April 22, 2009
PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES NOMINATION FOR COMMERCE
POST OVERSEEING CENSUS
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. Rebecca M. Blank, a
member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the Clinton
Administration, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.
The Under Secretary oversees the Commerce Department’s Economics and
Statistics Administration (ESA), which houses the U.S. Census Bureau and
the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The post requires Senate
confirmation; the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
will hold the confirmation hearing.
Dr. Blank currently is the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow at the Brookings
Institution in Washington, DC. Prior to that appointment last summer,
Dr. Blank was Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the
University of Michigan and co-director of the National Poverty Center.
She previously taught economics at Princeton, Northwestern, and Michigan.
According to a White House statement, Dr. Blank’s research has “focused
on the interactions between the macroeconomy, government policy, and the
behavior and well-being of American families.” Her work at Brookings
has focused on expanding research on education, labor markets, and
changing demography to inform public policy. She is the author of
several books, including It Takes A Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting
Poverty (1997), which won the Richard A. Lester Prize for the
Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations.
Dr. Blank holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the
University of Minnesota.
Support for Groves nomination: As the Senate Committee on Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs prepares for a confirmation hearing to
consider the nomination of Dr. Robert Groves to be the next Census
Director, a number of stakeholders have expressed their support for the
candidate to committee leaders. In a letter to Chairman Joseph
Lieberman (I-CT) urging quick committee action on the nomination, six
former directors of the U.S. Census Bureau, who served in both
Republican and Democratic administrations, described Dr. Groves as “one
of the half dozen most highly regarded survey research methodologists
not only in the United States but in the world.” (The full letter is
available on The Census Project web site at
Stakeholder organizations participating in The Census Project also sent
a letter of support for the nominee. Signers include the U.S.
Conference of Mayors, American Planning Association, Organization of
Chinese Americans, Consortium of Social Science Associations, and
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. (Go to
for a copy
of the full letter.)
The committee has not yet posted a date for the confirmation hearing.
New information on “hard to count” areas available for stakeholders:
The Census Project has posted several new tables on its web site
, Fact Sheets) showing the number and percent
of people living in so-called “hard-to-count” areas by State, as well as
the 50 counties with the largest number of people living in
hard-to-count areas and the highest percent of their populations in
these areas. The new Fact Sheets explain how the Census Bureau defines
hard-to-count areas; the analyses are based on 2000 census data from the
Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Planning Database, which the agency is using
to target outreach, promotion, and other resources in communities that
are at greater risk of an undercount.
Editor’s note: The April 2, 2009 (Issue #2) Census News Brief said
that, “the 1990 census was not adjusted for congressional apportionment
and redistricting and the allocation of federal program funds.” The
sentence should have read, “… the Census Bureau did not adjust the 1990
census for congressional apportionment and redistricting and allocation
of federal program funds.” During the 1990s, the Labor Department’s
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) decided to use adjusted 1990 population
counts to calibrate the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly
survey conducted by the Census Bureau for BLS. The CPS is the primary
source of government information on labor force characteristics,
producing estimates of employment, unemployment, earnings, and other key
indicators – some through frequent supplemental questions -- that might
be used in formulas to allocate federal funds.
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent
legislative and policy consultant working with a wide range of census
stakeholders to promote an accurate 2010 census. All views expressed in
the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions
about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at
TerriAnn2K(a)aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to
other interested individuals and organizations and to reprint any or all
of the information. Previous Census News Briefs are posted on the Census
Project web site, at www.thecensusproject.org
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