Friday, February 26, 2010
Thank you to all of you who attended yesterday's webinar "Countdown to the Census," with Robynne Curlee and Terri Ann Lowenthal.
Our next webinar will be held Thursday, March 18th at 2:00pm Eastern Time. The exact title and subject matter are still under discussion, but we'll update you when we know more.
We appreciated your questions yesterday. Please don't hesitate to contact any of us with further questions. Our contact information is as follows:
Terri Ann Lowenthal
Legislative & Policy Consultant
Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network
National Outreach Coordinator
Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network
You can download yesterday's PowerPoint presentation here.
You can also download our previous webinar on filling out the census form. In this webinar Terri Ann Lowethal walks us through the Census form and also deals with a host of questions about the kind of assistance it is permissible to give to your clients. In addition, you can download the audio portion of the presentation as a MP3. Or you can view the presentation online.
We mentioned several other resources yesterday.
www.NonprofitsCount.org - our website for nonprofits about the 2010 Census.
www.2010Census.gov - the official US Census Bureau 2010 Census website, which boasts an enourmous number of materials including the in language assistance guides (scroll down the page) we mentioned during the webinar.
www.CensusHardtoCountMaps.org - this site is an amazing resource for information from the Census about your neighborhood, including detailed information on hard to count factors. This site will also report in mailback response rates. We held an entire webinar recently on how to use this site. View the presentation online.
Please note that the Questionnaire Assistance Center finder site is not yet available.
The Census Form:
Those of you who would like to download a sample of the Census form can do so on our site or on the official Census site.
Don't forget that the real forms will begin to arrive in the mail in mid March! And that the Census would like people to return the form by April 1st (although it will continue to accept forms until mid April).
Assistance phone numbers:
Hearing impaired: 1-866-783-2010
Toolkits, Butons and Posters:
The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network's Nonprofits Count campaign has created posters, fact sheets and a toolkit on the 2010 Census for nonprofits. Please feel free to order a copy of our toolkit. We also have two census posters and census buttons available free of charge. Order a poster today. If you would like to place a bulk order, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To obtain our materials online, visit our Toolkit page. The Toolkit page also includes recordings of previous webinars.
To learn about the 2010 Census in your state, visit your state page at NonprofitsCount.org.
If you would like to link your page to ours, visit our web badge page.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I don't know about you all, but some of us around here have been wondering: what is up with those ads? Are we missing something? Why are they talking about a "secret location?" Is it supposed to be ironic? Maybe we're just too unhip to "get it."
So I checked out YouTube to conduct some serious in-depth academic research on this topic, and it turns out the character of the "Director" (played by Ed Begley Jr. in the ads) actually has his own YouTube Channel.
Oh yes. His character's name is "Payton Schlewitt," and his Channel hosts all the varieties of these Census ads that have aired, and plenty that haven't. "Payton" even has his own YouTube profile, which describes himself as an "billionaire everyman" with a passion for "Jazzercise," and lists one of his favorite books as "The Spelunkers Guide to Delaware."
This is keeping in the weird irony of the movies "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show" and the other group of Christopher Guest-directed films starring much of the same cast that populates the Census ads. It would seem that the Census Bureau is hoping to capitalize on the faux-documentary comedy style that characterized those films, along with many current popular TV series like "The Office."
The premise is that this production team, led by billionaire and legendary director "Payton Schlewitt" (aka Ed Begley Jr.), is attacking a new, great film project: "A Portrait of America." In their pre-production meetings, they are attempting to answer the team's questions about the logistics of taking a picture of all 300 million people in America.
These films might, at first be slightly more amusing for those who actually work for or around the Census. Mocking the enormity of preparing for a successful 2010 Census by equating it to 6 movie production crew members standing around a table talking sort of requires an understanding of how colossal an enterprise the 2010 Census actually is, an understanding that isn't quite common knowledge. (Of course, the die-hard Christopher Guest fans will be amused no matter what).
However, if you watch the videos the humor finally starts to come together - the nobility of their director's "vision" of having one snapshot of the whole country, the ridiculousness of trying to organize this, the endless questions. It is these questions that, I believe, the casual viewer of the Census ads is meant to be left with, and one reason why the ads may seem sort of random and non-informational at first. They're designed to get people talking and asking questions, chief among them: "What the heck are those commercials talking about??"
Here's the "production team" - click for their little video intros. You'll recognize the actors (even if you, like me, can't remember their names):
"Chad Sipkin", the burdened Producer
"Danya Burakoff," the dedicated Wardrobe artist
"Robert Rooney", Director of Photography
"Katie Hawbaker", genius Location Scout
"Alden Resch", Casting Director
If you want to watch the full-length version of a "Snapshot of America" ad, here it is:
Full-length "Snapshot of America" spot - 3 min
Below are a few of the shorter videos.
- The team discusses getting people to the "secret location," where they plan to take the Snapshot of America.
- One of the production team members wonders: "If we make everyone stop what they're doing to take a picture, who is 'minding the stores' of America?"
Visit the Snapshot of America's YouTube page.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Mailout/Mailback The vast majority of households (about 90% of the population) will receive a census form in the mail via the US Postal Service. This partnership with the USPS has continued since 1970, when the first mailout/mailback US Census was conducted. We ask that you fill it out and mail it back by April 1.
Update/Leave In areas of the country (about 9% of the population) where mail is not delivered to residences uniformly, census staff will visited each housing unit, update our list of addresses, and leave a census form package in a plastic bag at the entrance door of the unit. This is the technique will we use in the Gulf Coast areas that were heavily affected by hurricane damage and are in the middle of their recovery.
Update/Enumerate Just like in remote Alaska, there are parts of the US (about 1% of the population) that both don’t uniformly receive mail at their residence and are far from any town. Some of these have demonstrated very low return rates of questionnaires in the past. In these areas, we will visit each housing unit and take a face-to-face interview with those in the household.
Large Military Installations At big military installations (e.g., Fort Bragg, NC) field work is coordinated with a military representative, and the Census staff is escorted to each housing unit to deliver the questionnaires. The military representative ensures that all questionnaires are returned.
This map is from Dr. Groves' blog, showing where the different methods are being employed. If you can't read the legend, here it is:
Purple = Mailout/mailback; Tan = Update/Leave; Green = Update/Enumerate; (Dark Green = Remove Area Update & Update/Enumerate)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
NY Times- For decades, predominantly rural and Republican districts have had extra clout in state and local legislative bodies because their large inmate populations were counted as local residents in apportioning representation (see map below). Now, the Census Bureau has agreed to give states a tool that could dilute the political power of those districts.
In May 2011, in time for Congressional and legislative reapportionment, the bureau will identify exactly where group quarters like prisons are and how many people occupy them. States would then have the option of counting them in the local population or not.
“This removes a technical problem,” said Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, an advocacy group that favors alternatives to prison sentences and urges that inmates be counted in their hometowns. “The census is going to say where the prisons are and how many people are in them, which will enable states the practical choice of counting them in the wrong place or not counting them at all.”
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
AALDEF's report summarizes that while the Census Bureau has been generally responsive to the needs of Asian Americans, there remain widespread problems. These include:
- Insufficient support from some Partnership Specialists
- Limited or no opportunity to preview draft advertisements
- Misinformation about key programs like the Questionnaire Assistance Centers and Be Counted sites
- Mistranslations of census materials
- Persistent concerns about the confidentiality of census information