Census 2000 - 1998 Archives

NEWS ALERT - November 2, 1998

Ken Prewitt Sworn in As Census Director

The National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council has convened a new panel of experts to evaluate methods and operations through completion of the 2000 census. Dr. Janet Norwood, a former Commissioner of Labor Statistics and current member of the Academy's Committee on National Statistics, will chair the Panel to Review the 2000 Census. The nine panel members will evaluate the nature and objectivity of operational and technical decisions leading up to and during the census, including sampling and statistical estimation procedures. They will issue a final report after the 2000 census and may also issue interim reports as needed.

The new panel is the fourth convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) since the 1990 count to examine aspects of census design, preparation and implementation. The panel's first meeting will be held on November 9, starting at 10:30 a.m. If you would like further information or are interested in attending the meeting, please call Joshua Dick at CNSTAT, at (202)334-3096.

Census director takes office: Dr. Kenneth Prewitt was sworn in as director of the Census Bureau on October 23. The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Prewitt's nomination only hours before the 105th Congress adjourned on October 21. A public swearing-in ceremony will take place later this month.

In announcing the confirmation, Commerce Secretary William Daley called Dr. Prewitt "one of the country's most distinguished social scientists" and "a proven manager of complex non-profit and statistical organizations." Secretary Daley also praised James Holmes for "successfully guiding the Bureau at a very critical time." Mr. Holmes had served as Acting Director of the Census Bureau since February and will assist Dr. Prewitt during a transition period.

Census Monitoring Board hearings: The Census Monitoring Board will hold several hearings before the end of the year. On Friday, November 6, the Board will review the progress of census preparations and a series of reports compiled by the Commerce Department's Office of the Inspector General. New Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt, former Acting Director James Holmes and Associate Director for Decennial Census John Thompson will participate in the hearing. The meeting will be held in room 2203 Rayburn House Office Building (Washington, D.C.), from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On November 23, the Board will hold a hearing at Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, MD, to examine a variety of census methods including the use of administrative records to identify people who may have been missed by conventional counting methods such as the mailed questionnaire or door-to-door visits. The time of this hearing has not been announced. The Board will hold a third hearing on December 16 in Sacramento, CA, one of the dress rehearsal sites.

The Board must submit a report to Congress on February 1, 1999; another report is due on April 1, 1999. The Board is housed at Census Bureau headquarters; the staff may be reached at (301)457-9900 (Presidentially-appointed members) or (301)457-5080 (Republican congressional appointees).

Census preparations: The Census Bureau's advisory committees held a joint meeting on October 26 to discuss the paid advertising campaign for the 2000 census. Last year, the Bureau awarded a $100 million contract to Young & Rubicam (Y & R) for a national ad campaign to encourage census participation. In 1990, the Bureau relied solely on public service announcements to promote the census. Y & R recently announced that it is seeking a new subcontractor to develop advertising aimed at African American communities.

Stakeholder activities: Census stakeholders continued to feature the importance of an accurate census as conferences and meetings in October. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations featured the census in a keynote speech at its annual conference. Juanita Tamayo Lott, of the Census Bureau's 2010 census planning office, emphasized the importance of census participation to the audience of Filipino American civic, business, professional and student leaders.

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) devoted several sessions at its annual conference to census issues. Presentations included a lively discussion about census reform by former Census Bureau directors Barbara Bryant and Marty Riche and an update on congressional activity affecting the census. Tom Hofeller, staff director of the House census subcommittee, discussed the concerns of lawmakers who oppose the use of sampling methods to conduct the count.

The Urban Coalition, a St. Paul, MN-based research and advocacy group that works with low-income and minority communities, also featured census issues at its annual conference. Topics included the role of local governments in promoting an accurate census, tabulation of multiple responses to the race question, and the shift to electronic dissemination of census data. Organizations Concerned About Rural Education (OCRE) received a briefing on the difficulties of conducting the census in rural areas and discussed ways that local educators, businesses, and community-based organizations can help promote the importance of an accurate count in these communities.

Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 484-2270 or, by e-mail at <terriann2k@aol.com>.

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Vol. 2 - No. 35      July 9, 1998

The following is a statement on the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal by James F. Holmes, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, which was sent to the news media on July 8, 1998:

"The Census Bureau is winding up the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal, held in Sacramento, Calif., Columbia, S.C., and 11 surrounding counties, and in Menominee County, Wis. I am pleased to report that we have met or exceeded our expectations in each site.

"The Dress Rehearsal will provide valuable input to making decisions about the operations and methodology to be used in Census 2000. We successfully used a telephone questionnaire assistance system, which for the first time allowed callers to provide their census information over the phone.

"Another important challenge successfully met involved hiring and retaining sufficient field staff to visit those addresses that did not mail back their questionnaires. This proved to be less difficult than we had anticipated. As a result, we were able to finish this important work on schedule, which will help us complete the entire Dress Rehearsal on time and within budget.

"There were some questions about the use of laptop computers for the quality control phase of the Dress Rehearsal. But our temporary field staff successfully used this technology and this will help us evaluate the use of laptops in the larger-scale Census 2000 operation.

"We also are pleased to have had a successful dry run, in 'real time' conditions, of the scanning equipment that will be used to process Census 2000 questionnaires. The ability to digitally capture information from questionnaires will improve both the accuracy and speed of the census.

"The purpose of the Dress Rehearsal has been met -- to shake down the methodologies planned for Census 2000 and find the remaining challenges so they can be overcome in the time remaining before Census 2000. The success of the Dress Rehearsal shows that we are well on the way to a successful Census 2000."

For further information about this bulletin, contact J. Paul Wyatt of the Public Information Office on 301-457-3052 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov).

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Vol. 2 - No. 28      May 8, 1998

Following a decision taken at the last meeting of the Secretary of Commerce's 2000 Census Advisory Committee last March 21-22, Committee Chair Ann Azari, mayor of Fort Collins, Colo., sent the following letter to Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley:

April 17, 1998

Secretary William M. Daley Department of Commerce Washington, DC 20233

Dear Mr. Secretary:

During the March meeting of the 2000 Census Advisory Committee, many members raised concerns over several key issues. Because we are the Commerce Secretary's 2000 Census Advisory Committee, I write this letter to relay those concerns to you.

In light of on-going public debate, not only on Capitol Hill, but in the media, among statisticians, and throughout the land, we feel strongly that not only the credibility of the Census Bureau, but the census itself is at stake. There needs to be reinforcement that the Census Bureau is a credible, capable, professional organization within the Department of Commerce. The Census Bureau is the best in class at what they do. People come from all over the world to learn from the Census Bureau. We have to remember that this organization needs to keep about its business of doing the census right.

The advisory Committee is deeply concerned with the uncertainty regarding the method for conducting Census 2000. The Census Bureau, based upon expert scientific advice, is planning for a process that includes the use of statistical methods in order to conduct a Census that is both more accurate and less costly that prior censuses. At the same time, members of Congress have raised concerns about the operational feasibility, legality, and reliability of the Census Bureau's plans. We understand that the intense debate over the method for conducting Census 2000 may have resulted in a delay in the ultimate decision until at least February 1999. In order to be prepared and make the best decision, complete, accurate, and timely information is critical. Therefore, the Advisory Committee urges the Secretary to prepare and provide the maximum amount of information to the Congress as is needed in order to make an intelligent and informed determination.

It is important to keep in mind an historical perspective as we look at this. It isn't the first time that the Census Bureau has been in controversy. For the 1970 decennial census, the Census Bureau wanted to conduct a "mail out/mail back" enumeration. This enumeration methodology was controversial because it hadn't been tested on a nation-wide basis. It wasn't until late in the decade that the Census Bureau even knew it was going to be permitted to use that methodology. In a sense, just like with Sampling for Nonresponse Follow-Up today, nobody knew that 'Mail out/mail back" would absolutely work in this context. Historical perspective reminds us that the Census Bureau can weather its way through such controversy and that the Census Bureau does have a record of innovation.

"We must not forget the basic building blocks that have to be in place up front to do the census right. Public awareness needs to begin now. Things such as outreach, promotion, involvement of communities, address lists, and partnerships are critical to the process. Things that only a permanent Director can effectively help guide the Census Bureau through. To that end, we strongly urge that prompt action be taken toward the nomination of a permanent Director for the Census Bureau.

As Census 2000 draws ever closer, the Advisory Committee remains focused. We look to you to maximize information sharing so that we can continue to remain focused and are best able to advise you on the conduct and implementation of Census 2000


(signed) Ann Azari, Chair 2000 Census Advisory Committee

For further information about this bulletin, contact J. Paul Wyatt on 301-457-3052 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pio@census.gov).

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Vol. 2 - No. 27      May 4, 1998

The Secretary of Commerce on April 27 delivered to key members of the Congress responsible for overseeing or appropriating money for Census 2000 a binder and/or a CD-ROM containing the status of current planning for a census that does not include scientific sampling. U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., chair of the House appropriations subcommittee that controls the Census Bureau's budget, had requested such a report of Commerce Secretary William Daley earlier this spring.

The following are excerpts from the executive summary:

"Even with these improvements, the Census Bureau has concluded that a 2000 census without scientific sampling would likely produce a net undercount and other errors at least as great as those in 1990. Moreover, simply replicating the 1990 census would produce a net undercount and other errors greater than in 1990. In large part, this reflects certain societal trends that are expected to continue through 2000, most notably, declining response rates, more rapid growth of those groups of the population hardest to count, and the limited pool of qualified workers available to work as enumerators. As a result of growth in the population, and faster growth of groups with higher undercount rates, just to repeat the 1990 census methods again in 2000 would lead to an estimated net undercount of 5 million people or 1.9 percent.

"...the November 1997 legislation directed the Bureau to develop an alternative plan that would achieve as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible but without the use of scientific sampling. ...until the design for such an alternative plan is completed in consultation with Congress, the Census Bureau cannot estimate precisely what the total cost of such a census would be."

For further information about this bulletin, contact LaVerne Collins on 301-457-3100 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: LaVerne.C.Collins@ccMail.census.gov).

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Vol. 2 - No. 18      April 2, 1998

On March 30, the Census Bureau submitted to Congress, as required by law, the actual questions it intends to ask all residents of the United States in Census 2000. The following is the news release that discusses this milestone in the census process:

"Census 2000 Questions Fewest in 180 Years; 10 Minutes to Fill Out Short Form, Census Bureau Says

"The Commerce Department's Census Bureau today submitted to Congress the proposed questions for Census 2000 _ seven on the short form and 52 on the long form. The short form has the fewest questions since 1820 when U.S. marshals took the census on horseback.

"'The proposed short form will take an average of 10 minutes to complete and is a key element in the Census Bureau's plan to conduct the most efficient, cost-effective census in the nation's history,' said James Holmes, acting director of the Census Bureau.

"The 1990 census short form had 13 questions and took 14 minutes to fill out.

"The Census 2000 long form, which goes to roughly one-sixth of the nation's population, contains 52 questions, five fewer than 1990. Filling it out takes an average of 38 minutes, Holmes said. In 1990, the 57-question long form took an average of 43 minutes to fill out.

"Noting that under the Constitution, the census of population determines the number of representatives from each state in the U.S. House of Representatives, Holmes said, 'Why, then, does the Census Bureau ask some people questions about their homes, jobs, schooling and even how they get to work?

"'The short answer,' he said, 'is that the principle of accuracy, the basis for establishing the census in 1790, still holds true today.

"'Just as the `founding fathers' sought an accurate way of distributing the House seats, so, too, have modern legislators turned to the decennial census as the primary basis for an accurate distribution of fiscal resources under a wide range of federal, state, local and tribal programs.'

"The subjects for the census, announced one year ago, cover everything from age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, household relationship and whether the person owns or rents (short-form subjects) to citizenship, ancestry, language spoken at home, plumbing and kitchen facilities, house heating fuel and vehicles available (long-form subjects).

"The Census 2000 questionnaire includes only one new subject (covered in question 19 on the long form), referring to grandparents as care-givers. This three-part question, mandated by a 1996 law, is designed to distinguish between households in which a grandparent temporarily provides a home for a grandchild for a few weeks or months and households in which the grandparent provides a home for a grandchild on a more permanent basis.

"One question changed since 1990 is the one on race. The Census Bureau's question (No. 6), which should be answered for the whole population, conforms to the revised standards for racial classifications announced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last October. The response options to the race question are as follows:

"White "Black, African American or Negro; "American Indian or Alaska Native (includes space to write in tribe)

"Asian Indian "Chinese "Filipino "Japanese "Korean "Vietnamese "Other Asian (includes space for write-ins)

"Native Hawaiian "Guamanian or Chamorro "Samoan "Other Pacific Islander (includes space for write-ins)

"Some Other Race (includes space for write-ins).

"The OMB standards permit respondents to report more than one race, so the instructions on the questionnaire say, "Mark one or more ...." OMB is expected to announce later this year how multiple responses to the race question should be tabulated.

"All of the questions on the 2000 questionnaire were either mandated (i.e., federal law explicitly called for decennial census data) or required (i.e., federal law explicitly called for data and the decennial census was the only or historical source or there are case law requirements imposed by the U.S. federal court system).

"This means, then, that the Census Bureau has not recommended questions on children ever born, source of water, sewage disposal and condominium status, and has changed "year last worked" from a detailed question to an abbreviated "screener" question used to reduce respondent burden and define the experienced civilian labor force.

"The questionnaires, featuring larger type, pictorial representations illustrating the benefits of the census for individuals and their communities, and instructions on the questionnaire rather than in a separate guide as in 1990, are easier to read and understand.

"Respondents are asked to list the names of all the persons living in each household on Census Day, April 1, 2000. The forms have room to report the full set of demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics for five persons. However, there also is space to report the names of up to seven additional household members, a total of 12 people. The Census Bureau will mail additional questionnaires to those households that indicate they have more than five household members.

"A contract to print the questionnaires is scheduled to be awarded in November of this year. A decision about what other languages besides English the forms should be translated into will be made in June."

For further information about this bulletin, contact J. Paul Wyatt on 301-457-3052 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pwyatt@census.gov).

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Vol. 2 - No. 16      March 31, 1998

This is the third in a four-part series of excerpts from the testimony of Acting Census Bureau Director James F. Holmes before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Census on March 26. In today's installment, Holmes gives an overview of the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal evaluations.


"The Dress Rehearsal evaluation program has been designed to accomplish several major objectives, including: 1) operationally demonstrating field and office procedures and systems, 2) demonstrating the integration of methods, procedures, and systems in a "real-life" census environment, 3) validating the plan for Census 2000, 4) providing information about the coverage of persons and housing units and the completeness and quality of the data collected, and 5) testing components of a nonsample census.

"The components of the evaluation program include a Mid-Term Status Report, which will include reports on the cost, timing, and completion rates of Dress Rehearsal activities at different points in time; Quality Assurance Checkpoints, which will be used to monitor Dress Rehearsal processes and to signal when extra efforts are needed to ensure the process continues to operate as planned; and the Evaluations, which will provide information on how good the census results are in terms of statistical and other measures of quality.

"The evaluations will cover questionnaire and mail-out issues, the Master Address File, coverage measurement, coverage improvement operations, promotion and partnership, resolving multiple responses, the nonresponse follow-up operation, the field infrastructure, and technology.

"For Census 2000, we have suspended development of the second mailing or the replacement questionnaire because concerns have been raised about the potential negative effects of the blanket mailing. First, there is concern that an adverse public reaction to receiving a second form could actually lower mail response. Second, a blanket mailing increases the possibility that we would receive numerous duplicate forms, thereby overloading our unduplication system. We plan to conduct the blanket mailing strategy during the Dress Rehearsal to assess the extent of potential positive or negative effects.

"During the Dress Rehearsal, we will conduct a number of evaluations designed to improve our rules for detecting and dealing with duplicate enumerations. Duplications have occurred in all past censuses, even when we tightly controlled the distribution of questionnaires, and we realize that we have an even bigger challenge this time because we are committed to "bringing the census to the people." We must keep in mind the results of 1990, when multiple opportunities to respond to the census were not available and we controlled questionnaires so tightly that if a person did not receive a questionnaire in the mail, they had to wait several weeks for a personal visit from an enumerator. That is unacceptable, especially when we are bombarding people with messages about how important it is to be counted."

For further information concerning this bulletin, contact J. Paul Wyatt, of the Census Bureau's Public Information Office, on 301-457-3052 (fax: 301-457-3670; e-mail: pwyatt@census.gov).

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Vol. 2 - No. 14      March 27, 1998

On Thursday, March 26, the Census Bureau's Acting Director James F. Holmes testified for the first time before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Census. Over the next several days, we will provide excerpts from that testimony divided by the subjects that he covered. These include: general comments on the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal and schedule; special procedures for the South Carolina dress rehearsal site; dress rehearsal evalution plans; and the status of address-list updating.

Dress Rehearsal: Purpose and Goals

"Mr. Chairman, as the name implies, the Dress Rehearsal is designed to work out the kinks in the census plan with the full expectation there will be kinks. I view the Dress Rehearsal as a census in miniature. While we have tested certain parts of the plan, the Dress Rehearsal is our first opportunity to see how well all of the pieces fit together. The Dress Rehearsal will be a success if it provides us with information about what worked well and what didn't and how to fix those things that didn't work well. Its success or failure should not be judged on how well a particular operation or operations are performed but on what we learn from that. That is the function our Dress Rehearsals have always served, and I understand that we've had them going back at least to the 1930's. Since we all agree that the decennial census is the largest peacetime activity our country conducts, it just doesn't make sense to take a $4 billion census without walking through the plan to see if modifications are required.

"The need to plan for two census designs is an added complication but our plans for the Dress Rehearsal are fully responsive to last fall's compromise and, while this is no small task, I believe we are equipped to handle the extra burden this year.

"The three sites in the Dress Rehearsal provide a comprehensive environment for demonstrating and refining planned Census 2000 operations and activities. They reflect characteristics that will provide a good operational demonstration of Census 2000 procedures and systems.

"--Our large urban site is the city of Sacramento, California.

"--The small city/suburban/rural site consists of 11 counties in an area near and including Columbia, South Carolina.

"--Our American Indian Reservation site is the Menominee American Indian Reservation, which is basically contiguous with Menominee County, Wisconsin."

Dress Rehearsal: Schedule

"As you are aware, due to the delays in receiving funding last fall, we had to postpone the Dress Rehearsal Census Day from April 4 to April 18. We also had delays in starting work under the paid advertising contract, in purchasing equipment for testing our data processing system, and in the printing of our questionnaires. The impasse also set back work on address list development for Census 2000 as well as the hiring of partnership specialists and production of supporting materials. However, all preparatory activities for the Dress Rehearsal--mapping, address listing, local update of addresses, opening and staffing offices, and printing questionnaires--have been completed.

"Questionnaires are being hand delivered now to households by enumerators in the parts of the South Carolina site that do not have city-style addresses and on the Menominee Reservation. This operation began in mid-March and will continue until just before Census Day.

"In Sacramento and the areas of the South Carolina site with city-style addresses, questionnaires will be delivered in the next week, about 2 ½ weeks before Census Day. A second mailing of questionnaires will go out about April 15 in the areas with city-style addresses and 'Be Counted' forms will be available in all three sites a day after that. By May 14, we expect to begin following up in all three sites on those households that do not return a questionnaire.

"Even though we started the Dress Rehearsal 2 weeks late, we still plan to issue the results by December 31, 1998. We plan to issue the "report card" on the standards for each site and for Dress Rehearsal operations by January 31, 1999, to assist in validating and finalizing the Census 2000 plan."

For further information, contact J. Paul Wyatt of the Census Bureau's Public Information Office on 301-457-3052.

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Vol. 2 - No. 12      March 13, 1998

The following news release issued today announces the start of the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal:

Census Bureau to Mail Forms for Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal

The Commerce Department's Census Bureau said today it will mail out forms for the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal to residents of Sacramento, Calif., 11 counties around Columbia, S.C. and the Menominee American Indian Reservation in Wisconsin by April 1.

The Census Bureau encouraged respondents to mail back their questionnaires as soon as possible or by "Census Day," April 18.

As the dress rehearsal approached, the Census Bureau was putting the final touches on its plans, hiring workers and strengthening partnerships with local government and nongovernmental agencies.

Under the November 1997 compromise between Congress and the Administration, the Census Bureau is developing the capability to design a nonsampling census approach. In Sacramento and Menominee, the dress rehearsal will demonstrate the Census Bureau plan, including the use of scientific sampling. In South Carolina components of a nonsampling census will be tested. A final decision on which method to use in Census 2000 will come in early 1999.

In the dress rehearsal, as in the decennial census, the Census Bureau will form partnerships with governmental, tribal, educational and religious organizations, foundations, trade unions and community action and advocacy groups to help promote Census 2000. Also being rehearsed at the three sites will be ways to increase awareness of Census 2000, to recruit local temporary workers, to form local answer-the-census committees and to encourage prompt mail-back response to the census questionnaire.

The Census Bureau will try out a new Data Capture System during the dress rehearsal. This new technology will enable the Census Bureau to electronically "read" the information on the completed census form, significantly reducing the cost and time needed to have clerks key the data into the Census Bureau's computers.

The Data Access and Dissemination System (DADS) also will be tested. DADS will be the principal method of disseminating Census 2000 data, allowing users to access predefined products as well as to generate custom tabulations on the Internet.

The Census Bureau, for the first time, is using a paid advertising campaign, through a contract with the Young & Rubicam (Y&R) advertising agency and four partner agencies _ specializing in outreach to the Hispanic, Asian, African American and American Indian populations. Y&R and its partners will develop and implement an advertising campaign for the three dress rehearsal sites and for the decennial census. The goal of the overall campaign is to increase initial mail returns of census questionnaires nationwide from the general public, targeted audiences and historically undercounted populations.

Finally, the dress rehearsal will demonstrate ways to promote the "Census in the Schools" project. Census Bureau officials believe that effectively communicating the importance of the census to school children will help it reach a large segment of the U.S. population.

For further information, contact the Census 2000 Publicity Office on 301-457-2000 (fax: 301-457-2992).

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Vol. 2 - No. 11      March 4, 1998

Between Feb. 10 and 17, the Census Bureau mailed packets of information to officials in more than 39,000 governmental jurisdictions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announcing the start of the Local Update of Census Addresses program and asking for the jurisdictions' cooperation in reviewing address lists and updating census maps.

The addresses for the jurisdictions (cities, counties, minor civil divisions and American Indian tribal governments) were generated from a Census Bureau database. Fourteen variations of the letter, tailored to the various types of jurisdictions, were mailed. Regional Office directors signed letters for the jurisdictions in their regions. The packets consisted of a cover letter, registration forms and a flyer.

Excerpts from the letter sent to jurisdictions with both city-style and non-city-style addresses follow:

Dear Local Official:

"... As you may know, the address list plays a vital role in Census 2000. It serves as the basis for 1) delivering questionnaires to households, 2) determining when we have completed data collection activities, and 3) assuring that each individual is included in the totals for their respective governmental jurisdiction. ...

"Unlike recent censuses, there is no plan for a post-census local review program in which local governments review housing unit counts after the census. Instead, the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program allows local officials to review the Census Bureau's list of individual addresses before we use the list to deliver census questionnaires. ...

".... For areas with predominantly city-style mailing addresses, we have obtained addresses from the United States Postal Service. This portion of the address list will be available for your review soon. For other areas, we will send census employees to canvass blocks and record addresses beginning in November 1998. This portion of the address list will be available for your review in 1999. Because of this dual approach to creating the address file, we need your assistance now in two separate activities.

"--Review our address list for areas with city-style addresses. In previous censuses, we were restricted by Federal law from letting local officials see the address list, which frustrated many officials and may have contributed to a less complete census. This changed with the passage of the Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994. Although the information must remain confidential and can be used only for the purpose of taking the census, local officials now can review it and inform us of errors. ...

"--Update our maps with information about new roads, road names and other needed changes. Census employees will use these maps to record the address and census block location for each housing unit in areas of your jurisdiction without city-style mailing addresses. ...

"If you have provided us with road corrections or updates in the past through one of our geographic programs, it is not necessary to provide them again. If, however, you have not provided us with map updates previously, or if there have been recent changes to your area, we welcome your assistance now. The Census Bureau is in the process of mailing the 1998 Boundary and Annexation Survey maps to your certifying official. Please record new roads and other corrections on that set of maps. For new roads to be included on the maps our employees will use to list addresses, we need to receive the changes by May 4, 1998. ...


"Regional Director"

(For further information, contact Cathy McCully, chief of the Address-List Review Branch, Geography Division, on 301-457-1100.)

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Vol. 2 - No. 10      March 3, 1998

The Census Bureau recently announced the selection of Scholastic Inc., a publisher of classroom educational materials for more than 75 years, to conduct a nationwide "Census in the Schools" project in support of Census 2000. Today's Census 2000 Bulletin consists of excerpts from the news release:

Census Bureau Selects Scholastic for Census 2000 Educational Project

The Commerce Department's Census Bureau today announced the selection of Scholastic Inc. to conduct a nationwide "Census in the Schools" project under the aegis of Census 2000 advertising contractor Young & Rubicam Inc.

"Scholastic is a leader in the educational-publishing field," said Acting Census Bureau Director James F. Holmes, in making the announcement. "With classroom lessons, take-home materials and articles in Scholastic publications, we can raise both the students' and their parents' awareness of the upcoming census."

The Census in the Schools project is part of the Census Bureau's strategy to encourage mail response in Census 2000. Holmes said that effectively communicating the importance of the census to school children will help the Census Bureau reach a large segment of the U.S. population.

By the year 2000, when the next census will be taken, the United States will have:

-Nearly 54 million school-age children -- 7 million more than in 1990.

-More than 33 million families with children under 18, representing nearly half of all families.

-More than 900,000 school-age children in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In many households where adults do not speak English, school-age children often act as translators.

Holmes said the Census in the Schools project will seek the aid of classroom teachers, giving them with free educational materials that use census data and concepts in existing core curricula. The project will encompass not only grades K through 12, but also Head Start and adult education programs, English-as-a-Second-Language programs and citizenship classes. By including adults in the Census in the Schools project, the Census Bureau hopes to improve response rates among groups that otherwise might be reluctant to fill out their census forms.

The educational publishing company will work closely with Young & Rubicam, which was awarded the general advertising contract for Census 2000 last November.

Scholastic will prepare and distribute materials for students, teachers and parents over the course of the campaign. It also will promote the census on its online network, as well as in editorials and announcements in teacher editions of classroom magazines and in articles in Scholastic classroom magazines.

Scholastic is a leading publisher and distributor of children's books, classroom and professional magazines and other educational products. It also publishes educational software and produces children's and family-oriented video and television programming.

For further information, contact the Census 2000 Publicity Office on 301-457-3014.

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Vol. 2 - No. 9      Feb.23, 1998

As part of the FY 1998 appropriations compromise agreement between the Administration and Congress, the Census Bureau will use statistical sampling and estimation to arrive at totals for the Census 2000 dress rehearsals in Sacramento, Calif., and the Menominee American Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, but not for the third site -- 11 rural counties in South Carolina.

In Sacramento and the Menominee Reservation, the Census Bureau will demonstrate its entire Census 2000 plan, including previously tested statistical sampling techniques. In the South Carolina site, the Census Bureau will look closely at workforce considerations and its ability to attract and retain a large staff for Census 2000. In addition, it will employ some procedural enhancements, including increases in partnership activities, quality assurance for data collection operations and marketing and promotion activities.

A description of the key features of the nonsampling methodology that the Census Bureau will use in South Carolina follows:

Nonresponse follow-up The Census Bureau will conduct follow-up visits to all housing units that do not respond to the mailout of questionnaires. To allow adequate time for conducting a 100-percent follow-up on nonresponding housing units, it will allocate eight weeks to the operation, two more than the time planned for the sample follow-up. Increasing the hiring peak above the initial plan will allow the Census Bureau to examine its ability to attract and retain a large staff. Enumerators will visit nonresponse households until at least a partial interview can be obtained.

Undeliverable-as-addressed follow-up In the mailout/mailback portion of the South Carolina operation, the U.S. Postal Service will identify addresses that are "undeliverable-as-addressed." It will conduct follow-up visits at all postal-return housing units during and as part of the nonresponse follow-up operation. Staff will visit these addresses to determine their true status. Whether occupied or vacant, they will be enumerated. If the addresses are confirmed to be nonexistent housing units, commercial units or duplicates, they will be deleted from the address list.

Coverage edit follow-up The Census Bureau will conduct a 100-percent telephone follow-up of all mail returns with household-size discrepancies. This operation will not include a personal visit to the housing unit.

Field operations quality assurance To improve quality, the Census Bureau will increase the number of field supervisory staff in order to expand the number of spot checks of enumerators' work during the update/leave and nonresponse follow-up operations.

Partnerships Adding another partnership specialist will allow for a more intensive effort to improve coverage and response in populations that may otherwise not respond. The partnership specialists work with local governments, identify and establish relationships with community groups and increase local and media outreach.

Advertising/media coverage To improve response rates, the Census Bureau will expand the scope of its paid-advertising activities. It will intensify the media efforts and expand the use of targeted, nontraditional paid advertising during the nonresponse follow-up operation.

Be Counted The Be Counted operation, in which census questionnaires are made available at locations such as libraries, post offices and other public buildings for those who may not receive them through the mail, will be extended to continue until the beginning of the nonresponse follow-up operation in the field.

For further information, contact the Census 2000 Publicity Office on 301-457-3014.

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Vol. 2 - No. 8      Feb. 19, 1998

The following article appeared in the trade publication, Federal Computer Week, last Feb. 2:

2000 Census TRW wins $187M data center contract

By Colleen O'Hara Available at www.fcw.com

With the 2000 census about two years away, the Census Bureau awarded late last month a $187 million services contract to TRW Inc. to build the centers and operate the equipment that will read more than 1 billion pages of census forms.

The Data Capture Services Contract (DCSC) represents the first time the Census Bureau has outsourced the management of the data centers, opting before to do the work itself.

"For the 1990 census we did it ourselves, but after that we decided not to compete with industry," said Bill Starr, the contracting officer's technical representative at the Census Bureau. "It's been the direction of the Census Bureau that we would contract this out because industry can do it, and we didn't have the resources to do it ourselves."

Under the DCSC contract, TRW will design, build and equip three data centers, which includes installing local-area networks and videoconferencing systems, as well as hire and train about 6,000 temporary workers to staff the centers for four months.

TRW's task is to recruit, hire and train employees and manage the operations of the data centers, Starr said. TRW will train workers to scan census forms to convert the data into digital format so that it can be transmitted back to Census Bureau headquarters for tabulation.

Each center will house a Data Capture System 2000 developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. under a separate contract awarded in March last year. TRW will train temporary workers on how to use DCS 2000, which will scan forms using optical mark recognition and optical character recognition engines and then convert the images to ASCII text. If the images cannot be recognized by the engines, workers will manually key the data into the system.

Completed census forms will start arriving at the data centers soon after they are sent out in March 2000, and all the data-capture activities must be completed by July 1.

A report must be sent to the president by the end of the year. The final figures are used to allocate the number of seats for each state in the House of Representatives, as well as funding for local programs.

Work under DCSC will begin right away. "Our first task is to select the cities and sites where the centers will be located," said Hank Beebe, the program manager for DCSC at TRW. "We will put facilities under lease this summer and then build them out to make them appropriate for the [job]. The government will then deliver the [DCS 2000 system], and we will conduct a dry run and acceptance of the system through fall and winter 1999. We will start hiring after the first of the year 2000."

Beebe said there could be as many as 15,000 people interviewed for the temporary positions that need to be filled. TRW plans to look to universities, small and disadvantaged businesses, Welfare to Work programs and other sources to fill the need.

Edward Spar, executive director of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, said the approach the Census Bureau is taking on outsourcing DCSC should save money in the long run. "It's an excellent strategy to rely on people [who] have expertise in a specific area," Spar said. "This way the government doesn't get involved in the overhead."

TRW's teammates include Computer Sciences Corp., DynCorp, National Computer Systems, Troy Systems and Burnsen McDonald. A team led by Electronic Data Systems Corp. was the other bidder on the contract.

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Vol. 2 - No. 6      Feb. 13, 1998

On Thursday, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta-based public-interest law firm, announced it had filed suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., asking that the Clinton Administration's plans to use statistical sampling to supplement traditional methods in Census 2000 be declared unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs, including U.S. Rep. Robert Barr (R-Ga.), also asked the court to "permanently enjoin defendants from taking any further action to implement any plan which does not attempt to count 100 percent of the population or which utilizes statistical sampling ...." The suit further asks the court to "require defendants to do an actual count of the population."

The plaintiffs asked the court to convene a three-judge panel to rule on these matters.

Named as defendants in the suit were President Clinton, Commerce Secretary William Daley and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Andrew Pincus, general counsel of the U.S. Commerce Department, of which the Census Bureau is a part, issued the following statement:

"This Administration is committed to conducting the most accurate census possible, using the best, most up-to-date, scientific methods. Census 2000 will count the millions of children and minorities that were missed in 1990, and it will make the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. It complies fully with both the Constitution and the laws affecting the census. The judicious use of sampling as one element of the decennial census has been upheld by numerous courts and by the Bush, Carter and Clinton Justice Departments. We look forward to proving the legality of sampling in court.

"When President Clinton signed the bill authorizing legal challenges to the census plan, he pointed out that 'the Department of Justice is obligated to challenge any suits that fail to meet applicable justiciability requirements,' We do not know whether this court will have the constitutional authority to rule on the legal issues raised by the plaintiffs. We are studying the complaint, and the Justice Department will file a response within the time permitted by the court."

For further information, contact M. Anthony Phipps on 202-482-4883.

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Vol. 2 - No. 5      Jan. 30, 1998

The following is the text of a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce today:

Washington, D.C. - Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced today that James F. Holmes will be named acting director of the Census Bureau. Mr. Holmes is currently the director of the Census Bureau's Atlanta regional office.

"Jim Holmes brings with him 30 years of experience working in the Census Bureau," said Secretary Daley. "He has worked in the trenches on the three previous decennial censuses as both a survey statistician and a regional manager. I am very pleased to have a person with hands-on experience to lead the Census Bureau forward as we conduct the planning, rehearsal and implementation of a more accurate, less costly census."

"I know Jim will do an excellent job until a new, permanent director is in place," added Daley. "Naming an outstanding, first-rate permanent director will receive the highest priority."

Mr. Holmes began his career with the Census Bureau in 1968 as a survey statistician and then survey coordinator in the Detroit regional office. Since then, he has held managerial positions in the regional offices of Kansas City and Los Angeles, and was director of the Philadelphia regional office. In his current position as director of the Atlanta office, Mr. Holmes is responsible for all the data collection and dissemination activities of the Census Bureau for the states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

In addition to managing the regional office, Mr. Holmes was instrumental in developing the Census Bureau's first Computer Assisted Telephone Interview facility. He has also served as a member of the Census Bureau's Strategic Planning Committee (determining the focus of Census Bureau activities beyond the year 2000) and the Technical Committee for Census Design for Census 2000.

During his career with the Census Bureau, Mr. Holmes has won a variety of awards, including the Morehouse Research Institute's "Research in Action" award in 1996 and the Commerce Department's highest civil service honors, the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal awards.

Mr. Holmes replaces Dr. Martha Farnsworth Riche who has served as Census Bureau director since November 1995. Dr. Riche announced her resignation on January 12 of this year, and it becomes effective tomorrow. Mr. Holmes will serve as acting director until a new, permanent Census Bureau director is in place.

For further information, contact Mary F. Hanley or M. Anthony Phipps of the U.S. Commerce Department on 202-482-4883.

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Vol. 2 - No. 4      Jan. 29, 1998

Under the Census Bureau's 1998 budget appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last Nov. 26, an eight-member Census Monitoring Board was established "to observe and monitor all aspects of the preparation and implementation" of Census 2000, including the dress rehearsals. Four members were to be named by the Republican leadership in Congress and four by the Democratic President.

Each group has its own co-chair and is authorized to hire its own executive director. That means the board has two co-chairs and two executive directors. A quorum consists of five board members. (The board members receive no pay.) The executive directors, in turn, may hire their own staffs, as well as request the loan of career civil servants employed by the Commerce Department or any other federal agency for as long as they are needed. The board's term expires on Sept. 30, 2001.

According to Section 210 of the budget law, the board must submit to Congress the following: interim reports, with the first being due by April 1; additional reports due by Feb. 1, 1999, April 1, 1999, and at least semiannually after that; and a final report by Sept. 1, 2001.

The final report must contain "a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the board." Each report must address:

--"The degree to which efforts of the Bureau of the Census to prepare to conduct the 2000 census 1) shall achieve maximum possible accuracy at every level of geography; 2) shall be taken by means of an enumeration process designed to count every individual possible; and 3) shall be free from political bias and arbitrary decisions.

--"The efforts by the Census Bureau intended to contribute to enumeration improvement, specifically, in connection with 1) computer modernization and the appropriate use of automation; 2) address list development; 3) outreach and promotion efforts at all levels designed to maximize response rates, especially among groups that have historically been undercounted (including measures undertaken in conjunction with local government and community and other groups); 4) establishment and operation of field offices; and 5) efforts relating to the recruitment, hiring and training of enumerators."

The board's staff is to be housed at the Census Bureau's headquarters in Suitland, Md. The budget during its four-year life is $4 million a year. Meetings of the board may be called by either co-chair.

The board and its staff "shall be granted access to any data, files, information or other matters maintained by the Bureau of the Census (or received by it in the course of conducting a decennial census of population) which they may request, subject to such regulations as the board may prescribe in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce."

The board or its co-chairs acting jointly "may secure directly from any other federal agency, including the White House, all information that the board considers necessary to enable the board to carry out its duties." The law states that the monitoring board must abide by Title 13 provisions that protect the confidentiality of information provided by individual respondents.

For further information, contact Phil Sparks, the Census Bureau's associate director of communications, on 301-457-2158 (e-mail:Philip.L.Sparks@ccMail.Census.GOV).

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Vol. 2 - No. 3      Jan. 28, 1998

Todays' Census 2000 Bulletin consists of the latest Road to the United States Census 2000, an occasional publication designed primarily for members of the U.S. Congress. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Marks of the Census 2000 Publicity Office on 301-457-3135 (e-mail: Jennifer.P.Marks@ccMail.Census.GOV).

Message from the Director Martha Farnsworth Riche

Establishing Partnerships for Census 2000

This summer, the Bureau of the Census conducted partnership roll-out meetings in 14 sites across the country. Over 3,000 people from local and state governments, community groups, and businesses participated. These meetings were designed to open a two-way stream of information ó to publicize our plans and hear back from the people who might be partners for Census 2000. I also wanted to test the winds in the census-taking environment.

As part of our two-way conversation, I let partners know how they can help to get an accurate count in their communities. I call this our "bubble up" strategy. It describes a way to get local knowledge from partners into the census process. For example, the Census Bureau will mail questionnaires in various languages to communities where they are needed. A local group might identify a neighborhood with a large number of newly arrived immigrants and pass that information along to the regional office. Or, a local group might identify special places such as halfway houses or homes for battered women ó places where we would send an enumerator rather than rely on the mail-out, mail-back questionnaire. The same strategy would apply to offers of help whether they are offers of space, incentives for census workers, promotional messages, or endorsements and so on.

The fundamental challenge for Census 2000 is to engage the public in the census. I think of the census as a handshake. We put our hand out by getting a form in front of everyone ó one that is easy to fill out and tells people what they get out of it. But we can't make them shake our hand ó by filling out the form and mailing it in. Our partners can't make them do it either ó but they can bring the two together, by bringing their local knowledge to us and by helping persuade people to answer the census.

Governors Taking the Lead for Census 2000

Welfare-to-work, address list development, recruiting, and partnership activities are among the subjects being discussed with Governors' liaisons across the nation. Through the Census Bureau's Governors' Liaison Program, the planning of state-level activities for Census 2000 has begun. States will be developing their own plans to promote the census during the upcoming year.

One such meeting was convened by Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania. The two-day conference was the first step in creating a comprehensive report detailing Pennsylvania's action plan for the years preceding the census.

Update on Advertising and Census in the Schools Projects

Young & Rubicam, Inc. and a consortium of four partner agencies have been awarded a contract to develop and manage the advertising campaign for Census 2000. The partner agencies include Bravo (Hispanic markets), Mosaica (Asian markets), J. Curtis & Company (African American markets), and Gray & Gray Advertising (American Indian markets). This team was chosen from a group of very strong competing advertising firms because they demonstrated that they understood the challenge to count everyone and could do an excellent job.

Scholastic, Inc. has been selected to develop, market and distribute curriculum and promotional materials in support of Census 2000 to the nation's teachers and school children. Their extensive experience in developing successful educational materials and marketing them directly to teachers makes them the perfect partner for our Census in the Schools project.

Our goal is to reach the more than 33 million families with children as well as adults in English-as-a-Second Language programs, GED and in citizenship classes to persuade them to fill out their census questionnaires. The curriculum materials created by Scholastic will demonstrate how useful census data are and how easy it is to participate.

Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal Plans for South Carolina

Columbia and eleven surrounding counties (Richland, Newbery, Union, Chester, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Kershaw, Lee, Darlington, Marlboro, and Fairfield) will participate in a key Dress Rehearsal for Census 2000 in 1998. On Nov. 12, 1997, a dress rehearsal rollout meeting was held in Columbia. About 160 local governments and community organizations attended to hear about dress rehearsal plans and to discuss partnership opportunities. Organizations ranging from the local NAACP, county administrators, and neighborhood leaders to staff from local Congressional offices participated. Staff from Senators Thurmond's and Hollings' offices as well as from Representatives Clyburn's and Spratt's offices attended. The Governor's Liaison, Gene Beckman, welcomed everyone on behalf of the Governor and the citizens of the State of South Carolina.

A rollout for the Sacramento, CA dress rehearsal is scheduled for January.

Census Bureau Director Marty Riche Resigns

Jan.12, 1998 (Washington DC) - Census Bureau Director Martha "Marty" Farnsworth Riche today announced her resignation, citing personal reasons for her decision not to serve through the remainder of the second Clinton Administration. Dr. Riche, a founding editor of American Demographics magazine, was appointed Bureau director by President Clinton in 1994. Her resignation will be effective January 30. During her tenure, Dr. Riche unveiled the plan for the 2000 census, which included expanded partnerships with the private sector, reliance on state-of-the-art technologies, and increased opportunities to respond. The most controversial aspect of the 2000 census plan involves an expanded use of sampling and statistical techniques to complete the final ten percent of the count and to correct undercounts and overcounts. Some Members of Congress strongly oppose those elements of the census plan and have tried to prevent them through the legislative process. Dr. Riche said that she will lecture on demographics at Princeton University this semester; she did not announce other personal plans for the future. Shortly before the 1990 census, the Census Bureau was headed by an acting director until President Bush used a recess appointment to place Dr. Barbara Everitt Bryant in the position in December 1989. Dr. Bryant was confirmed by the Senate the following year, after the census was nearly completed. Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 434-8756 or, by e-mail, at <TerriAnnL@aol.com>.

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Vol. 2 - No. 2      Jan. 12, 1997

Martha Farnsworth Riche, director of the Census Bureau, today issued the following statement:

"Today I am announcing my resignation, effective January 30th, as Director of the Census Bureau. When I came to the Bureau as its Director in 1994, my main objective was to position the Bureau as the nation's pre-eminent collector of demographic and economic data for the Information Age and 21st Century.

To accomplish this objective, my primary goal as been to present a plan for Census 2000, which is cheaper, faster and more accurate than the 1990 decennial census. The Bureau has met that goal with a Census 2000 plan which includes scientific sampling to eliminate the persistent problem of undercounting.

I leave with a great deal of respect for the professionalism of the Census Bureau and its staff. I intend to resume my writing and lecturing career on demographic and economic changes."

Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley issued the following statement on the resignation of Dr. Martha Riche as director of the Census Bureau:

"I want to thank Dr. Riche for all the hard work she has done in preparing us for the 2000 census. She has devoted countless hours to the extensive groundwork required for this massive undertaking. The 2000 census will be the largest peacetime mobilization ever conducted by our nation, and we owe Dr. Riche an enormous debt of gratitude for all she has done to ensure its ultimate success. She has been an extremely dedicated, committed and effective public servant.

With respect to the census, my goal remains what it has been from the outset: to conduct the most accurate census ever. I have no higher priority, and no issue is more important to me."