From: Census2000 <Census2000(a)ccmc.org>
Lawmakers Highlight Bipartisan Support for Census 2000
As Bureau Prepares to Launch Promotional Campaign
Census Monitoring Board Issues Reports, Endorses Ad Campaign
The chairman and ranking minority member of a House panel that
oversees the census introduced a resolution that "recognizes the
importance of achieving a successful census in 2000 and encourages a
public partnership between Congress and the Census Bureau to promote
the decennial census," according to a letter sent to all
Representatives. Rep. Dan Miller (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney
(D-NY) also invited Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt to brief
legislators this week on ways to promote the census in their
districts. The Members-only briefing will be followed by a press
conference outside the Capitol featuring the director and interested
The Miller/Maloney 'sense of the Congress' resolution (House
Concurrent Resolution 193) highlights the importance of census
partnerships with state and local governments, civic organizations,
and community leaders, to encourage census participation. The bill
"reaffirms the spirit of cooperation that exists between Congress
and the Bureau of the Census with respect to achieving a successful
census." Since their appointment to the newly created Census
Subcommittee in 1998, Chairman Miller and Rep. Maloney have been on
opposite sides of the controversy over census methods. Rep. Miller
opposes the use of sampling while Rep. Maloney supports the Census
Bureau's plan to correct undercounts with statistical methods.
The press conference announcing the formation of a partnership
between Congress and the Census Bureau will take place on Wednesday,
October 13, at 12:30 p.m. on the 'House Triangle' (east plaza of the
Census Monitoring Board issues reports: The Census Monitoring Board
issued two reports recently, one reflecting the views of all panel
members, the other issued separately by the four members appointed
by the congressional Republican leadership. (There is one
Democratic vacancy on the Board, created when former co-chair Tony
Coelho resigned to head the Gore campaign. President Clinton has not
yet named a replacement.)
In its October 1st report to Congress, the full Board unanimously
endorsed the Census Bureau's paid advertising campaign, developed by
advertising agency Young & Rubicam. The campaign is "well
researched, well designed and is likely to achieve its objectives,"
the Board said. It noted that the advertising campaign is designed
to increase mail response to the census, not to eliminate the
disproportionate undercount of minorities and children that has
plagued previous censuses. Young & Rubicam subcontracted with four
firms to develop ads targeting minority communities.
The public awareness phase of the advertising campaign will begin in
November. (Print advertisements in the November issues of some
monthly magazines will hit newsstands in late October.) The Census
Bureau plans to unveil the ads publicly at an October 28th ceremony
in Washington, D.C. marking the official launch of Census 2000.
The four congressionally-appointed Board members issued a separate
report to Congress on September 30 entitled, "Unkept Promise:
Statistical Adjustment Fails to Eliminate Local Undercounts, as
Revealed by Evaluation of Severely Undercounted Blocks From the 1990
Census Plan." According to the report, "the ability of statistical
adjustment to correct the undercount has been wildly overstated."
Based on their analysis of the Post Enumeration Survey conducted
during the 1990 census, the Republican appointees concluded that
"[s] statistical adjustment will not correct large undercounts or
overcounts in small areas such as blocks and neighborhoods." In a
written statement, Rep. Carolyn Maloney called the report
"irrelevant," saying that the coverage evaluation program planned
for 2000 is more advanced than the 1990 version and that "for larger
areas, which are important for the allocation of program funds and
political representation, adjusted census data will be much more
The Census Monitoring Board reports are available electronically at
<http://www.cmbp.gov> (Presidential Members) and
<http://www.cmbc.gov> (Congressional Members), or by
calling the Board's offices at 301/457-9900 (Presidential) or
301/457-5080 (Congressional). The Board, created in late 1997 as
part of the Census Bureau's annual funding bill, is required to
report to Congress at least once every six months. It is set to
expire in September 2001.
Census content update: The final version of the Fiscal Year 2000
Transportation Appropriations bill (H.R. 2084), approved by both the
House and Senate last week, includes a provision supporting the
collection of information on 'marital status' from all American
households on the 2000 census short form. President Clinton signed
the measure into law this weekend.
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) offered the non-binding 'sense of the
Senate' language as an amendment when the Senate considered its
version of the spending bill in September. The provision states
that the Census Bureau "wrongfully decided" not to include a marital
status question on the short form sent to all households. In
explaining his amendment, Sen. Helms said, "Americans should be
disturbed that the U.S. Census Bureau obviously no longer regards
marriage as having any importance." The House did not vote
separately on the Helms language in adopting the House-Senate
conference committee version of the Transportation spending bill.
(Each chamber must approve 'conference bills' on an up or down vote
before sending a measure to the President for signature or veto;
amendments are not permitted.)
The census has asked about marital status since 1880. In 2000, the
information will be collected from a sample of households (one in
six) that receive the long form. The Census Bureau moved the
question to the long form after determining that federal agencies do
not need the data at the census block level.
Census funding update: House and Senate negotiators have not met
formally to reconcile differences between their respective versions
of the Commerce Department funding bill, which includes the Census
Bureau. Federal agencies not covered by spending bills already
signed into law continue to operate under a temporary funding
measure that runs through October 21.
GAO testifies about address development program: The U.S. General
Accounting Office (GAO) gave the Local Update of Census Addresses
(LUCA) program mixed reviews in testimony before the House
Subcommittee on the Census on September 29. Subcommittee members
also heard from Dr. Prewitt and representatives of several state,
county, and city governments that participated in the LUCA program.
According to the nonpartisan audit agency, local governments
participating in the 1998 address list review ('LUCA 1998') offered
7.74 million changes - including 5.4 million additions -- to the
Census Bureau's preliminaryaddress lists. Based on a survey of LUCA
1998 participants, the GAO testified that many local governments
were satisfied with LUCA materials and technical assistance but that
some governments rated these and other program components "less
favorably." "LUCA's overall impact on the accuracy and completeness
of the address list will not be fully known until after the census,"
the GAO concluded.
For copies of "2000 Census: Local Address Review Program Has Had
Mixed Results to Date" (GAO/T-GGD-99-184), call the GAO at
202/512-6000 (TDD: 202/512-2537) or visit its web site at
<http://www.gao.gov>. For copies of other testimony, call the
Subcommittee on the Census at 202/226-1937 (majority staff) or
202/225-5051 (minority staff).
Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be
directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at 202/484-2270 or, by e-mail at
terrian2k(a)aol.com . For copies of previous News Alerts and other
information, use our website www.census2000.org
<http://www.census2000.org>. Please direct all requests to receive
News Alerts, and all changes in address/phone/fax/e-mail, to the
Census 2000 Initiative at Census2000(a)ccmc.org or 202/326-8700.
Please feel free to circulate this information to colleagues and
other interested individuals.