Friday, July 31, 2020

Census Door Knocking Cut A Month Short Amid Pressure To Finish Count

From NPR:

The Census Bureau is cutting short critical door-knocking efforts for the 2020 census amid growing concerns among Democrats in Congress that the White House is pressuring the bureau to wrap up counting soon for political gain.

Attempts by the bureau's workers to conduct in-person interviews for the census will end on Sept. 30 — not Oct. 31, the end date it indicated back in April would be necessary in order to count every person living in the U.S. given major setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Three Census Bureau employees, who were informed of the plans during separate internal meetings Thursday, confirmed the new end date with NPR. All of the employees spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs.

"It's going to be impossible to complete the count in time," says one of the bureau employees, an area manager who oversees local census offices. "I'm very fearful we're going to have a massive undercount."

Asked why and when the decision was made to move up the end of door-knocking, the Census Bureau replied in a written statement on Friday: "We are currently evaluating our operations to enable the Census Bureau to provide this data in the most expeditious manner and when those plans have been finalized we will make an announcement."

About 4 out of 10 households nationwide have still not participated in the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the U.S., and self-response rates are even lower in many communities.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Census response rates in communities of color

From Headwaters:

The results of the census are important because they determine political representation and allocation of federal funding, but people are being undercounted. Residents are more likely to be undercounted if they are hard to find in dense urban or remote rural areas, are experiencing homelessness, have technological or language barriers, or mistrust the government and don’t want to participate.

The 2020 Census is complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. In-person visits by census workers have been delayed. Many hard-to-count groups are also those who suffer more severe health and economic impacts from coronavirus.

A disproportionate number of those who are not counted are people of color: Asian-Americans, Blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, and Native Americans.

Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to count the U.S. population. The results determine policymaking and planning for the following decade, including:

Distribution of federal tax dollars for health, education, housing, and infrastructure programs. These include Medicaid, the National School Lunch Program, Head Start, special education grants, and highway construction.
Planning for new hospitals, schools, and roads.
Disaster response.
The number of congresspeople that a state can send to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The number of Electoral College votes for each state.
Boundaries for state and local voting districts.

Here's the sample form.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Census Bureau to Email Households to Encourage Response to the 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will begin emailing households in low-responding areas to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census.

Millions of emails will be sent this week and then grow in numbers and continue into September. These emails supplement a final campaign reminding people to respond to the 2020 Census on their own, as census takers begin asking households to respond to the census.

The messages alert households in low-response areas that time is running out and their response to the 2020 Census is important for their communities. The email messages will invite people to respond online at 2020census.gov.

People who receive the email and haven’t already responded should click on the link provided and complete the census online. It’s easy, safe, and important.

The emails will go to all households that the Census Bureau has contact information for in census block groups with a response rate lower than 50%. This will include households who may have already responded. In total, the Census Bureau expects to email more than 20 million households in these low-responding areas.

The email messages will come from 2020census@subscriptions.census.gov and will give recipients the option to opt out of receiving future messages. The Census Bureau is also considering sending text messages to areas that have a low response.

The Census Bureau’s recent success with contacting households by email to participate in the Household Pulse Survey prompted the agency to add these methods to support the 2020 Census. This contact method will help increase response rates and reduce the need for in-person follow-up.

The Census Bureau is continuing to review the use of text messages and will make an announcement prior to deploying that outreach. In addition to emailing households, the Census Bureau is increasing other outreach efforts during one last push to encourage everyone to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail. The Census Bureau recently announced that it has launched Mobile Questionnaire Assistance, a program that offers assistance with responding at locations such as grocery stores and pharmacies in low-responding areas.

Additionally, the Census Bureau has expanded its paid advertising—launching a series of new advertisements aimed at increasing online response and expanding to a total of 45 non-English languages receiving some level of paid media support.

Households have until October 31 to respond to the 2020 Census. However, census takers have begun following up with households that haven’t responded yet in select areas and will begin following up with households nationwide in August.

State Agency Databases Project

From GODORT:

In every US State and the District of Columbia, agencies are creating databases of useful information - information on businesses, licensed professionals, plots of land, even dates of fish stocking. Some of this content is available on search engines, but much of it is part of the invisible web. Since July 2007, librarians and other government information specialists have been working on identifying and annotating these databases in one place. We've chased across fifty state web sites so you don't have to! ALA RUSA named this site one of its Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2012.

All content on our project pages may be reused or remixed. Permission is not required. Attribution is appreciated.

State Database Orphans
The following states are available for adoption:

Michigan
New Mexico
New York
Wisconsin
If you would like to adopt a page, please contact susanne.caro@ndsu.edu

I suggested these choices:

LOTS of stuff at Open NY (health, budget, more)
Education
Legislature: Assembly (they have the State Senate)
Office of the Professions: stats, regs for medical-related and other professions
Transportation: Traffic Data Viewer
NYC planning has demographic and zoning info
Cornell Program on Applied Demographics


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Trump Sued Over Attempt To Omit Unauthorized Immigrants From A Key Census Count

From Law.com.

Trump’s main legal authority for his order (below) to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census apportionment is a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision that was argued by then U.S. principal deputy solicitor general John Roberts Jr.

From NPR:
Trump Sued Over Attempt To Omit Unauthorized Immigrants From A Key Census Count



MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, July 21, 2020

SUBJECT: Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Background. In order to apportion Representatives among the States, the Constitution requires the enumeration of the population of the United States every 10 years and grants the Congress the power and discretion to direct the manner in which this decennial census is conducted (U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3). The Congress has charged the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary) with directing the conduct of the decennial census in such form and content as the Secretary may determine (13 U.S.C. 141(a)). By the direction of the Congress, the Secretary then transmits to the President the report of his tabulation of total population for the apportionment of Representatives in the Congress (13 U.S.C. 141(b)). The President, by law, makes the final determination regarding the “whole number of persons in each State,” which determines the number of Representatives to be apportioned to each State, and transmits these determinations and accompanying census data to the Congress (2 U.S.C. 2a(a)). The Congress has provided that it is “the President’s personal transmittal of the report to Congress” that “settles the apportionment” of Representatives among the States, and the President’s discretion to settle the apportionment is more than “ceremonial or ministerial” and is essential “to the integrity of the process” (Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 799, and 800 (1992)).

The Constitution does not specifically define which persons must be included in the apportionment base. Although the Constitution requires the “persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed,” to be enumerated in the census, that requirement has never been understood to include in the apportionment base every individual physically present within a State’s boundaries at the time of the census. Instead, the term “persons in each State” has been interpreted to mean that only the “inhabitants” of each State should be included. Determining which persons should be considered “inhabitants” for the purpose of apportionment requires the exercise of judgment. For example, aliens who are only temporarily in the United States, such as for business or tourism, and certain foreign diplomatic personnel are “persons” who have been excluded from the apportionment base in past censuses. Conversely, the Constitution also has never been understood to exclude every person who is not physically “in” a State at the time of the census. For example, overseas Federal personnel have, at various times, been included in and excluded from the populations of the States in which they maintained their homes of record. The discretion delegated to the executive branch to determine who qualifies as an “inhabitant” includes authority to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.

In Executive Order 13880 of July 11, 2019 (Collecting Information About Citizenship Status in Connection With the Decennial Census), I instructed executive departments and agencies to share information with the Department of Commerce, to the extent permissible and consistent with law, to allow the Secretary to obtain accurate data on the number of citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens in the country. As the Attorney General and I explained at the time that order was signed, data on illegal aliens could be relevant for the purpose of conducting the apportionment, and we intended to examine that issue.

Sec. 2. Policy. For the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the discretion delegated to the executive branch. Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of Government. Affording congressional representation, and therefore formal political influence, to States on account of the presence within their borders of aliens who have not followed the steps to secure a lawful immigration status under our laws undermines those principles. Many of these aliens entered the country illegally in the first place. Increasing congressional representation based on the presence of aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status would also create perverse incentives encouraging violations of Federal law. States adopting policies that encourage illegal aliens to enter this country and that hobble Federal efforts to enforce the immigration laws passed by the Congress should not be rewarded with greater representation in the House of Representatives. Current estimates suggest that one State is home to more than 2.2 million illegal aliens, constituting more than 6 percent of the State’s entire population. Including these illegal aliens in the population of the State for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated.

I have accordingly determined that respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the President’s discretion under the law.

Sec. 3. Excluding Illegal Aliens from the Apportionment Base. In preparing his report to the President under section 141(b) of title 13, United States Code, the Secretary shall take all appropriate action, consistent with the Constitution and other applicable law, to provide information permitting the President, to the extent practicable, to exercise the President’s discretion to carry out the policy set forth in section 2 of this memorandum. The Secretary shall also include in that report information tabulated according to the methodology set forth in Final 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations, 83 Fed. Reg. 5525 (Feb. 8, 2018).

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

FTC-IRS Initiative Aims to Make it Easier for Consumers to Report Tax-Related Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are teaming up to make it easier for consumers to report tax-related identity theft and to receive assistance to help recover.

The IRS will now allow consumers to report identity theft to the IRS electronically through the  FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim your refund. Victims of tax-related identity theft need to file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, also known as IRS Form 14039, before the IRS can begin resolving the problem. Until this new initiative, consumers could only file an IRS Form 14039 manually.

Under the new FTC-IRS initiative, IdentityTheft.gov will be the first and the only place where consumers can submit an IRS Form 14039 electronically. A new FTC blog post provides more detail about how the process works.

Identitytheft.gov allows consumers to report identity theft and to receive a personal recovery plan. Consumers can also obtain an Identity Theft Report that can be used in place of a police report to help clear their credit reports of fraudulent information, and customized letters they can send to creditors, debt collectors, and others to help recover from identity theft causes.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Dollars for Docs

From ProPublica

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are now required by law to release details of their payments to a variety of doctors and U.S. teaching hospitals for promotional talks, research and consulting, among other categories. Use this tool to search for general payments (excluding research and ownership interests) made from August 2013 to December 2015.

Also: Top 50 Companies - Click on a company to see how its payments break down by drug, device or doctor. Or see all companies.

And more...

Monday, April 16, 2018

How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America

From National Geographic:
Today an estimated 3.45 million Muslims in America are living in a climate of hostility, their faith distorted by violent extremists on one end and an anti-Muslim movement on the other. The rise in animosity was stoked by fiery anti-Muslim rhetoric from conservative commentators and politicians... Trump repeatedly has described Islam as a threat, retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a British hate group and keeping his distance from the religion, like when he decided the White House, for the first time in more than two decades, would not host a dinner to mark Ramadan.

In reaction to feeling targeted, Muslims are getting political. Groups such as the Pluralism Project are supporting and training dozens of Muslim candidates in Maryland alone to run for office. A hijab-wearing Somali-American woman now sits in the House of Representatives in Minnesota; a Muslim man is running for governor of Michigan. There are two Muslims in Congress and more running in this year’s elections.

Muslims in the United States are a racially and ethnically diverse group—and a growing one, despite a recent rise in anti-Muslim hostility. From dozens of different countries and representing multiple branches of their faith, Muslims now total about 3.45 million people, or one percent of the U.S. population. With roots dating back to the 16th century, the Muslim population is currently growing faster in suburbs than in cities, especially in southern and western regions. There are now more than 2,100 mosques in the U.S., up from 962 in 1994.



Friday, March 2, 2018

2018 Economic Programs Webinar Series

Interested in learning about the wide range of economic data and resources you can get from the Census Bureau? If you answered yes, then this webinar series is for you!

You will have the opportunity to learn about the types of data related to different topics and subject areas. Each session will demonstrate the value of our data through real life scenarios and plain language guidance. We will share on how you can access this information and why it’s important for you. This webinar series is for anyone looking for data and not sure where to begin.

Learn More About Census Trainings and Workshops

SAVE THE DATE: All Webinars Start At 2:00PM EST
No registration required for these free Census Bureau events.
March 15, 2018: Healthcare Data Webinar
April 17, 2018: Employment Data Webinar
May 24, 2018: Government Data Webinar
June 20, 2018: Construction Data Webinar
August 2, 2018: Professional and Scientific Data Webinar
September 12, 2018: Hidden Gems Data Webinar

Log in details will be provided 24 to 48 hours prior to each webinar.