Association of MultiEthnic Americans

Census 2000 - 1997 Archives

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Vol. 1 - No. 37     Dec. 29, 1997

For your convenience, the following is a subject index of Volume 1 (1997) of the Census 2000 Bulletins:

1. Summer 1997 Partnership Meeting Schedule (6/16/97)
2. Why statistical sampling? Backgrounder (6/17/97)
3. Letter from Census Bureau Director Riche to Speaker Gingrich (6/18/97)
4. Road to the United States Census 2000 (Partnerships) (6/19/97)
5. Excerpts from National Research Council's Interim Report II (6/20/97)
6. Compromise language in disaster relief bill on use of sampling (623/97)
7. Shays-Maloney letter on sampling in Wall Street Journal (6/24/97)
8. Secretary Daley's statement on hiring welfare recipients to conduct census (6/30/97)
9. Report on first partnership rollout stop in Atlanta (7/2/97)
10. Director Riche's April 1997 testimony on budget before House subcommittee (7/7/97)
11. Announcement on publication of race and ethnic standards (7/8/97)
12. Note on report to Congress regarding Census 2000 plans (7/14/97)
13. Director Riche's March 1997 testimony on Census 2000 before Senate committee (7/21/97)
14. Director's response to question from Senator Thompson on ICM (7/23/97)
15. American Community Survey's relationship to Census 2000 (7/28/97)
16. Federal Register notice on proposed questions on race and Hispanic origin (8/5/97)
17. Article on Census 2000 by director published in Insight magazine (8/14/97)
18. Census and You article on hiring temporary work force for Census 2000 (8/29/97)
19. Road to the United States Census 2000 (Plans; more on partnerships) (9/2/97)
20. Agenda for Secretary's 2000 Census Advisory Committee meeting (9/8/97)
21. Letter to Congress from Americans for a Fair and Accurate Census (9/15/97)
22. Former Director Barbara Bryant's Census 2000 views (9/16/97)
23. President's remarks on Census 2000 to Congressional Hispanic Caucus Sept. 16 (9/23/97)
24. FAQs on 1990 undercount and cost of census-taking (9/29/97)
25. Excerpts from news release on awarding of ad contract (10/9/97)
26. A rundown on the state of Pennsylvania's Census 2000 plan (10/16/97)
27. Effects of Continuing Resolution on Census 2000 activities (10/24/97)
28. Office of Management and Budget's decision on race and ethnic standards (10/30/97)
29. Beginning of Census 2000 product meetings (11/3/97)
30. Plans to avoid duplicate responses in Census 2000 (11/12/97)
31. Director's reaction to passage of compromise budget bill (11/17/97)
32. President Clinton's remarks on signing Fiscal Year 1997 budget bill (12/1/97)
33. Census Bureau research on privacy and confidentiality concerns (12/8/97)
34. Pennsylvania Township News article on Census 2000 (12/9/97)
35. Delay in Dress Rehearsal and 1997 budget analysis (12/10/97)
36. National Conference of State Legislatures Redistricting Task Force resolution (12/16/97)
37. Subject index of 1997 Census 2000 Bulletins (12/29/97)

If you have any questions, please contact the Public Information Office on 301-457-3030 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov).

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Vol. 1 - No. 31     Nov. 17, 1997

The following statement was issued by Census Bureau Director Martha Farnsworth Riche last Friday (Nov. 14) regarding the agreement reached between Congress and the White House on the Census Bureau's Fiscal Year 1998 budget:

"I am pleased that the Congress has decided to allow the Census Bureau to proceed with a dress rehearsal that lets the Census Bureau test, evaluate and prepare to use all available tools, including scientific sampling, in the 2000 census. Under the original appropriations language, these operations were put on hold pending judicial review, but this compromise will let the Census Bureau move forward in its planning for Census 2000, and judicial review can occur simultaneously.

"The dress rehearsal, which the Census Bureau will conduct in 1998, is essentially a dry run of all the operational aspects of the Census 2000 plan, including outreach, hiring and staffing, partnerships with state and local governments and the utilization of paid media to promote increased participation. Through the Census Monitoring Board created by this compromise, the dress rehearsal, and all other means at our disposal, we are determined to make Census 2000 the most transparent, widely understood and accurate census in history."

For further information, contact Associate Director for Communications Phil Sparks on 301-457-2158.

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Vol. 1 - No. 24     Sept. 29, 1997

In the next few bulletins we will run some frequently asked questions about Census 2000 and the official answers that have been updated as of September 9, 1997. If you have any questions, contact the Public Information Office on 301-457-3030 (FAX: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov).

Q. What was the experience with the 1990 census?

A. In spite of enormous efforts to count everyone, the 1990 census failed to include about 10 million residents of the United States and double-counted about 6 million others -- for a total net undercount of 4 million people. A disproportionate share of this error was borne by the nation's racial and ethnic minorities. Moreover, the 1990 census was the most costly in history and produced two sets of numbers, causing divisiveness. It took six years for litigation to be decided by the Supreme Court.

The experience of the 1990 census made clear the need for innovative change in the way the decennial census is taken. The Census Bureau has responded to this challenge with a redesign of the process that improves accuracy, promotes inclusion, saves money and produces one set of numbers that is right the first time.

Q. Why has the cost of the census increased since 1990?

A. In 2000, there will be more people and more housing units to count than there were in 1990. Increased workload alone accounts for 22 percent of the increase since 1990. But inflation and rising labor costs account for another 62 percent of the increase.

Many of the types of people who used to take temporary census jobs are no longer available. Most women of working age have jobs outside the home. Even college students are likely to have part time jobs during the school year. Census 2000 will need temporary workers with a high level of skills -- and because many of them will go to people's homes and must protect the privacy of respondents, they will need FBI checks. When the Census Bureau must compete with private industry for skilled people, prices go up.

Another 16 percent of the increase is due to actions we had to take to maintain the mail response rate.

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Vol. 1 - No. 22     Sept. 16, 1997

Former Census Bureau Director Barbara Bryant spoke last Sept. 10 to two congressional groups in Washington, D.C. (the SOS/Chowder and Marching Groups and the U.S. House of Representatives Census Caucus). Dr. Bryant, who served as director during the Bush administration and was in charge of the 1990 census, offered her views on Census 2000. Later, she made her "talking points" available to the Census Bureau's Public Information Office. We are transmitting these to you in their entirety.

If you have any questions, please contact PIO on 301-457-3030; FAX: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Using Sampling for the 2000 Census

By Barbara Bryant Adjunct Research Scientist University of Michigan Business School Director, Bureau of the Census, 1989-1993

Not a Sample Census

First, keep in mind that the Bureau of the Census is NOT planning a sample census ó some sort of national poll. Sampling is only the means of last resort to count those who through apathy, ignorance, or fear are unwilling to be counted. The vast majority of the residents of the United States will participate voluntarily in being enumerated ó or will be participating after mail, telephone, and/or house calls to remind and assist them to be enumerated. It is only those who do not participate after many attempts to enumerate them who will be counted by the use of sampling.

The better the participation in enumeration is, the smaller the count added by sampling will be.

Enumeration Will Be Incomplete

Enumeration cannot count everybody. Throwing more money at enumeration will not improve it. In 1990, we hit the wall trying to count everybody by enumeration. The 1990 census was adequately funded; there was no shortage of funds for hiring more enumerators, or making additional efforts. In fact, when many local governments complained that their constituencies were undercounted ó and gave the Census Bureau the locations of the actual blocks they considered undercounted ó we mounted an expensive effort to send enumerators out to recomb blocks which contained 20 percent of the nation's housing units. That effort added only 0.1 percent, that is, one-tenth of 1 percent, to the final count.

The Census Bureau Can Do A Better Job Counting A Sample Than Trying to Find All of the Uncounted

In mid-May 1990, the Census Bureau had 340,000 temporary employees at a time when unemployment was 5.2 percent. We were scraping bottom of the available labor-pool barrel. We'd have been much better off hiring the best 100,000 to work intensively on locating a sample of the uncounted rather than going after everybody. And in the end we had to be to "last-resort counting" ó getting the final few percent by talking to the neighbors, the postal carrier, the landlord to just get the basics: "How many people do you think live in that apartment or house? Are they old or young? Male or female?" Enumerating the last few percent has more error than sampling will have.

1990 Showed Census Taking Must Change

1990 showed us that with an increasingly diverse, and highly mobile population, changes have to be made in census-taking methods. The same basic design was used for the 1970, 1980 and 1990 censuses. By 1990, it not longer worked well. Using sampling for last resort counting is one of the needed changes. Others are in the plan for 2000 ó better designed questionnaires, multiple mail contacts, greater access to census forms, more cooperation with state and local governments and the U.S. Postal Service, a professional marketing campaign integrated with the census taking. But these non-sampling improvements will not be sufficient without sampling and estimation. During my tenure in office, we were fortunate to have the Congress appropriate early funding to study change.

Congress Initiated National Academy of Sciences Study Panel

With the funds appropriated to study change in FY1992, Congress imposed on the Census Bureau the requirement that some of that funds go outside the Census Bureau to the National Academy of Science to study what changes were needed. Quite frankly, the Congress didn't trust the Census Bureau to be sufficiently objective. While as director I was a bit miffed by that district, I also welcomed having a panel of national experts in statistics, demography, and the social sciences provide guidance to both the Census Bureau and the Congress. You are probably familiar with the report by the Panel on Census Requirements in the Year 2000 and Beyond, Modernizing the U.S. Census (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1995). The first two recommendations of that report are:

--The panel recommends that the Census Bureau make a good-faith effort to count everyone, but then truncate physical enumeration after a reasonable effort to reach nonrespondents. The number and characteristics of the remaining nonrespondents should be estimated through sampling.

--To improve the census results, and especially to reduce the differential undercount, the panel recommends that the estimates achieved through physical enumeration and sampling for nonresponse be further improved and completed through survey techniques. The census should be designed as an integrated whole, to produce the best single-number count for the resources available. The Census Bureau should publish the procedures used to produce its final counts, as well as an assessment of their accuracy.

The Congress paid for objective expert advice. Now it should heed it.

Sampling Error

Congressional districts are built from blocks, and blocks have error, whether counted by enumeration or enumeration plus sampling and statistical estimation. What's relevant for sampling error is how accurate an accumulation of blocks is ó a census tract of 1,000 households or a Congressional district which will have an average 635,000 residents in 2000. The best estimate is that the error at the Congressional District level using enumeration plus sampling and estimation will be plus or minus 0.6 percent. If enumeration alone is used, it will be plus or minus 1.9 percent.

Sampling Is Not Subject to Manipulation if Rules Are Spelled Out in Advance

Sampling is a commonly used, highly developed statistical procedure, for which ground rules can be spelled out with specificity in advance of any specific application. Whether pre-specified rules have been carried out can be easily audited by statisticians outside of the Census Bureau or the Department of Commerce. Thus, if the "how-we-will-do-it" is spelled out in advance, and the "who-will-audit-and-provide-oversight" pre-specified, there can be no political manipulation.

Being Uncounted is Not Like Being A Non Voter

The idea has been raised that persons not counted are like nonvoters. If they chose not be participate, it's their choice that their voice does not count. There is a big difference. Nonvoters do not hurt their neighbors, the residents of their community, or their state. The uncounted do. If your neighbors are uncounted you lose political power and the dollars that should flow to your community and state.

The Nation Is Best Served by Accuracy

In the long run, this nation is best served by accuracy. The goal of the U.S. census for over 200 years has been to obtain the best possible count and profile of the population given the resources and technology of the times. To do less is to fool ourselves, to not understand where growth is happening, where population numbers are static, or even in some few cases declining ó to not know where the children who will need schooling resident or where the elderly are. Numbers less accurate than they could be lead to unfair apportionment ó the purpose for the census in our Constitution. They also lead to maldistribution of funding programs and poor decision-making in both the public and private sectors. The history of this country is one of uneven population growth. The states which boomed a few decades are not the ones booming now. And the states booming now will not necessarily be the growth states when the 2010 census is taken. Accurate census counts help us understand and adapt to change.

Sampling in 2000 or Grief in 2001?

Experts agree. Sampling can enhance the accuracy of the census. If we fail to use sampling and statistical estimation of those not reached by the census, we will face grief in 2001 because the numbers are less accurate than they could have been and the undercount is equal to or greater than that of the last two censuses. You will wish then for the 98.4 percent net coverage the much- maligned 1990 census achieved. The Census Bureau was heavily criticized after the 1990 census for the 4 million residents of the nation missed; it received little praise for the 249 million counted. Give the Census Bureau the means and tools to do better, not worse, in 2000.

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Vol. 1 - No. 21     Sept. 15, 1997

As the fall 1997 legislative season got under way in early September, important issues surrounding the conduct of Census 2000 remained unresolved. A group of 25 census stakeholders, representing elected officials, children's advocates, religious leaders, scientists, educators and civil rights advocates, sent a letter outlining its views on September 8 to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The group called itself Americans for a Fair and Accurate Census. The text of that letter follows.

Americans for a Fair and Accurate Census

September 5, 1997

Dear Representative (Name):

We, the undersigned individuals representing elected officials, children's advocates, religious leaders, scientists, educators, and civil rights advocates, are writing on a matter of unsurpassed national importance: an accurate census in the year 2000. We understand that, in the coming days, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 1998, which includes languages that would prevent the Census Bureau from preparing for the most accurate census possible in 2000.

Specifically, the Commerce spending bill would prohibit the Bureau from preparing to use sampling or any statistical procedures in deriving the population counts used for congressional apportionment. This prohibition directly contradicts the opinion of virtually every independent, expert review of the Bureau's 2000 census plan, that a limited use of sampling and statistical estimation to supplement an aggressive direct counting effort is the only way to address the persistent, disproportionate undercount of people of color, the rural and urban poor, and children. Three separate panels convened by the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that the Bureau's plan will result in a census that better represents the true composition and distribution of our population, than one that relies solely on conventional counting methods. The Commerce Department's Inspector General, the General Accounting Office, and numerous professional scientific associations all support this conclusion. While the use of sampling will not produce a perfect census, the outcome will be far more accurate and, therefore, fairer to all communities.

The Commerce spending bill also would withhold nearly three-quarters of the Bureau's 2000 census allocation, until Congress enacts subsequent legislation directing how the census should be taken. Under this scenario, the Bureau could run out of funds three months into the fiscal year, bringing to a halt preparation activities such as address list development, community outreach efforts, and the 1998 Census Dress Rehearsal that are crucial building blocks to a successful count. The census is far too important a national undertaking to be held hostage in this manner. With the count less than three years away, Congress is risking a failed census if it forces a shutdown at such a critical point in the process.

We believe that limiting the Census Bureau's ability to use all of the scientific tools at its disposal puts the fairness and accuracy of the next census at risk. The Bureau has developed a reasonable proposal, backed by the scientific community, that will improve the accuracy of the census in a way that is consistent with the Constitution. It is critical that the Census Bureau be allowed to proceed with its planned activities next year, including a Dress Rehearsal that will test all components of the 2000 plan in a census-like environment.

The census will never produce a perfect result, but we cannot accept an effort that reached no further than those who are easiest to count or who want to be counted. Rather, the census must strive to achieve equality of outcome, using all reasonable and scientifically sound methods to reach that goal. Any other result would not serve this nation well.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert S. Rifkind Dr. Jill Quadagno President President American Jewish Committee American Sociological Association

Dr. James J. Zogby Ramona E. Douglass President President Arab American Institute Association of Multi Ethnic Americans

Stephen Dienstfrey David Liederman President Executive Director Association of Public Data Users Child Welfare League of America

Marian Wright Edelman Dr. Howard J. Silver President and Founder Executive Director Children's Defense Fund Consortium of Social Science Associations

Dr. Nicholas Zill Greg Mayda President, Council of Professional Member, Board of Directors Associations on Federal Statistics Hapa Issues Forum

Helen Kawagoe Dr. Dorothy I. Height National President Chairperson Japanese American Citizens League Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Antonia Hernandez Karen Narasaki President, Mexican American Legal Executive Director Defense and Educational Fund National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium

Kweisi Mfume Larry Naake President and CEO Executive Director NAACP National Association of Counties

U.S. Rep. Edward R. Roybal, Retired David Bradley President, National Association of Latino Executive Director Elected and Appointed Officials National Community Action Foundation

W. Ron Allen Raul Yzaguirre President President National Congress of American Indians National Council of La Raza

Hon. Mark Schwartz Manuel Mirabal President President National League of Cities National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc.

Hugh B. Price Michael C. Lin President and Chief Executive Officer National President National Urban League Organization of Chinese Americans

Hon. Paul Humkey President U.S. Conference of Mayors

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Vol. 1 - No. 17     August 14, 1997

In its August 18, 1997 edition, the national opinion magazine Insight (circulation 200,000) was scheduled to publish an article on plans for Census 2000 written by Census Bureau Director Martha Farnsworth Riche. In the article, Dr. Riche lays out the Census Bureau's arguments for the methods and techniques it will use in the next census.

Dr. Riche reviews the history of census-taking in this country from the early 1800s, through the middle of the 20th century, and up to the dawning of the new millenium, noting that changing times require the adaptation of our methods to a largely urban population. Today's challenge is how to obtain the best possible count of traditionally hard-to-count populations "who follow the crops, work the third shift, refuse to answer the census or cannot be found. Scientific sampling will provide this accounting," she writes.

Given the importance of the article, we are attaching the entire article (about 1,700 words) to this bulletin. We also plan to make it available at the Census Bureau's World-Wide Web Internet site under Census 2000. Questions should be directed to the Public Information Office on 301-457-3030 (FAX: 301-457-3670 or e-mail: pio@census.gov).

Q: Should the Census Bureau use ëstatistical sampling' in Census 2000?

By Dr. Martha Farnsworth Riche

Yes: A traditional head count will undercount minorities and many city dwellers.

Considering that the first census was supervised by Thomas Jefferson, read by Benjamin Franklin and delivered to President George Washington, it is clear that surveys of America ó who we are, where we live, what we do ó are woven into the very fabric of this nation. On April 1, 2000, this fundamental element of the republic will be renewed with census day.

Our Constitution spells out the primary role of the decennial census, which is to establish an accurate, once-a-decade count of the population. The census also places our population in a particular location as of census day so Congress can be reapportioned and the state and local governments redistricted.

During the sixties and seventies two additional political developments increased the importance of decennial census data. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and subsequent court opinions used census data as a yardstick to implement "one-person, one vote" principles. And, the federal assistance initiatives of the seventies used decennial census data as the baseline indicator for billions of dollars of annual federal aid that still flow to state and local government.

Given these uses, it should not be surprising that the Census Bureau's plans for a more accurate census 2000 have come under attack.

In 1990 a number of troubling trends occurred regarding the census. The 1990 census undercounted approximately 4 million people, about the same number who were counted all together in the first census 200 years ago. Even more troubling, this last census was, for the first time in history, less accurate than its predecessor. The undercount of the population was 33 percent greater than the undercount in the 1980 census.

And, as before, the 1990 undercount was not uniform across the population. African- Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians were missed at a much greater rate than whites. Finally, the cost of the census escalated sharply. Even after accounting for inflation and the greater population, the 1990 census cost twice as much as the 1970 census. In large part this was due to the significant decline in the percentage of households that returned the census questionnaire and the resulting need for more extensive follow-up procedures utilizing hundreds of thousands of census-takers going door to door.

Congress concluded that the 1990 census failed on two grounds: It cost too much and measured too few people.

It's easy to figure the cost increase: you just take the total cost of the census, divide it by the number of households counted and adjust for inflation. The 1970 census cost $10 per household (in 1990 dollars); the 1990 census cost $25.

It's harder to see how far the census falls short of measuring all the people, but the Census Bureau has been doing it since 1940 using records such as birth and death certificates as an independent check. For example, in 1940, 3 percent more draft-age men showed up for the draft pool than the census found ó including 13 percent more black men. Although all census directors knew the census never counted everybody, this was the first measured knowledge that the undercount was higher for minorities.

In response to these developments, bipartisan legislation in Congress created a special panel of experts in 1992 at the National Academy of Sciences to study the mounting problems regarding census accuracy and cost issues. In 1994 the congressionally mandated panel, composed of nationally recognized experts in the fields of demography and statistics, reached three basic conclusions:

First, the academy declared, "It is fruitless to continue trying to count every last person with traditional census methods of physical enumeration. Simply providing additional funds to enable the Census Bureau to carry out the 2000 census using traditional methods, as it has in previous censuses, will not lead to improved coverage or data quality."

Second, the academy concluded that "it is possible to improve the accuracy of the census count with respect to its most important attributes by supplementing a reduced intensity of traditional enumeration with statistical estimates of the number and characteristics of those not directly enumerated."

Third, the academy added that "once a decision is made to use statistical enumeration for completing the count, a thorough review and reengineering of census procedures and operations could achieve substantial cost savings in the next census, even as accuracy is being improved."

The panel accordingly recommended that "[e]fforts to follow up individually those who fail to return the mail questionnaire should be simplified and truncated after a reasonable effort based on several criteria .... and statistical sampling should be used to estimate the number and characteristics of the nonrespondent households that remain. In addition, evaluation surveys should be undertaken to improve the overall count and reduce the differential undercount."

The conclusions of this panel have been reaffirmed by a second panel that issued interim reports in 1992 and 1996, finding that the use of sampling techniques is "critical to the success of the year 2000 census." A decennial census that "reduces costs, reduces nonresponse bias, increases accuracy and reduces differential undercoverage can[not] be conducted" without the use of sampling, the most recent report concluded.

Moreover, failing to include sampling as an element of census 2000 would produce results worse than those obtained for the 1990 census. The panel added, "It is likely that repeating 1990 methods with the same relative level of resources to conduct the 2000 census will yield results that are of worse quality than obtained in 1990 and that have bias and undercoverage problems of unknown size and direction."

Based on the expert recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, the Census Bureau first outlined its plans for a reengineered census 2000 in February 1996. The bureau's plan called for a simpler, less costly, more accurate census.

The bureau announced a variety of reengineered initiatives recommended by the 1994 report. These ranged from increased use of technology to tabulate better data, to better and more wide- ranging mapping and address-listing with the help of the U.S. Postal Service and local governments. The bureau also redesigned its census questionnaire to ensure that it was user- friendly and announced its plans to have the census 2000 questionnaire available in post offices and community meeting places for wider distribution. Finally, the bureau's census 2000 plans call for an intensive direct-mail campaign involving mailing and, for the first time, resending the questionnaire to every household, as well as a widely advertised toll-free number to accept response by telephone ó also for the first time.

However, as the academy recommended, the linchpin of the bureau's census 2000 reengineering involves scientific sampling to increase accuracy and reduce costs. The bureau's plans call for an aggressive program to count 90 percent of every neighborhood and then to account for the rest through scientific sampling techniques first utilized by the bureau in the 1940 census. The census 2000 plans also call for a nationwide, but state by state, 750,000-household quality check of the population to ensure accuracy right down to the local level and to eliminate the differential undercount.

Critics of the census 2000 plan have raised three major concerns:

Cost. Congressional critics say they are willing to write a "blank check" to cover the costs of a traditional census plan. However, the bureau estimates that the additional costs would range from $675 million to $800 million for a traditional head count over and above the $4 billion already planned for census 2000. And it still would yield a less-accurate census than the 1990 census.

Accuracy. The bureau can give no assurances that increasing its census 2000 budget dramatically to implement a 1990-style census would lead to increased accuracy. Quite the opposite, the bureau believes that accuracy at all levels, including the local level, again would decline using the old methods. As Barbara Bryant, the census director in the Bush administration says, "Throwing more money and more temporarily hired census-takers at the job of enumeration will not find the missing! After many local governments complained of undercounted blocks in 1990, we expensively sent the best-trained enumerators out to comb and recomb thousands of disputed blocks. This costly effort netted less than one-half percent addition to the 1990 census."

Constitutionality. The Department of Justice, under the Carter, Bush and Clinton administrations, has issued three opinions regarding the constitutionality and legality of sampling in the decennial census. All three opinions concluded that the Constitution and relevant statutes permit the use of sampling in the census. Every federal court that has addressed this issue has held that the Constitution and federal statutes allow sampling.

The Census Bureau has a well-deserved reputation for non-partisan, expert collection of data. The bureau's most important concern for census 2000 is accuracy. In the early 1800s federal marshals on horseback rode to the country's frontier to collect census information as best they could at county gatherings and court days. Throughout most of this century housewives and college students fanned out across America to take a census that was appropriate for rural and small-town America.

In 2000 our methods are to adapt to a largely urban population. We also must account for those in our country who come from traditionally hard-to-count populations or who follow the crops, work the third shift, refuse to answer the census or cannot be found. Scientific sampling will provide this accounting.

As the inspector general of the Department of Commerce states, "If carefully planned and implemented, sampling can be employed by the bureau in the 2000 census to produce overall more accurate results than were produced in the 1990 census, at an acceptable cost."

For census 2000 the continuing quest for an accurate and cost-effective decennial census must include scientific sampling to supplement the bureau's extensive plans for a physical enumeration of the population. Only then will the American people get the fair, accurate census they deserve.


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Vol. 1 - No. 16     August 5, 1997

In the July 17 edition of the Federal Register (Vol. 62, No. 137), a notice was published announcing the proposed questions on race and Hispanic origin for the 1998 Dress Rehearsal for Census 2000. The notice said written comments on the proposed questions must be submitted on or before Sept. 15, 1997.

The notice further stated that the proposed questions on race and Hispanic origin for the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal "are consistent with the recommendations of the Interagency Committee for the Review of Racial and Ethnic Standards" to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The proposed questions follow:

5. NOTE: Please answer BOTH questions 5 and 6. Is this person of Spanish/Hispanic origin? Mark [X] the "No" box if not Spanish/Hispanic

[ ] No, not Spanish/Hispanic [ ] Yes, Puerto Rican [ ] Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano [ ] Yes, Cuban [ ] Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic - Print group. ________________________________________________________________

6. What is this person's race? Mark [X] one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be.

[ ] White [ ] Black, African Am., or Negro [ ] Indian (Amer.) or Alaska Native - Print name of enrolled or principal tribe. _______________________________________________________________

[ ] Native Hawaiian [ ] Filipino [ ] Korean [ ] Asian Indian [ ] Guamanian or Chamorro [ ] Samoan [ ] Chinese [ ] Japanese [ ] Vietnamese [ ] Other Asian or Pacific Islander - Print race. _______________________________________________________________

[ ] Some other race - Print race. _______________________________________________________________

The estimated time per response for the entire six-question short form is 10 minutes.

Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. The comments will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

The Federal Register notice said comments should be directed to Linda Engelmeier, Departmental Forms Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 5327, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. Copies of the entire Federal Register notice may be obtained from the Public Information Office by telephoning 301-457-3030 (FAX: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov).

Proposed Trial Run: Race and Hispanic Questions