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Census 2000: Let's Not Come Up Short

In the Census of 1990, an estimated 8.4 million people were not counted -- many of whom were children, minorities, and low-income individuals.

Can Census 2000 count on you? Census questionnaires will be delivered in March 2000 to about 118 million households in time for "Census Day," April 1. Help get everyone revved up to return their forms. Census figures "count" in determining funding, roads, schools, and services your community needs.

President Clinton Unveils New Steps to Ensure Full Participation

On February 14, at a speech before representatives of Hispanic organizations, President Clinton announced new steps to encourage all Americans to participate in Census 2000.

    The President launched a "Census in Schools" challenge to emphasize that census information is strictly confidential and to direct federal agencies to step up their activities in support of the Census. To make sure every person in America counts, the Census Bureau is already undertaking a massive mobilization involving hundreds of thousands of local census takers and volunteers. The Census Bureau has built partnerships with businesses, community groups, schools, and governments. It will also for the first time use radio, TV and billboard advertisements to urge all Americans to be counted.

    In the 1990 Census, nearly half of those not counted were children. For that reason, the Census Bureau has developed the Census in the Schools program. Through this initiative, the Census Bureau has sent more than one million program kits to teachers around the country at all levels, including adult ESL and literacy classes. The President will announce that the White House web page will now include a link the Census 2000 webpage to allow teachers and others to access a Census in the Schools program kit and other Census information. During March, Census questionnaires will be mailed to 120 million American homes, and so teachers are encouraged to use these materials during "Teach Census Week," March 13-17.

    To encourage participation, the President underscored that that individual data obtained in Census 2000 will not be shared with anyone outside of the Census Bureau for any reason. The information will not be available, for instance, to the IRS, the INS, the FBI or any law enforcement agency. No one in state, local or tribal government can get the information; nor can private persons, businesses, credit bureaus or marketing companies. Only Census employees have access to such information, and they are subject to strict criminal penalties for sharing data. The President also highlighted a Census partnership with the National Baseball Players Association that has produced a series of public service announcements on the confidentiality message. These PSA's will feature Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.

    President Clinton directed federal agencies to embark on extraordinary efforts to support the Census. For example, the Social Security Administration, Departments of Treasury and Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management will post a census message on more than 15 million envelopes containing federal payments. The Department of the Interior is reaching out to the Native American community. The Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture are providing flexibility to state and local partners to allow individuals to continue receiving benefits if hired as temporary census enumerators, and today, the Department of Health and Human Services is announcing that they will take similar action for their health programs. Finally, the President directed federal agencies to encourage their grantees and contractors to partner with the Census Bureau to increase awareness about Census 2000. The Census Bureau has already built unprecedented outreach partnerships with business, community groups, schools, and state, local and tribal governments.

For More Information

George Selby, a member of the Federal Communicators Network, is Supervisory Marketing Specialist in the Marketing Services Office, U.S. Census Bureau, in Suitland, MD. You may reach him at (301) - 457-3110 or