During the last two censuses, the Census Bureau missed counting millions of people — mostly minorities and low-income people. Undercounting certain populations may reduce federal funding for hospitals, education, child care, and disaster preparation — as well as fair representation in Congress. To address these concerns in the 2010 Census, The Leadership Conference Education Fund partnered with four national civil rights organizations to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations in 13 key areas around the country.
During the non-response follow-up period (May – July 2010), Census workers visit all addresses that did not mail back a census questionnaire and collect information at the door. During peak operations, 600,000 census takers will go door to door to follow up with households that have not responded to the mailing. The Census Bureau estimates that more than a third of addresses will not mail back a form. More information is available here.
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October 20, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, with civil rights leaders speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Civil rights groups are urging the Senate to reject an amendment to the Commerce Justice and Science Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill that would ruin the Census Bureau's ability to conduct an accurate census next year.
The amendment by Sens. David Vitter, R. La., and Robert Bennett, R. Utah, would require the Census Bureau to add a citizenship and immigration status question to 2010 census forms. The question would inflame concerns within both native-born and immigrant communities about the confidentiality and privacy of information provided to the government and deter many people from filling out their census form.
In addition, with the 2010 census scheduled to take place in less than six months on April 1, the bureau has already finalized and printed most of the materials. The amendment would require the bureau to redo the materials, wasting more than $7 billion and 10 years of research, planning, and preparation.
"[The Vitter amendment] contradicts what America stands for – the idea that all people are created equal. The 14th Amendment clearly requires a count of every resident for apportionment of U.S. House seats, yet the Vitter amendment echoes a shameful period when the census counted most African Americans as three-fifths of a person. The ideals that our country was founded on, and the sacrifice and struggle of generations of Americans to realize them, deserve better than this," Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said.
The Senate could vote on the amendment later this week.
October 15, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative investigating the 2010 census preparations of 11 major U.S. cities and found that six of these cities – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh - have less money and fewer staffers for census outreach than they did in 2000.
The 66 percent national mail response rate for the 2000 census reversed a three-decade decline in public cooperation, an achievement believed to be due in large part to community-focused outreach and education activities in which state and local governments played a significant role. But the recession has hit many communities hard and state and local budgets are tight.
An inaccurate count can skew the allocation of vital program funds and political representation for the next decade. The stakes are particularly high in many of the cities that Pew studied because they have high numbers of hard-to-count populations, including low-income renters, immigrants and minorities.
Recognizing the importance of an accurate 2010 census and the limited funds of many cities, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the National Congress of American Indians have launched the national "Make Yourself Count" campaign to educate Americans about the importance of an accurate count. In addition, the campaign is working with local organizations and activists to increase census participation in 13 of the hardest-to-count cities, which includes seven of the cities Pew studied.
October 2, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Yesterday, a coalition of prominent Latino organizations and national Spanish-language media outlets kicked-off their campaign, "ya es hora HAGASE CONTAR!" (It's Time, Make Yourself Count!), to motivate U.S. Latinos to participate in the 2010 Census. The census will take place in six months.
In this video, Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Arturo Vargas, executive director of the NALEO Educational Fund, explain why an accurate count of Latinos is important to Latino communities.
August 24, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Today, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund released a report entitled, “Counting in the Wake of a Catastrophe.” The report, released on the eve of the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, outlines a set of recommendations for achieving a fair and accurate count for the 2010 Census on the Gulf Coast.
The census determines the allocation of hundreds of millions of federal dollars, which go to fund public infrastructures such as transportation, roads, hospitals, and schools. An undercount of the Gulf Coast population would cost the region millions of dollars, and would be detrimental to towns that are already struggling financially post-Katrina.
This video, featuring residents of Mississippi and Louisiana, explains why an accurate count in the 2010 Census is crucial for Katrina-impacted areas.
July 31, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
On August 2, 1790, U.S. judicial marshals and their assistants began the first United States census, eventually tallying the entire population of the United States at 3.9 million, less than 13 percent of the current U.S. population.
The first census was scheduled to take only nine months and was executed by 17 judicial marshals assisted by only 650 field workers. The entire survey cost only $44,377 (more than $3.4 billion in today's dollars) and results were submitted directly to President George Washington for immediate publication.
While the only information required by the Constitution was the overall number of persons, the first census asked for the name of the head of the household and the number of people in the household. People were placed in one of five categories:
- free White males age 16 and over;
- free White males under age 16;
- free White females;
- other free persons; and
July 14, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Robert Groves to head the Census Bureau.
Groves will manage the 2010 Census, which will take place in April 2010. The bureau is currently verifying addresses and, in the fall, will open the remaining local offices and recruit census takers.
"In confirming Dr. Robert Groves to head the Census Bureau, the nation will get a leader who is a widely respected survey methodologist and a leading authority on the issue of non-response in surveys," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR. "With the census less than a year away, Dr. Groves will undoubtedly face some serious challenges, but we believe his training and experience have prepared him for this important job."
July 2, 2009 - Posted by Cathy Montoya
At a time when local and state governments, faced with budget shortfalls, are eliminating many important social programs, San Francisco is actually committing vital funds to making sure every one of its citizens is counted in the 2010 census.
Through the advocacy efforts of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a San-Francisco-based advocacy organization, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution to make the 2010 Census a policy priority. The resolution states that the city "will do everything within its powers to ensure an Accurate, Fair and Inclusive Count of All San Francisco Residents in the 2010 Census and to secure all federal dollars available to the City."
The mayor and city supervisors have included $300,000 in the city budget to support census outreach activities, which may include some outreach into hard-to-count minority communities. CAA is advocating for an additional $700,000 to provide support for community-based organizations that are reaching out to these communities.
April 14, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
In an effort to better track its own demographic shifts and combat racial discrimination, France will consider conducting a national census that will account for race and ethnicity for the first time.
In France, unlike the U.S. and the U.K., it is illegal for the government to classify people by race, ethnicity, and religion, though it does make distinctions among native and foreign-born French citizens and noncitizen foreigners.
Yazid Sabeg, a close advisor to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, is leading an effort to change that policy. Sabeg recently told the BBC that data collection on minorities in France is "essential to measure how effective are official policies combating discrimination."
April 2, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
President Obama is expected to nominate Dr. Robert M. Groves, a former Census Bureau associate director of statistical design, to be the director of the Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau is the federal agency that gathers demographic and economic data about the United States and manages the census, which is conducted every 10 years. The nomination comes as the bureau is in the final stages of preparing for the 2010 Census.
Census data is used to determine voting representation in the House of Representatives and the distribution of federal funding for services like education, housing, and transportation.
Groves is currently the director of the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center. He must be confirmed by the Senate before assuming the post.
April 1, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO, speaking at an April 1 National Press Club event announcing the "ya es hora HAGASE CONTAR!" campaign
This morning, a coalition of prominent Latino organizations and national Spanish-language media outlets announced their campaign, "ya es hora HAGASE CONTAR!" (It's Time, Make Yourself Count!), to motivate U.S. Latinos to participate in the 2010 Census.
During the last two censuses, the Census Bureau missed counting millions of people – mostly minorities and low-income people. Latinos, who are the largest minority group in the nation, were missed at a higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups.
"A census that fails to accurately count all Latinos is a failed census," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO). "As a community we need to understand that full participation in American life requires standing up and being counted."
One year from today, the Census Bureau will begin mailing census forms to every household in the country. Newly confirmed Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke noted that the Obama administration has not nominated a candidate for Census Bureau director yet but said that "the census is the priority issue for the Commerce Department."