Tag Archive | "Census 2010"


City Enters Final Phase To Get Complete Census Count

HARTFORD — You may be getting a few phone calls from people you don’t know.

But it won’t be bill collectors. It’ll be Hartford’s Census workers calling to follow up on work done earlier this year. City officials say this is a  part of  the U.S. Census quality assurance phase.

In addition to those phone calls, you may get a visit to your house if you did not fill out those census forms because the city is taking its final steps are to ensure that the most accurate data is presented so that the City can get all the federal money possible to use for city services in the next ten years.

“Participation is essential.  Hartford cannot afford to jeopardize federal funding that would support our children, our seniors, or our representation in Washington D.C.,” said Mayor Pedro Segarra.

Frequently asked questions regarding this stage of the Census are “If I already responded, why contact me again?” The reason could be its difficult to read the answer or to simply clarify it.  You may also receive a visit to confirm an address or if there’s a duplicate address.

Census officials say that this would affect a small percentage of households.

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Census 2010 Sponsors International Day at City Hall

HARTFORD — The atrium of Hartford City Hall will be swaying to rhythms from around the world at International Day on Friday.

From  5  to 8 pm, the Atrium will feature performances reflecting the cultures of Turkey, Mexico, Somalia, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

This cultural showcase, which is being organized by the City of Hartford Complete Count Committee, will also serve as a community conversation on the 2010 U.S. Census.

Information on the census and why it’s important and safe for all Hartford residents to participate in it will be available at the event, which will run from 5 – 8 p.m.

Free hats and other gifts will be distributed to the first 200 people who come to the event. For more information call the City of Hartford, Office of Human Relations at (860) 757-9785.

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Immigrant Communities to Census2010 : Count Us Out

M’shale, News Report, Ramla Bile, Review it on NewsTrust

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has time and again upheld the spirit and confidentiality of census information, issues regarding access and privacy continue to persist with communities across the state.

Members of the African immigrant and refugee community present unique challenges, ranging from fear of disclosing housing information to overcoming the legacy of brutal regimes in their home countries. Census workers and organizers working with this subpopulation will undoubtedly face these questions in the months leading up to the count on April 1st, 2010.

“Sacdiyo Isse,” a resident in the Skyline Towers, says her greatest fear concerning the U.S. Census is disclosing her current place of residence. Sacdiyo lives in a house with a relative who has more people living in the apartment than the lease allows. She fears that her participation in the census count will jeopardize her current living situation, and place this generous woman and the other inhabitants in a vulnerable position. “I can easily [opt] out of the count and not hurt anyone… I can’t displace the same person who took me in,” she said.

She says the idea of participating in the count brings her anxiety, as she believes this information will be shared with the landlord. When pressed about this fear, she simply said, “I’m one person, [the census count] is not worth all problems I can cause.”

The truth is, Sacdiyo is one of many who will perhaps not participate in the census count because they fear backlash from disclosing residence and occupancy information. For many, it is not far fetched to assume that U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security’s Immigration Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Census engage in a massive collaborative effort.

New Americans from Liberia, Ethiopia, and Somalia also expressed concern that they could not confidently say they had faith in how the information would be used. Though neither sources could cite an incidence of institutional racism or seemed to suggest foul play, they often referred back to their experiences in their home countries. American immigrants and refugees from the aforementioned countries have experienced war, as well as harsh leadership. One woman said her mayor almost fatally shot her son for information disclosed in a news story. Since then, she maintains a strong mistrust of government and would rather share as little as possible, including basic information. “One question will lead to another until I find myself spilling my life story over tea – I’m not ready to put myself in that situation.”

Hannah Garcia, Project Director with the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing oversees census outreach to various communities, expressed that many immigrants and refugees mistrust the census because these communities have traditionally been undercounted, and do not trust the benefit factor of participating in the census.

“Too many communities feel like they have not yet reaped the benefits of being counted, and too often people will say, ‘we’re used to feeling like we don’t count, so there’s no point.’” Another organizer described this mentality as “a cyclical issue.” He added that the more communities fail to participate in the data collection process, the more they lose. “We anticipate better engagement this year because the last two census counts disproportionately missed ethnic minorities, but the organizing scene in 2010 is radically different from those years because more of those doing the count will represent the communities they will work with.”

The census campaign is centered on the idea of 10 questions over 10 minutes, a simple process that captures a snapshot of America. Even though the poster has been translated into different languages, it will perhaps take decades before communities are familiar and appreciative of this process. The census form which provides limited options for African immigrants and refugees to identify themselves as such will likely compound the feeling of exclusion. These groups will have to write in their hyphenated identity. The 2020 census will likely have to address emerging identity issues in order to provide options for people to self-identify. According to Representative Keith Ellison, organizing efforts will promote write-in opportunities for communities who find themselves unrepresented in the current format.

“New Americans are among the best citizens… they are knowledgeable on history and politics through the naturalization test and the pathway to citizenship. They are already invested in the engagement and activism, our job is to ensure that we carry out an inclusive count that addresses language and other barriers.” Ellison stressed that steps were being taken to build trust with undercounted communities, and his office worked to create a network of partners from different communities. Ellison says he believes the 2010 count will outperform our projected numbers and has hope that Minnesota will be able to keep it’s eighth congressional seat.

While community organizing efforts have heavily addressed language issues by hiring diverse staff and translating material, other questions remain. The Director of the U.S. Census, Dr. Robert Groves, said building trust takes time and that while it is difficult to erase the memories that people have of government either here or abroad, the U.S. Census is investing in diverse and capable staff to reach out to all communities. The challenge is, of course, communities vary and maintain unique challenges, as there is not a blanket solution to working with historically underreported communities. For example, what happens when you have communities that come from countries that have a brutal history of intimidating its people? How do you provide relief and security to those with ambiguous immigration situations fearing deportation or those in compromising housing arrangements?

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Census Under Fire Over Ad Dollars

Alexandra Moe, News Report, New America MediaReview it on NewsTrust

A congressional subcommittee wants to know if the Census Bureau’s multi-million dollar advertising campaign is reaching communities that can be the hardest to count.

At a meeting Wednesday night on Capitol Hill of the House Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee, a parade of congress people worried that the Census has not done enough to engage local and ethnic media, which Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) called “the bibles of certain communities.”

NNPA, Black BroadcastersNNPA’s Danny Bakewell and James Winston, head of the National Association
of Black Owned Broadcasters testified at the hearing. Ph: Roy Lewis/NNPAOver $340 million has been allocated to the Census Bureau for a promotion and advertising campaign to avoid an undercount, part of an overall Census budget of $15 billion, triple the bureau’s 2000 budget.

But with just five weeks to go before the April 1 deadline for mailing back Census questionnaires, lawmakers wondered if that money was being targeted effectively. They were quick to criticize Census officials for a culture of “unresponsiveness,” and for a campaign that often seemed to rely on “big talent” rather than local voices.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) noted that $118 million had been allocated for “production, labor, and ‘other’” in budget notes. Many lawmakers on the panel, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), said they still hadn’t received clear budget breakdowns for which communities were receiving what share of the ad dollars, and how many ad firms the Census had subcontracted with.

“I, for one, am terribly disappointed in the Census in giving us details,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) as the hearing began on Wednesday night.

Much of the subcommittee’s criticism centered around the conduct of the Madison Avenue firm DraftFCB, which is coordinating the Census Bureau advertising campaign.

In questioning the campaign’s effectiveness in reaching communities that had been undercounted in 2000, Chaffetz cited the Census Super Bowl ad, which cost $2.5 million, and ads during the Olympics that had cost over $5 million. He called attention to the Census on-line campaign that had yielded only 8,500 followers on Facebook, 2,400 followers on Twitter and 64 uploads on You Tube. Noting the low numbers, Chaffetz said, “How do you justify millions of dollars out the door? It’s a mystery to me.”

Jeff Tarakajian of DraftFCB defended the campaign by saying that awareness about the Census “was extremely high for where we are now,” and that 54 percent of the paid media budget was allocated to ethnic audiences in 2010 compared to 47 percent in the 2000 Census. Groves added that over 200,000 “partner organizations” around the country had been called on to help get the word out.
Robert GrovesCensus Chief Robert Groves
But lawmakers continually questioned who those partners were, and whether the Census was digging deep enough into communities. They said their constituents in California, Utah and Texas had expressed dismay at widespread disorganization at the regional level.

“I am increasingly concerned about what I am hearing from black newspapers and black radio stations,” said Waters. “It appears that our message of reaching the undercounted is not being respected.”

That’s unnecessary, said Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, who appeared before the subcommittee.

“There’s no question that the ethnic media ‘get’ the Census — they get their communities’ stake in a complete count,” Close said.

She described meeting with nearly 600 ethnic media representatives around the country in 12 roundtables with local and national Census officials over the past year. At those briefings, she said, “You could cut the enthusiasm with a knife.”

But 47 percent of those outlets were left out of an ad buy, and 70 percent reported never hearing back from Census advertising firms, including DraftFCB, Close noted. Their experience with the Census was one of “anxiety and confusion” over how they could get involved, she said.
Karen NarasakiKaren Narasaki, Asian American Justice Center
“The selection process that you use for minority ad buys is unacceptable,” echoed Jackson Lee.

Also appearing before the committee were Karen Narasaki of the Asian American Justice Center, Arturo Vargas of National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), and Danny Blakewell, chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

Vargas cited an over-reliance by the Census on using Spanish-language media in reaching Latino audiences, and not enough messaging in reaching the 9.1 million Latinos in the United States who only speak English at home.

One reason for the widespread feeling of disengagement, said Narasaki, was that a lot of decisions had been made about who would be working with the Census many years earlier – years before a recession and heightened fears over immigration status had changed America.

“One of the biggest issues to overcome among Asian and Latino audiences is distrust in government,” she said. “It’s the media in those communities who are going to help. An ad on the Super Bowl is not going to do it.”

But panelists agreed that it was not too late to turn the tide. As the Census enters the third phase of its campaign – the crucial “nonresponse phase” – many called for a greater investment in the ethnic media sector.

“The Black Press of America needs at least $10 million,” said Bakewell, head of NNPA. “Black people do not live in only 16 markets in America. Black newspapers, radio stations, black churches — that’s where we are.”
Arturo VargasArturo Vargas, NALEO
Close, of New America Media, called on Congress to invest in the ethnic media sector directly, so that the media themselves could create the messages that would most effectively mobilize their communities for the 2010 Census.

Close cited one targeting the Native American community where a woman in jeans walks across an open plain, towards three tepees.

“These ads were created for a Native American community that is nowhere near the plains and who do not live in tepees,” said Close. “They were offensive, and the media didn’t use them.”

Another ad was brought to the overhead screen, created by the Hoopa tribe of Northern California for the Two Rivers Tribune. Across a local landscape the ad read, “Save our Water, Save Our Way of Life – Stand Up and Be Counted! Census 2010.”

That kind of unique messaging will “move the needle those extra percentage points that will pay off in hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Close.

Lawmakers called for Census officials to turn over several documents relating to ad buys, sub-contractor fees, and correspondence, and demanded greater transparency. There was talk of investigation several times throughout the night. And again and again, panelists were asked if they thought it would be more effective to use local media to act as “trusted messengers.”

“Your tepees were the icing on the cake,” said Waters to Close, at the door of the conference room, as panelists filed out for the evening, four hours after the hearing began, at almost midnight.

Related Articles:

Latinos Still Divided Over Census

In Redistricting, Diversity Isn’t Everything

Participating in the Census Is Like Voting For Yourself

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Connecticut BBB Warns Consumers About Census Scams

Wallingford, CT —  An e-mail which falsely claims to be from Better Business Bureau about the upcoming 2010 Census is causing confusion among consumers.

According to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, part of the confusion about the census involves its timing.

“We are reminding Connecticut Consumers that no Census Bureau workers will even begin going door-to-door until April. If anyone claims to be working for the Census Bureau before then, they probably are trying to obtain your personal information illegally.”

When Field Representatives will be Going Door-to-Door:

  • From April to July 2010, the Census Bureau will knock on the door of every household that does not mail back a completed 2010 Census form.
  • It’s critical that you take just 10 minutes to fill out and mail back your form rather than wait for a census worker to show up.
  • The Census Bureau must receive a completed form from every residence in the United States.

How to Identify a Census Field Representative:
If a U.S. Census Bureau employee knocks on your door, here are some recognition tips to assure the validity of the field representative:

What the 2010 Census DOES NOT Ask:
Field representatives will never ask you for your social security number, bank account number, or credit card number.  Census workers also never solicit donations nor contact you by e-mail.

The Census is Safe:

  • The 2010 Census will ask for name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether you own or rent your home – just 10 simple questions that will take about 10 minutes to answer.
  • Your answers are protected by law and not shared with anyone.
  • The Census Bureau safeguards all census responses to the highest security standards available.

For more information about the upcoming 2010 Census visit www.census.gov/2010census.

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