Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Who’s ready for the Census?

The good news is that Houston is in pretty decent shape, at least as far as big cities go, in being ready for the 2010 Census. The bad news is that a lot of other big cities aren’t ready at all.

With the 2010 census looming, major U.S. cities whose residents are at high risk of being missed are struggling with a shortage of money and manpower to prepare for an accurate count.

A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, released Monday, found several cities with substantially fewer resources than it had in 2000. City officials also expressed concern about a possible poor turnout next year, citing difficulties in finding displaced residents due to home foreclosures and skittish immigrants wary of filling out government forms.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department ruled out seeking a temporary halt to large-scale immigrant raids as a way to boost participation in hard-to-count communities.

“Nobody is expecting a good census in 2010,” said Joseph Salvo, New York City’s population division chief. “I’m not optimistic. Since the last census we had 9/11, privacy issues, trust of government issues. And there’s been no public declaration that we’re going to suspend immigration raids like in 2000.”

Pew’s review of preparation efforts in 11 major cities, which had undercounts of residents in 2000 of up to 1.5 percent, found only five cities had committed public funds to census outreach — Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Phoenix and Baltimore. Even when cities had allotted funds, most were at sharply lower levels compared to 2000, due to the recession that has made state budgets tight.

[…]

In 2000, the bureau noted for the first time an overcount of 1.3 million people, due mostly to duplicate counts of more affluent whites with multiple residences. About 4.5 million people were ultimately missed, mostly blacks and Hispanics.

Yeah, that would be just what we need. I really hope this turns out to be an overly pessimistic view of the situation, but I can’t say I feel optimistic about that.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.