Census 2010 Under-reporting initiatives

Interesting article below about Census Outreach. Author believes that more resources should be allocated to newspapers to reach the community. I agree that more needs to be done to reach minorities but NOT sure that newspapers are the right medium. I think he is spot on about the Mainstream Media Agency possibly being out of touch with the community. Let’s not forget that there is a class action lawsuit against said agencies for discrimination and institutional racism. What is the effective way to reach the African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and others that these Ad Agencies refuse to hire and promote?

What’s more concerning is the reported “Disconnect” of those at the top of the Census initiative, specifically the minorities in management? Would love to hear thoughts…….

WILLIAM REED: The 2010 Census Is Coming to Your ‘Hood’
(August 11, 2009)Email to a friend | Print Friendly Buzz up! *There are many reasons to dislike the census but Black Americans need to know that many benefits can accrue for their participation in the 2010 Census.

In addition to a federal requirement, Census 2010 Census represents a significant economic stimulus for Black communities. Census 2010 is a federal program that’s pumping billions into the national economy and creating more than a million jobs.

The upcoming decennial population count is putting 1.4 million people to work. The Census Bureau is also funneling money into local communities by renting office space and furniture and by buying equipment and supplies. And it is spending $212 million in advertising to urge people to return the census forms.

Census 2010 representatives contend that their communications campaign program to get people residing in the U.S. to fill out the form and send it back represents the nation’s most comprehensive social marketing and communications campaign. Arnold Jackson, an Associate Director at the U.S. Census Bureau, served as the agency’s chief operating officer during the build up for this decennial said his target was “to reach everyone.”

The Bureau had planned to spend $85 million in ethnic advertising and establishing partnerships with community groups to reach Black households.

With millions of African Americans lacking employment and business opportunities the 2010 Census operation comes at an opportune time.

Census Bureau processes toward assuring an accurate and complete count can pump $5 billion into Black Communities though employment and grant monies. For an equitable amount of federal subsidiaries and local and state political representation, it’s imperative that Blacks participate in the 2010 Census. But, fewer than 60 percent of African-Americans returned their 2000 Census questionnaire compared to 77.5 percent of Whites.

Blacks comprise 13.4 percent of the national population. The 40.9 million Blacks include a substantial portion of the hard-to-count populations. Black institutions and organizations should be an equitable part of the 2010 Census revenue stream, but are all too often are undervalued and marginalized. The process to get the word out about the 2010 Census is an example of such “marginalization.”

The Draftfcb Company holds the 2010 Census communications contract. But, the mainstream media giant has a meager record of participating in behavior-changing campaigns that reach historically hard-to-count populations. Draftfcb, and even Bureau African American managers, have a “mainstream media mindset” when it comes to outreach practices.

The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Rick Wade, deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to the Commerce Secretary Gary Locke illustrated a “mainstream mindset” when he spoke to an assembly of Black publishers in Minneapolis in June. Though he spoke to the National Newspaper Publishers Association of monies going to their neighborhoods in census jobs, Wade was ridiculed by Black publishers who labeled the advertising plan for Black newspapers “insufficient.”

Wade had announced that of $24 million for Black media advertising only $1.6 million had been earmarked for Black newspaper advertising. Wade exemplifies contemporary African Americans holding management and supervisory positions this decennial. Most have departed hard-to-count neighborhoods and missed Jackson’s message that “money be spent among Black and local community and faith-based organizations, media, businesses and schools to broaden a partnership base and encourage participation in the 2010 Census.”

Unless Black–oriented media, businesses, agencies and community groups participate in monies for the count, the “undercount” will continue. Black-oriented publications are by nature located in the midst of hard-to-count populations and should be prime movers in convening local Count Committees, covering events of other Census partners in the neighborhoods and keeping 2010 Census messages before their audiences.

(William Reed – www.BlackPressINternational.com)

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Census should get sent out with all public school school lunch applications and I agree that the advertisement for the count has been very low. I am a math teacher and I usually get lessons for the Census for my students. I always fill mine out and I am still waiting for the application.

WD Bryant

Hello FP,

Thanks for responding to my post. I am sure the statistics and sampling of the Census makes for compelling math teaching. Pretty creative. The actual Census form won’t be mailed out until March 2010. They are asking that the form be filled out and returned in April.

I think your idea about messaging with school registrations is on point. Let me know if you see any compelling PR around the Census.