Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Census

Dec.
21st

Washington comes up a winner in Census count, will get 10th Congressional seat

This morning, the Census Bureau unveiled state population counts from the 2010 Census and accompanying Congressional reapportionment scheme. Washington grew enough – up 14.1 percent from 2000 – to pick up another Congressional seat and the clout that comes with it. The state’s population stands at 6,724,540, with the addition of 830,419 people during the decade.

We are one of eight states in the West and South to pick up seats. Texas gained the most – four seats – and Florida gained two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah also gained one seat each. Of note: For the first

Read more »

April
8th

Census Day is over, yes, but counting noses is not

Yep, they’re still counting

We’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers about the Census, whether you can still get a Census form if you didn’t receive one, whether it’s too late to mail it back if you did get it and why the government’s spending so much money on reminders, among other things.

The decennial count is the most expensive in U.S. history, expected at a total tab of more than $14 billion to verify and map the nation’s population of about 310 million.

Here’s a Q&A., with answers from local Census Bureau spokeswoman Cecilia Sorci.

Q: I heard the Census questionnaires needed to be returned by April 1. Is it too late to fill it out and send it back?

A: No. It’s true that April 1 was Census Day, the date on which the official every-10-year snapshot of the nation’s population was to be taken. But that’s just a reference point. You still have time to complete your form and mail it in – before a Census taker shows up ar your door. That said, Census Bureau officials so want you mail back your questionnaire by next Friday, April 16. That will give them time to log who’s already been counted before sending Census foot soldiers out to get data from stragglers.

Read more »

March
29th

Yes, you may fill out your Census form before April 1 – in fact, Uncle Sam wants you to

The Census form is very clear. Right there at the top, it asks how many people are living in your household on April 1.

So why, when April 1 is still three days away, are those folks at the Census pushing people to fill out their questionnaires and mail them back before Thursday?

A sharp-eyed News Tribune reader wants to know.

And while we’re on the subject, where are the Census forms for people in Eatonville – or other places – who have only P.O. boxes and no home mail delivery?

The short answers, according to local Census Bureau spokeswoman Cecilia Sorci, are:

• Yes, it’s OK to fill out your Census form and send it in now, even though the questionnaire uses an April 1 count date.

• Census forms are coming to rural residents who don’t get mail on their porch or at the street, but they’ll be hand-delivered and it may take some time. If you haven’t received your form, expect it within a few days.

Both questions were posed to The News Tribune reader representative by subscribers. Each asked that her name not be published.

“The form says the count is to be taken as of April 1,” one reader said. “What if you fill it out before then and there’s a change?”

The reader said she knew of some people would could die before April 1, and that would change the count.

April 1 is officially designated Census Day, the official reference point for the every-10-year snapshot of the U.S. Population, officials say.

But it’s not a hard-and-fast fill-out-the-form date, Sorci said. Forms went out earlier this month to 120 million American households.

“The reality is that most people’s households are quite stable and they know who will be in their homes come April 1,” she explained.

“But if you do anticipate that your household numbers will change by April 1, if someone’s gravely ill or if someone’s expecting a child or if you’re planning to move, then by all means, wait until April 1 to fill it out and send it back.”

Read more »

March
23rd

American Community Survey not a scam

We’re seeing some more confusion over the census. Some folks are puzzling over why they seem to be getting both a short form census and a more extensive list of questions called the American Community Survey. With word out about scammers sending out census-like questionnaires to obtain personal information, folks are wondering if the survey is legitimate, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Here’s the scoop:

• The American Community Survey is a bona fide mailing from the Census Bureau.

• The survey is separate from the once-a-decade census. It is randomly mailed to 250,000 households a month to gather more detailed demographic information, such as housing, commuting, income, ancestry and other items. It replaces the long form that was sent out to some households every 10 years. The idea is to provide more timely information on demographic trends.

• If you happen to get both the census and The American Community Survey, you are required to answer both, says the Census Bureau:

The American Community Survey, which replaced the decennial census long form, has different questions and purposes than the 2010 Census population headcount. Your participation in both is vital and required by law. Data about how our communities are changing are crucial to many planning decisions that affect you—such as neighborhood improvements, emergency preparedness, transportation, senior services and much more.

Here’s more from the Census Bureau.

Take a look at the American Community Survey.

Here’s a press release the Better Business Bureau on put out about the community survey:

Read more »

March
18th

What Census questions do I have to answer?


Rick O. from Puyallup called this week with a question about the 2010 Census forms, which have started to arrive in mailboxes. He had heard that you were only required to furnish a count of the people in your household and that the other questions (age, birthdate, gender, relationship, race, Hispanic origin) were optional. He wonders why, if the primary reason for the census is to reapportion congressional seats, does the government need to know all the other details? When he called the Census Bureau, he couldn’t get a satisfactory answer, so he called the newspaper.

The notion that you’re only required to provide a count seems to have gained currency in some circles, so much so that the Census Bureau included it among the frequently asked questions on its Web site.

(Question) I was sent an email warning me not to provide any information to census takers other than the number of people living in my home. Is that the only question I need to answer on the census?

(Answer) No. Each of the 10 questions on the census form are mandatory and required by law, so please answer all of them.

If you don’t mail back your completed form in a timely manner, a census taker will come to your door to record your answers to the questions on the form.

… Please also be aware that the e-mail you received about the 2010 Census, which falsely claimed to be from the Better Business Bureau, is inaccurate and the Census Bureau, in partnership with the BBB, is advising the public to get the facts.

The law that you must cooperate with the Census is spelled out in Section 221, of Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

Rick is correct in noting that the census is used for redistricting, but it’s also used to allocate federal and state dollars and the demographic picture it provides is used by government, researchers, journalists and businesses to examine trends and make decisions.

On its Web site, the Census Bureau goes into detail about why it’s being so nosy. Below are the justifications for all of the questions on your census form.

Read more »

Sep.
29th

1 in 10 Washingtonians lived in poverty in 2008

Wouldn’t you know that longtime Poverty Lobbyist Aiko Schaefer of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center (not to be confused with Jason Mercier, who is her polar opposite at the Washington Policy Center) would go out with one more news release that highlights her and her organization’s cause.

Schaefer, after 13 years, will leave the ranks of the legislative Poverty Lobby to join the ranks of the equally poorly paid part-time faculty. She’ll teach a class at the University of Washington. Tomorrow is her last day of formal poverty.

New Census Data Shows 1 in 10 Washingtonians Living in Poverty: Full Impact of Recession Not Reflected in Data

Seattle – More than 11 percent of Washingtonians lived in poverty in 2008 according to new numbers issued by the Census Bureau today. And nearly 14 percent of children in Washington lived in poverty last year. While not a significant increase from the previous year, the 2008 data does not capture the full impact of the recession.

“The 2008 figures are grim and it is likely 2009 will be worse because the recession deepened and unemployment rose,” said Remy Trupin, Executive Director of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center. “But the expected increases in poverty for 2009 could be a little less because of the federal economic recovery package.”
Read more »