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WP: Census Cuts Hit Minorities Hardest

From a deeply concerned Washington Post:

Census Spending Cuts Raise Concerns on Count

By N.C. Aizenman
Wednesday, November 26, 2008; Page A11

The Census Bureau plans to cut spending on advertising and community outreach for the 2010 census by at least a fourth compared with the 2000 census, provoking concern among congressional overseers that historically difficult-to-count groups such as minorities and illegal immigrants will not be accurately tallied.

Although the reduction was part of the fiscal 2009 budget proposed to Congress by the administration in February and was reflected in a stopgap budget resolution adopted by Congress last month, several members of Congress said they did not become aware of the change until two weeks ago, when their staffers asked Census Bureau employees to brief them on details of the marketing plan….

“It makes no sense that we are spending less than [in] 2000 on marketing the census when the challenges we face in 2010 are even greater,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the Census Bureau. “I would have liked to have said [my response] was shock, but given what the Bush administration has done to the census, it is regrettably not surprising.”

Despite such concerns, congressional staffers said increasing the bureau’s marketing budget would prove a tall order in the current economic climate.

During the 2000 count, the Census Bureau launched an aggressive, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign featuring professionally produced television and radio spots as well as partnerships with 140,000 community advocates, religious leaders, local governments, educational institutions and other groups. The effort was credited with helping to reverse four decades of declining response rates.

Boosting the mail-back rate generated substantial savings by cutting the number of costly follow-up visits that census workers needed to make to households that had not returned their forms. It also gave those workers more time to visit minorities, immigrants and the poor — who are more likely to lack fixed addresses or to find census forms confusing and therefore be less likely to mail them back.

Census workers could face even more difficulties in 2010 because of increased fears of identity theft and the rapid rise in the minority and immigrant populations over the past decade, said William A. Ramos, director of the Washington office of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

“With all the discussion of immigration reform, and the negativity in particular with respect to Latinos, there’s especially going to be a lot of trepidation about filling out a government document,” said Ramos, whose group sits on the Census Bureau’s advisory council for the 2010 census.

So Ramos and others said they assumed the bureau would spend at least the same amount, if not more, on the marketing campaign for 2010. Instead, the total budget of $213 million represents about 76 percent of the 2000 amount in inflation-adjusted dollars. The $93 million paid-media component is about 57 percent of the 2000 expenditure, while a widely regarded schools outreach program will get only a third of the 2000 funding level.

Arnold Jackson, associate director for the decennial census, said his agency “would obviously like to have more money, and if we get an opportunity we’ll certainly ask for more. However, we think we have a very effective and robust program with the resources we have in hand.”

In particular, Jackson said, the advertising effort is being coordinated much more closely with the bureau’s community partners than it was in 2000. In addition, for the first time the bureau will be sending bilingual Spanish-English questionnaires as well as a second mailing to households that do not respond to the first one — a measure that testing suggests can increase mail-back rates by as much as 8 percent.

It was ever thus.

Indeed, the original Washington Post headline seems to have been “Some Fear Census Spending Cuts Will Leave Minorities and Immigrants Uncounted.”

Mind you, we are only talking about a reduction in the Census’ “marketing budget.”

And why should cutting their advertising budget affect whether minorities are counted or not?

Moreover, if the purpose of the census is to provide for accurate apportionment in the US House of Representatives, electoral votes and government funding of programs, why count illegal aliens?

Unless it is to bolster claims for greater funding of ICE.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “WP: Census Cuts Hit Minorities Hardest”

  1. curvyred says:

    Did it ever occur to the author of this article that some of those groups/people simply do not want to be counted – illegal or living in public housing illegally (aunt Zeitini comes to mind)

    The temporary jobs pay quite reasonably at the Census Bureau:


    Thousands are needed for temporary jobs

    Conducting the census is a huge undertaking. Thousands of census takers are needed to update address lists and conduct interviews with community residents. Most positions require a valid driver’s license and use of a vehicle. However, public transportation may be authorized in certain areas.

    Earn good pay

    Census takers receive competitive pay on a weekly basis. In addition, you will be reimbursed for authorized mileage and related expenses.

  2. proreason says:

    ““It makes no sense that we are spending less than [in] 2000 on marketing the census when the challenges we face in 2010 are even greater,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

    uuuhhhhh. Could the 4.6 – 7.2 trillion price tag for the bail-out have anything to do with it.

    Not in the mind of a Big Government official, apparently. Particularly when her mission is to make government even bigger by counting all of the mammals in the country.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    If you want to count the illegals and make a buck or two…..go to Westren Union and do your count there. Charge these illegals a wire transfer excise tax for sending money back to their countries of origin. No problemo!!

  4. pinandpuller says:

    You ain’t lying LD-some chicanos were asking me directions to the nearest WU just the other day. Doble a la derecho vato! Point tus tetas sur!

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