From: Census2000 <Census2000(a)ccmc.org>
President Nominates C. Louis Kincannon To Head Census Bureau
Plus: Congressional Hearing on Counting Americans Abroad;
Census Bureau Releases ACS Test Data for Nation & States;
Census Funding Update
On July 27, President Bush announced his intent to nominate Mr. C. Louis
Kincannon to be Census Bureau director. Mr. Kincannon served as the
Bureau's deputy director, a career civil service position, from 1982 to
1992. Twice during that period he assumed the post of Acting Director,
most notably in 1989 in the midst of final preparations for the 1990
decennial census. In late 1992, Mr. Kincannon left the Census Bureau to
become the first chief statistician in the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France, a position he held
until June 2000.
Mr. Kincannon, a native of Texas, began his career as a statistician at
the Census Bureau in 1963. His professional experience includes
statistical and regulatory policy work at the U.S. Office of Management
and Budget. He is the recipient of several awards for distinguished
civil service, including the Commerce Department's Gold Medal in 1985.
Mr. Kincannon is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and
pursued post-graduate studies in statistics and economics at several
Washington, D.C. area universities.
Rep. Dan Miller (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Census,
praised Mr. Kincannon as "eminently qualified to lead the Census Bureau"
and urged the Senate to act quickly on the nomination. Rep. William
"Lacy" Clay (D-MO), the subcommittee's senior Democrat, said he looked
forward to working with Mr. Kincannon to ensure improvements in the
Census Bureau's small area estimates program, the American Community
Survey, and recruitment of talented statistical and managerial staff.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), also a subcommittee member, said she hoped
the nominee "will be brave enough to put an end to the politicization of
the Census Bureau that has occurred" under the current Administration.
The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Sen. Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT), is charged with considering Mr. Kincannon's
nomination. The committee has not announced a timetable for a hearing
and confirmation vote.
House panel explores count of Americans abroad: On July 26, the House
Subcommittee on the Census held a hearing on the feasibility of counting
private American citizens living outside of the United States in future
censuses. One week earlier, the House adopted an amendment to the
Census Bureau's funding bill that designates $2.5 million to plan for
such a count in 2010.
Chairman Miller said that while there are legitimate reasons to include
Americans abroad in the census, he also had many questions about its
feasibility. Among the issues that must be addressed, the congressman
suggested, are how the Census Bureau would verify citizenship, and
whether the numbers would be used for apportionment, redistricting, and
the allocation of federal funds. [Note: The decennial census counts all
persons residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship or
Rep. Clay acknowledged a "groundswell in Congress" for counting
Americans abroad in the census but noted the Census Bureau's deep
continuing concerns about its feasibility. He also raised several
policy questions, including the cost and operational consequences of
adding a major new component to the census, and the implications of a
voluntary count abroad in light of mandatory response within the United
Rep. Maloney, sponsor of the amendment added to the funding bill,
chastised the Census Bureau for its lack of progress in planning for an
overseas count, saying the agency "would rather continue to list the
challenges than come up with possible solutions." The congresswoman
also introduced legislation (H.R. 680) to require a preliminary count of
Americans abroad in 2004.
The subcommittee heard testimony from Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY),
sponsor of the "Full Equality for Americans Abroad Act" (H.R. 1745) and
former chairman of the Committee on International Relations. The bill
would require the inclusion of American citizens living abroad in the
census state population totals used for congressional apportionment.
Rep. Gilman said it is "discriminatory" to count members of the armed
forces and federal government employees stationed abroad but not private
citizens for this purpose.
Edward Betancourt, representing the State Department's Bureau of
Consular Affairs, told subcommittee members that while the department
estimates the number of U.S. citizens within foreign countries for
planning purposes, "we currently have no means or ability to count
them." The overseas American population includes students, children
born abroad to American parents, and Americans serving criminal
sentences in foreign prisons, he noted, as well
as citizens and non-citizens who receive Social Security and veterans
Americans living abroad are not required to register with a U.S. embassy
or consulate or to notify an embassy if they leave a foreign country.
The lack of such requirements, Mr. Betancourt said, means there are no
complete or accurate address lists to which census questionnaires could
be sent. He also cautioned that verifying citizenship could be
difficult because many people lack documentation (for example, travel to
Mexico and Canada does not require a U.S. passport) and because
citizenship status is determined by a complex set of laws. The Bureau
of Consular Affairs, Mr. Betancourt emphasized, lacked sufficient fiscal
resources and staff to verify the citizenship of potentially millions of
persons and to support Census Bureau enumeration activities in foreign
countries. The agency could publicize information about an overseas
census count through its web site, emergency warning systems, and
outreach programs, he suggested.
The hearing concluded with a panel of witnesses from organizations
representing the interests of private Americans living and working in
foreign countries: Democrats Abroad, Republicans Abroad, American
Business Council of the Gulf Countries (ABCGC), American Citizens
Abroad, The Association of Americans Resident Overseas, and The
Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas, Inc. All of the
spokespersons unequivocally supported the inclusion of U.S. citizens
abroad in the census, with some suggesting it would be easy to locate
people who pay taxes and vote, and others recommending a preliminary
count to evaluate the accuracy of the results.
The witnesses emphasized the role Americans living abroad play in
promoting the nation's political and economic interests. T.B. Mac
McClelland, of the ABCGC, said Americans working overseas "serve as the
front-line marketing and sales force for U.S. exports." They also
criticized the Census Bureau for treating U.S. citizens abroad
differently than military and federal personnel working abroad, an
oversight they said denies them equal protection under the Constitution.
The organizations offered to help the Census Bureau promote census
response among Americans abroad; some proposed a greater role for
Consular Affairs offices, while others pointed to global media, Chambers
of Commerce, U.S. businesses, and educational and civic associations as
avenues of outreach. The witnesses said their get-out-the-vote
experience could help the Bureau reach some of the foreign-based
American population. Chairman Miller acknowledged that overseas
Americans with ties to civic organizations might be easier to reach, but
cautioned that, "[A]ny effort to count Americans abroad... must be equal
in its effort for all groups of Americans, in all countries, or it will
run the risk of being subject to painstaking litigation."
American Community Survey data released for nation and states: The
Census Bureau released the first set of data from last year's Census
2000 Supplementary Survey (C2SS), which canvassed 700,000 housing units
in a national-scale demonstration of the proposed American Community
Survey (ACS). The national and state level data closely mirror the
range of information collected from one in six households on the Census
2000 long form, including data on housing conditions, ancestry,
veterans' status, income, educational attainment, and commuting habits.
However, the supplementary survey did not include college dormitories,
prisons, military barracks, and other 'group quarters.' Long form data
will be released on a flow basis in 2002-03.
The Census Bureau made the supplementary survey data available to
members of the press at a July 31st briefing in Washington, D.C. The
results will be publicly available starting today (August 6) through the
Bureau's web-based American Fact Finder (www.census.gov
). The Bureau
will release additional data from the C2SS, for most counties and cities
of 250,000 or greater population, in the fall.
The Census 2000 Supplementary Survey was conducted to test American
Community Survey operations during a census year and to establish a
benchmark for comparing ACS results with census long form data. The
census produces point-in-time estimates referenced to April 1st (Census
Day) and uses a 'usual residence' standard (e.g. where does this person
usually live, as of April 1, 2000?) to put people in a specific
household or group facility. The ACS will produce annual estimates by
surveying 250,000 housing units every month using a 'current residence'
rule (e.g. who currently lives here?) defined by two or more months of
residency; no housing unit will be in the ACS sample more than once in a
five year period.
Appropriations update: The U.S. Senate adjourned late last week for its
traditional August recess without considering the Commerce Department's
fiscal year 2002 spending bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee
approved its version of the Commerce, Justice, and State, The Judiciary
and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (S. 1215) on July 19, one day
after the House of Representatives passed its own version (H.R. 2500) of
the measure. The bills include funding for the Census Bureau, an agency
of the Commerce Department. Congress will resume its legislative work
after Labor Day.
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