Partner Power

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

I just met at headquarters with a set of census partners from around the country to discuss how to more effectively promote the census. Were they great! They represented faith-based organizations, community groups, cultural interest groups, ethnic minorities, and other groups committed to ensuring that their constituents are counted accurately and in the right locations.

We learned how these communities are telling their folks that participating in the census is safe. This issue is a particular concern for those representing recent immigrants, who will be participating in the U.S. Census for the first time. When we talked about the strength of the law that guards census data, how it trumps the Patriot Act, they were comforted.

I told them a story from the nation’s history to reinforce the point. When Harry Truman was president and the White House was being remodeled, the president’s family had to be moved to another home. After finding a suitable home, the Secret Service asked the Census Bureau for the census forms of the president’s new neighbors. Citing the law protecting census data, the director of the Census Bureau refused to provide the data. That refusal was upheld because of the strength of the law, even though the issue at hand was the safety of the president.

The partners are planning all sorts of interesting and creative things to get the word out. Ex-NFL stars are talking to high school kids in central cities; census booths are staffed at ethnic festivals; school children are building collages with their handprints (one of the logos of the 2010 Census) and signing their prints as part of a giant 2010 Census poster; there are t-shirts galore with individual Indian tribe logos and local insignia. The level of enthusiasm was phenomenal. If all of us had 1/1000 of the energy of this group we’d have 100 percent return rates on the 2010 questionnaires.

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4 Responses to Partner Power

  1. Philip in Silver Spring says:

    On October 21 I attended the Congressional hearing entitled “The 2010 Census Master Address File: Issues and Concerns.” At this hearing, I not only learned about what census and Dr. Groves specifically are doing to make this census the most accurate and complete census to date, but also what the census could do better.
    As an concerned and active citizen, I was disconcerted to hear all the shortcomings of the Census Bureau, including: an address canvassing budget cost overrun of 25%, questionable hiring practices, and a lack of local, community partnerships. While it is reassuring to hear about some of the partnerships Dr. Groves highlighted, I still question if the census bureau is on track to capture an accurate picture of American demography.
    In trying to generate support and cooperation for the 2010 census, the Census Bureau should take the recommendations of the California Rural Legal Assistance group seriously. As Director of Litigation, Advocacy, & Training, Ilene Jacobs recommended that the Census Bureau improve the Master Address File (MAF) by using targeted update-enumerate procedures, evaluating hard-to-locate housing units and the MAF, and incorporating best practices into the American Community Survey (ACS.
    Overall, Ms. Jacobs stressed that Census needed to “go beyond the useful, but basic, cooperation typical of local Complete Count Committees and the basic cheerleading function of encouraging census participation.”
    As we move closer to April 1st, I can only hope that the Bureau will take these suggestions to heart and ensure that the 2010 census IS the most accurate and complete census to date.

  2. Philip in Silver Spring says:

    On October 21 I attended the Congressional hearing entitled “The 2010 Census Master Address File: Issues and Concerns.” At this hearing, I not only learned about what census and Dr. Groves specifically are doing to make this census the most accurate and complete census to date, but also what the census could do better.
    As an concerned and active citizen, I was disconcerted to hear all the shortcomings of the Census Bureau, including: an address canvassing budget cost overrun of 25%, questionable hiring practices, and a lack of local, community partnerships. While it is reassuring to hear about some of the partnerships Dr. Groves highlighted, I still question if the census bureau is on track to capture an accurate picture of American demography.
    In trying to generate support and cooperation for the 2010 census, the Census Bureau should take the recommendations of the California Rural Legal Assistance group seriously. As Director of Litigation, Advocacy, & Training, Ilene Jacobs recommended that the Census Bureau improve the Master Address File (MAF) by using targeted update-enumerate procedures, evaluating hard-to-locate housing units and the MAF, and incorporating best practices into the American Community Survey (ACS.
    Overall, Ms. Jacobs stressed that Census needed to “go beyond the useful, but basic, cooperation typical of local Complete Count Committees and the basic cheerleading function of encouraging census participation.”
    As we move closer to April 1st, I can only hope that the Bureau will take these suggestions to heart and ensure that the 2010 census IS the most accurate and complete census to date.

  3. Philip in Silver Spring says:

    On October 21 I attended the Congressional hearing entitled “The 2010 Census Master Address File: Issues and Concerns.” At this hearing, I not only learned about what census and Dr. Groves specifically are doing to make this census the most accurate and complete census to date, but also what the census could do better.
    As an concerned and active citizen, I was disconcerted to hear all the shortcomings of the Census Bureau, including: an address canvassing budget cost overrun of 25%, questionable hiring practices, and a lack of local, community partnerships. While it is reassuring to hear about some of the partnerships Dr. Groves highlighted, I still question if the census bureau is on track to capture an accurate picture of American demography.
    In trying to generate support and cooperation for the 2010 census, the Census Bureau should take the recommendations of the California Rural Legal Assistance group seriously. As Director of Litigation, Advocacy, & Training, Ilene Jacobs recommended that the Census Bureau improve the Master Address File (MAF) by using targeted update-enumerate procedures, evaluating hard-to-locate housing units and the MAF, and incorporating best practices into the American Community Survey (ACS.
    Overall, Ms. Jacobs stressed that Census needed to “go beyond the useful, but basic, cooperation typical of local Complete Count Committees and the basic cheerleading function of encouraging census participation.”
    As we move closer to April 1st, I can only hope that the Bureau will take these suggestions to heart and ensure that the 2010 census IS the most accurate and complete census to date.

  4. Gerry Donohoe says:

    Hi Philip from Silver Spring,
    I’m a census employee in the Partnership Program. Yesterday, me and my co-worker spent 8 hours at a Homeless Count event here in Juneau, Alaska. We are reaching out to people we know are hard to count.
    Thanks for your input.
    regards,
    Gerry

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