Monday, March 22, 2010



March 21, 2010 No. 90

In this issue
Census Bureau Explains "Wrong City" Mailing Problem
DHS: ICE Activities Won't "Interfere" With Census
Census Operations Update
Legislative Round-Up
Stakeholder Spotlight
What's New? Resources for Census Advocates

Editor's note: Last week's planned Census News Brief went by the wayside in the aftermath of the severe Nor'easter that hit southern Connecticut last week, knocking out power and cable to your editor's home city for days.

On March 15, census forms began arriving in about 120 million mailboxes nationwide that are in the "mail-out/mail-back" universe, the largest of several counting operations that covers most urban and suburban communities. At a press briefing that day, Census Director Robert Groves called the 2010 census form "one of the shortest forms in our lifetime," noting that the length is similar to the first enumeration in 1790 designed with the help of Founding Fathers James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. The director said it costs 42 cents for a household to return its questionnaire by mail, but $57 for the Census Bureau to send an enumerator to each household that fails to do so.

On March 8, the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives held a field hearing in Cincinnati, Ohio, to review plans for counting hard-to-count populations "with special living conditions."
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who testified at the hearing, chairs the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2010 Census Task Force. The Service-based Enumeration is scheduled for March 29 - 31, when census workers will visit homeless shelters, outdoor locations, mobile food vans, and food kitchens to collect census data from people without a usual place of residence. The Enumeration at Transitory Locations, which includes migrant worker camps, traveling carnivals, marinas, and short-term RV parks, will take place March 22 - April 16. A full set of testimony is available on the subcommittee's web site.



* CENSUS OPERATIONS UPDATE: "Participation Rates" to be posted; QACs and Be Counted sites open; and more.

* LEGISLATIVE ROUND-UP: House passes deceptive census mailing bill; subcommittee hearing scheduled.

* STAKEHOLDER SPOTLIGHT: National Week of Action begins; canvassing small businesses in New Orleans; Caribbean American leaders complete forms on-air; Latino 2010 Census Summit; and more.

* WHAT'S NEW? RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES: Video blog for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Brookings analysis of census-driven federal program allocations; new fact sheets.


Census officials moved quickly to quell concerns in some communities where the mailing address on census forms used an incorrect city, telling residents they would be counted in the correct jurisdiction when the Census Bureau tabulates responses and publishes data. For example, the Chicago Tribune reported that some residents living in the city's outskirts received census forms listing their address as Bedford Park, an adjoining suburb (, 3/18/10).

"Don't worry," Dr. Groves wrote in The Director's Blog on March 17, noting that the mailing address and physical location of a house were different for census purposes. People will be counted "in the jurisdiction where your home is physically located," the director said. Addresses in a single ZIP code were labeled using a single city name to streamline delivery for the "largest single [mailing] ever undertaken by the United States," Dr. Groves noted.

The Postal Service uses multiple city names to deliver mail when a ZIP code crosses jurisdictional boundaries, he said. Each census form has a unique bar code that is used to check-in forms as they are returned by mail; the bar code is tied to a mailing address that includes the city or town associated with the physical location of the home. The director urged people not to cross off the address or bar code on their questionnaire.

Census officials sent an e-mail to 20,000 elected officials nationwide and the 200,000 national and local census partner organizations, explaining the issue and emphasizing the importance of mailing back forms even if the mailing address appears to be incorrect. The Census Bureau also is preparing flyers, door hangers, radio scripts, and other materials to explain the situation in areas confused by the mailing address. Senior bureau staff said they believe the mailing address anomaly affected less than one percent of questionnaires.


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told lawmakers that the department is "committed to working with the Census Bureau to ensure our enforcement responsibilities do not interfere" with "a thorough and accurate" census.

In a March 16 letter to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Secretary assured legislators that personal census responses "will not be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and may not be used for immigration enforcement purposes." The Census Act (13 U.S.C. §§8 & 9) prohibits the Census Bureau from revealing any personally identifiable information collected in the census and provides that personal census responses may not be used against an individual, are immune from legal process, and may not be admitted as evidence (without an individual's consent) in any judicial or administrative proceeding.

The letter followed a meeting between Hispanic lawmakers and President Obama; at that March 11 meeting, the lawmakers expressed concern that continued immigration raids would discourage immigrants from participating in the census. Secretary Napolitano reiterated that neither the Commerce Department nor the Census Bureau would ask ICE to suspend immigration enforcement during the census. She acknowledged for the first time, however, that the two executive branch departments were working together to ensure that immigration-related activities "do not affect [the Census Bureau's] ability to collect accurate and comprehensive data for the census."

In 2007, then-Deputy Census Director Preston Jay Waite noted in an Associated Press interview (8/17/07) that the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not conduct immigration raids during the 2000 census (although the agency never declared an official moratorium on raids), suggesting that such activities could dampen cooperation among undocumented residents. The AP article quoted an ICE spokesman as saying that any suspension of raids would require discussion "at the highest levels of both agencies." Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), sponsor of a resolution that would amend the Constitution to exclude non-citizens from the apportionment base, sharply criticized the Census Bureau, saying, "[T]he American people have grown sick and tired of their immigration laws not being enforced." A day later, ICE officials, in response to additional media inquiries, clarified the agency's position by saying, "We would not even consider scaling back our efforts." Then-Census Director C. Louis Kincannon confirmed at the time that the Census Bureau had not asked the immigration agency to suspend raids during the census.


"Take 10 Challenge" program starts March 22: The Census Bureau will begin posting "participation rates" for states and localities, to allow communities to track the progress of the mail-out/mail-back operation, beginning on March 22. The bureau will update the rates daily, Monday through Friday. "Participation rates" will exclude questionnaires returned by the Postal Service as "undeliverable as addressed" from the calculation of the percent of housing units that have mailed back a form. The link to the "Take 10 Challenge" Map, a reference to the 10 minutes the agency says it will take households to fill out their census forms, is

QAC and Be Counted sites open: The Census Bureau has opened 30,000 Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) and an additional 10,000 Be Counted sites across the country. (Be Counted forms also are available at all QACs.) QACs are staffed by sworn, trained Census Bureau employees, while unstaffed Be Counted sites offer forms in six languages. People should use Be Counted forms if they did not receive a form at their home or if they believe the questionnaire completed for their place of residence did not include them. The slightly modified form asks respondents for their address, which the Census Bureau must match to an address on the master list or verify with a field visit during a later operation.

Site locations, hours of operation, and directions are posted on the 2010 census web site at; click on "Help Centers" and enter a ZIP code, city, or state to pull up an interactive map and sites nearest you.

Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA) centers open for business: The Census Bureau has activated toll-free assistance lines to answer questions about the census and provide assistance in filling out the forms. The English-language number is 1-866-872-6868; the TDD line for people with hearing impairments is 1-866-783-2010. Separate assistance lines for assistance in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian (the additional languages in which official census forms are printed) are posted at People may provide their census answers by phone through April 11 if they provide the unique identification code on the form sent to their address. After that date, the Census Bureau will accept responses by telephone without the identifying code.

"March to the Mailbox" activities planned: The Census Bureau is planning a final push to motivate people to mail back their forms, with activities in low-responding census tracts across the country on Saturday, April 10. The "March to the Mailbox" campaign will mobilize partner organizations and volunteers to help stage parades, rallies, marches, and community canvassing events in about 6,000 neighborhoods with low "participation rates." The bureau will provide signs, fliers, parade banners, and other promotional materials for the designated sites, highlighting the message that it is not too late to mail back a census form. The Census Bureau will stop accepting mailed questionnaires in late April and prepare for door-to-door visits to unresponsive homes starting May 1.

Dora the Explorer helps kick off Children Count Too initiative: Nickelodeon character Dora the Explorer helped the Census Bureau kick off its Children Count Too public awareness campaign on March 9 at Mary's Center, a nonprofit maternal and child care center serving immigrant families in Washington, DC. Nickelodeon has produced TV and radio PSAs, Web buttons, and fact sheets featuring Dora and her friends; the materials are available in English and Spanish. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, which specializes in infant and child nutrition, is supporting the effort by communicating to its customers the importance of including children, especially newborns and infants, on census forms.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund took great photos of the event. See the February 18 Census News Brief #88 for additional information on the undercount of children in the census.


House approves bill to ban deceptive "census" mailings: On March 10, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously (416-0) approved a bill to prohibit deceptive mailings designed to look like official Census Bureau mailings. The "Prevent Deceptive Census Look-Alike Mailings Act" (H.R. 4621) would require organizations that use the word "Census" on their mailings to indicate clearly that the item is not from or affiliated with the federal government and to include the sender's name and address. The bill also received bipartisan support in the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which unanimously approved the measure on March 4.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the bill's sponsor, said that mailings "purporting to be an official document ... deliberately reduce the effectiveness of the authentic Census - which costs taxpayers money. It's not right, and this bill will help prevent that confusion."

The House-passed bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; there is no companion Senate measure yet. For more information on the legislation, see the February 10 Census News Brief #87 on The Census Project website.

House panel schedules hearing on Census Bureau's readiness for count: The House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, chaired by Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO), will hold a hearing on March 25 titled, "The 2010 Census: An Assessment of the Census Bureau's Preparedness." Representatives from the Census Bureau, Commerce Department's Office of the Inspector General, and U.S. Government Accountability Office are expected to testify. The hearing is scheduled for 2:00PM in Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.


Latino civic, political, and faith leaders held a Latino 2010 Census Summit in Washington, DC on March 17 to highlight the community's "unity and collaboration" in support of the census and to issue a "Call to Action for all Latinos to be counted in Census 2010." Census Director Groves joined members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and heads of major Hispanic organizations for a program of panel discussions, census campaign promotional displays, and a press conference.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund and its four national census partners (NAACP; NALEO; AAJC; NCAI) are launching a National Week of Action (March 22 - 27) to encourage census participation. Activities will include block parties, festivals, assistance forums, and press conferences to build excitement and make a push for people in historically hard-to-count communities to fill out and mail back their forms by April 1. The collaborative census campaign also organized Census Faith Weekend activities yesterday and today, distributing palm cards in nine languages and preparing sample articles for church bulletins.

The University of Michigan sponsored a census ad video contest to promote awareness of the count among college students and encourage participation. The university is offering a total of $3,000 in prizes to the winning one-minute ads. While only members of the university community were allowed to vote, the public can view the videos on-line at Students living on-campus at colleges and universities are counted as part of the Group Quarters Enumeration, which runs from March 30 - May 14. Students who live off-campus are counted at their house or apartment as part of the mail-out/mail-back operation, not at their parents' home (unless they live with their parents while attending school).

Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. began its 2010 census media campaign, visiting small businesses in New Orleans with "Mobile remote" technology that allowed business owners to promote the census through live radio spots. The nonprofit organization, dedicated to rebuilding communities hard-hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, will expand the campaign with additional canvassing in New Orleans, Moss Point, and Mobile, AL, on March 27.

Caribbean American civic leaders in South Florida completed their 2010 census forms during a live radio broadcast (WZAB 880 AM) on March 20. Caribbean Riddims radio show host and producer Eddy Edwards and attorney Marlon Hill of The Peoples Politics encouraged listeners to fill out their own forms and to pass along the message, "I counted today, I have the power!" Mr. Edwards said that he hoped the live call to action would contribute to a higher "level of trust and confidence in the [census] process." The weekly program reaches listeners in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties and The Bahamas. Also in Miami, Caribbean American organizations teamed up with national census advocates to produce Public Service Announcements and print 35,000 grocery bags displaying a 2010 census logo, aimed at boosting response among Haitian Americans.

Reminder ... Univision, the Spanish-language media company, will air a half-hour long program on March 27 to provide instructions on how to fill out the census questionnaire. The program will run at 11:00AM Eastern, 10:00AM Central, and 11:00AM Pacific time.


The The Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, which provides research and policy ideas to help decision makers address the needs of metropolitan areas, released its report, Counting for Dollars: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds. The analysis, authored by MPP Fellow Andrew Reamer, found that nearly $447 billion were distributed through 215 federal domestic assistance programs to states and localities in FY2008 based, in whole or in part, on decennial census results. The average national per capita distribution was $1,469, ranging from a high of $4,656 per capita in the District of Columbia to a low of $742 per capita in Nevada.

"Because the population count is so critical to the process of allocating such a large portion of federal assistance dollars, our report demonstrates how important an accurate 2010 census is," Dr. Reamer said. The report reviews census-driven federal program funding for Fiscal Year 2008, the latest data available, and includes program-by-program allocation tables for states, the 200 largest counties, and the 100 largest metropolitan areas.

The ya es hora. HAGASE CONTAR! campaign is fielding a toll-free telephone hotline to answer questions about filling out the census form. Bilingual (English/Spanish) assistance is available by calling 877-EL-CENSO/877-352-3676.

The Disability Policy Consortium, Inc., a Boston-based organization of volunteer disability rights activities, has developed a "vlog" (video blog) on the importance of the census for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. The video is in American Sign Language, with captioning. DPC is a grantee of the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund, a collaborative of foundations in the state that is supporting efforts to achieve an accurate count. Go to to view the video.

The Census 2010 Hard To Count Mapping Site, a project of the City University of New York Mapping Service at the Graduate Center, has a new feature that allows users to create a shortcut link to any spot on the map. On the map, users should zoom to the area of interest, select a hard-to-count layer from the legend (e.g. "Percent Unemployed"), then click the "Link to the map" button in the upper right. The feature will allow census advocates to share the specific link with colleagues via e-mail, twitter, and other avenues of communication. For more new features, click the Overview tab (upper right corner) and then the What's New tab. The CUNY census map URL is

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national advocacy and educational organization that uses legal resources to advance civil rights and civic participation for Latinos, established a 2010 Census Latino Outreach and Civic Participation Project. Go to for materials and information that highlight the linkage between census data and political empowerment.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund has posted new fact sheets on its census campaign website that highlight the importance of an accurate census to Native Americans, people with disabilities, and women. For copies of these and other resources developed for the It's Time. Make Yourself Count. campaign, go to


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

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

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 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

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