it represents 20,000 evangelical churches in 34 states, issued a statement this week urging undocumented immigrants not to fill out Census forms unless Congress passes “genuine immigration reform.”

Similar grass-roots campaigns are unfolding in Arizona and New Mexico to protest state and local crackdowns on illegal immigrants. Asking immigrants to be counted without giving them a chance to become legal residents counters church teachings, says the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the Latino religious coalition.

When the Census counts growing numbers of Hispanics, the counts are often used to support crackdowns on illegal immigrants, he says. About 38% of the churches’ 3.4 million members are undocumented, he says. The Census Bureau does not ask people if they are here illegally.