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Counting on the Census


Aired 4/15/09

The Census Bureau is gearing up for the big count in 2010. But many questions are being raised, from the high cost (estimated $15 billion) to the accuracy of the count to political partisan motivations. The outcome of the census will be watched closely by states like California, with a high number of minorities and a problem with out migration.

Maureen Cavanaugh: Once every ten years the United States Census Bureau tries to get an accurate count of all the people living in the country. Usually the census is not a very controversial topic, but it certainly is this time around.

Critics are up-in-arms about everything from the proposed cost of the 2010 census to how the census bureau is going to conduct the count. Meanwhile supporters are praising the census as an employment opportunity for census workers and are advocating a new method of counting called statistical sampling.


Gloria Penner, political correspondent and host of Editors Roundtable on KPBS.

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Avatar for user 'smadac'

smadac | May 11, 2009 at 10:23 p.m. ― 7 years, 9 months ago

I thought Gloria Penner did a good job summarizing in a short time what is going on with the 2010 Census. I worked for a little while recently as an Enumerator (QA) and can say (as an unemployed person) that it was good to be paid for some training and work, even if it was only for a short time. I hope they (the USCB) will use the handheld computers again to go after people for their unreturned forms. Probably the computers and the labor combine to generate most of the cost. However, the handhelds are fun to use and I think it's great that the census happens to come at a time of high unemployment. An unintended consequence is that they are able to get a higher level or worker than might ordinarily be possible.

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