Friday, February 19, 2010

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF # 88

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February 18, 2010 No. 88

In this issue
Operational Update: QACs, Be Counted sites, Telephone Assistance ready to launch
The Rest of the News ...
Stakeholder Spotlight
New Resources for Census Advocates

CENSUS BUREAU FINALIZES PLANS FOR ASSISTANCE
CENTERS & PHONE LINES, BE COUNTED SITES,
INITIATIVE HIGHLIGHTING COUNT OF CHILDREN


PLUS:

THE REST OF THE NEWS: Obama tapes PSA, and more



STAKEHOLDER SPOTLIGHT: New websites assist hard-to-count communities

NEW RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES


Editor's note: Earlier this week, the Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General (IG) released its "2010 Census: Quarterly Financial Report to Congress, February 2010" (Report OIG-19791-3). The Associated Press published an article based on "excerpts" of the report from unnamed sources; the IG's office subsequently posted the report on its website. The Inspector General, Todd Zinser, is scheduled to discuss the report's findings at a Senate oversight hearing next week. We will summarize highlights after the hearing, when Census Director Robert Groves will have an opportunity to comment on the IG's concerns and recommendations.


CENSUS BUREAU POISED TO LAUNCH QACs,
TELEPHONE ASSISTANCE, BE COUNTED SITES;
READIES FOR MAIL RESPONSE REPORTS

INITIATIVE ON COUNTING KIDS PLANNED


Telephone lines offering information about the 2010 census in multiple languages and assistance in filling out census forms will go live on February 25. Census workers at eleven call centers nationwide will be available to answer questions and accept census responses until July 30.

The toll-free number for Telephone Questionnaire Assistance will be posted on the 2010 Census website when the call centers open. The number is printed on census forms; a targeted postcard with in-language messages for households whose primary language is Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Vietnamese - which will be sent after census questionnaires are mailed - also will provide the phone number.

The Census Bureau is preparing to open 30,000 Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QACs) and an additional 10,000 Be Counted sites (QACs will also have Be Counted forms) on a rolling basis. The first QACs, in rural areas where questionnaires are delivered by hand (the Update/Leave operation), will open on February 26. Remaining QACs (in Mail-out/Mail-back areas) will open on March 19 and close on April 19; the Census Bureau will announce these sites, in areas that receive census forms through the mail, on a rolling basis starting around March 1. Be Counted sites in all communities, regardless of enumeration method, will be open from March 19 - April 19.

The location and hours of operation for QACs, as well as language assistance offered, and the location of Be Counted sites, will be posted on a Google-powered interactive map on the 2010 census web site.

QACs will be staffed by sworn, trained census workers. Be Counted sites are unstaffed locations where people who did not receive a questionnaire at their place of residence or who believe they were not included on a questionnaire filled out at their home can pick up a form in one of six languages. Respondents using a Be Counted form must provide an address of residence; census workers will verify the existence and location of the housing unit in a subsequent field operation before people listed on a Be Counted form will be added to the census count.

'Response feedback' program readied: The Census Bureau will report "mail participation rates" on a daily basis for states, counties, and incorporated local areas on an interactive 2010 census website map starting March 22, several days after census forms are mailed to most homes. The new calculation will reflect the percent of all households that return a form by mail.

The universe for initial mail response rates in previous censuses included both occupied and vacant (and potentially nonexistent) addresses. The modified measurement will provide "a truer picture of public participation in the Census, especially with the current economic climate and housing market," according to the Bureau's website. The agency will determine participation rates by removing from the calculation all housing units for which the U.S. Postal Service returns a form marked "undeliverable as addressed," a sign that a home is vacant or does not exist. In a late field operation (called Vacant/Delete), census field workers revisit all addresses identified as vacant or nonexistent in earlier census operations, to confirm that they are not occupied housing units.

The Census Bureau has posted participation rates from Census 2000, as a point of comparison, at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/#PRate. The national participation rate in 2000 was 72 percent; the mail response rate, which included vacant and nonexistent addresses in the calculation, was around 65 percent.

Census Bureau to highlight count of children: The Census Bureau is planning to focus attention on the importance of including all children on census forms. The Bureau is teaming up with Nickelodeon and child advocates to promote "Children Count, Too!" activities the week of March 8 - 12; it will announce more details in the coming weeks.

Research shows that a disproportionate number of young children are missed in the census. A December 2009 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?, concluded that the census misses children under the age of five more than any other age group.

The 2000 census missed more than 750,000, or nearly four percent, of children under age five, according to the study. The undercount of minority children in this age group was even higher, with more than five percent of both Black boys and Black girls missed. The report cited the greater likelihood of young children living in large (7+ persons) households, in more mobile families, in rental units, and in non-traditional households, as primary reasons for the disproportionate undercount. Census Bureau research shows that it is more difficult to achieve an accurate count of households with these characteristics.


THE REST OF THE NEWS ...

President encourages census participation: President Barack Obama has taped a Public Service Announcement urging Americans to participate in the 2010 census. According to a Census Bureau statement, the PSA "contin[ues] a White House tradition of strong support for the census dating back to 1790." The press release highlighted, as examples, statements and PSAs by President Eisenhower (1960), President George H.W. Bush (1990), and President Clinton (2000).

President Obama encouraged all households "to take 10 minutes to answer the 10 questions" on the census form and to mail it back. The PSA is posted on the 2010 census website at http://2010.census.gov/mediacenter/index.php. It will be distributed to television and radio stations tomorrow via satellite feed.

RESCHEDULED Senate hearing scheduled on census operational readiness: The Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security (Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs), chaired by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), has rescheduled its hearing on "Countdown to Census Day: Progress Report on the Census Bureau's Preparedness for the Enumeration" for February 23. The subcommittee's examination will highlight final testing of the Operations Control System, which will manage all activities related to Nonresponse Follow-Up and subsequent field operations; last fall's Group Quarters Validation operation; roll-out of the 2010 Census Communications Campaign; and the status of address list updating. The hearing is scheduled for 2:30PM in Room 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Invited witnesses include Dr. Groves, Commerce Inspector General Todd Zinser, and Robert Goldenkoff, Director of Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).


STAKEHOLDER SPOTLIGHT


The Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC), a collaborative effort of leading Black organizations, has set up its We're the Change ... Be Counted census campaign website. The National Urban League and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation launched the Coalition last year. The website features videos, a calendar of events, a toolkit for outreach to Black communities, posters, and other promotional and educational materials. The website's URL is http://unitydiaspora.ning.com/.

The Asian American Justice Center and its partner organizations have launched a new website for their Fill in Our Future campaign. The multi-lingual website, a "clearinghouse" for census materials aimed at Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians, includes information on the ten census questions, confidentiality, the importance of census data for families and communities, and where to get help in filling out the census form, as well as PSAs, videos, and brochures. Materials are available in 25 Asian and Pacific Islander languages. The URL is http://www.fillinourfuture.org/.

Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. has launched its 2010 census campaign website. The Louisiana-based nonprofit was created after Hurricane Katrina and is "dedicated to rebuilding a better Gulf Coast through the vision of its residents." The website features resources to help promote census participation in communities along the Gulf Coast (including in Mississippi and Alabama) devastated by recent hurricanes, as well as videos promoting its "Man Up! Be Counted!" campaign aimed at Black men, who are at greatest risk of being missed in the census. The URL is http://server3.nmdesigns.com/movingforward/www/.

The NAACP has begun its "Yes We Count" mobilization to "identify hard-to-count neighborhoods" and "educate people on the importance of Census participation." The campaign urges people to Take the Pledge! to fill out a census form and encourage their friends and neighbors to do so.


NEW RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES


✍ The Census 2010 Hard To Count mapping website, developed by the CUNY Mapping Service at the Graduate Center, has some new features. Census advocates can now download demographic and socio-economic statistics on hard-to-count areas from Census 2000 or the American Community Survey (if applicable). After clicking on a geographic area, pick the "HTC Stats" tab in the pop-up window. A new option to download relevant census data will appear in the right hand corner of the profile tables. The website now also offers a Twitter feature that tracks census-related "tweets" from across the country.

✍ The Leadership Conference Education Fund census campaign, It's Time. Make Yourself Count., has developed Lunar New Year materials promoting the census. Go to http://www.civilrights.org/census/census-resources/lunar-new-year/ to download palm cards and Lunar New Year calendars in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and English (not all materials are available in all languages), as well as a fact sheet on the importance of the census to Asian Americans.

QUICK LINKS:

2010 Census Web Site : The Census Bureau's new 2010 census web site offers useful basic information on the census process, as well as sample questionnaires, information on job opportunities, and in-language materials. Add it to your "Bookmarks" bar to track mail response rates daily for your state and locality starting in late March.

2010 Census Web Site in Spanishy: New official 2010 census Spanish language web site.

2010 Census Jobs : Visit this web page to download a Census Practice Test and find information about the application process and a Local Census Office near you.

The Census Project : Visit the Census Project web site for previous Census News Briefs, fact sheets, and a weekly blog in support of an accurate 2010 census. Become a fan of the Census Project on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Census-Project/251237523383.

Census 2010 Interactive Hard To Count Mapping Site : This new mapping site, developed by the City University of New York Mapping Services at the Graduate Center, allows users to pinpoint hard-to-count census tracts and identify the socio-economic characteristics that contribute to difficult enumeration conditions, allowing advocates to target outreach and tailor messages. The URL is www.CensusHardToCountMaps.org.

Leadership Conference Education Fund : The LCEF 2010 Census campaign offers fact sheets, a toolkit, data on the census undercount, and promotional materials to reach historically hard-to-count communities.

Nonprofits Count: The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network's 2010 census campaign features fact sheets, a toolkit, posters and swag, and state-specific resources to help nonprofits promote census participation.

ya es hora ¡HAGASE CONTAR¡ : Resources and promotional materials, in Spanish and English, targeting the Latino population.


National Urban League
: This Census Information Center web page includes links to demographic information on the Black population, job opportunities, and other 2010 census materials.


Asian American Justice Center
: Resources and information, including in-language census forms, targeting the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

Indian Country Counts : Region-specific information, events, job listings, and tools for the American Indian and Alaska Native populations.


Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.


Contact information:
TerriAnn2K@aol.com
(tel.) 203-353-4364


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