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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Clark Reid

Congressional Board Members Hail Success of Census 2000, Reaffirm Support of Census Bureau Adjustment Decision

WASHINGTON – The Congressionally Appointed Members of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board today again praised the success of Census 2000 in reducing the undercount of those traditionally missed and reiterated their support for the Census Bureau’s decision to release the enumerated Census count rather than a statistically-adjusted data set.

“The March recommendation by the Bureau to release the enumerated Census data was the right decision,” said Co-Chairman J. Kenneth Blackwell.  “Statistical adjustment would not put those people missed in the Census back into the Census where they really live – and according to the Census Bureau, would not improve the Census at the neighborhood level. Counting people where they live is the only way to ensure they receive their fair share of political representation at the local, state and national levels of government, and the more than $185 billion in federal funds for health care, day care, transportation, community and economic development, and many other programs.”

Blackwell said that today’s meeting being sponsored by the Census Monitoring Board members appointed by former President Clinton is another attempt to second guess the professionals at the Census Bureau and raise questions regarding the integrity of the 2000 Census.

“Census 2000 was a highly successful census – and represented an improvement over the 1990 results,” said Congressional Board Member A. Mark Neuman.  “Hiring people to take the Census in their own neighborhoods was an important part of this success – making the extra effort to ensure that the person knocking on the door for the Census looked like and sounded like the person answering the door. As a result, the 2000 Census showed a dramatic reduction in the undercount of African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans.”

Neuman praised Congress for appropriating every penny of the nearly $7 billion requested by the Census Bureau in its efforts to undertake an accurate count including a first ever $167 million national advertising campaign that helped raise awareness among all Americans about the importance of participating in the Census.  He added that a 67 percent mail response rate by the public allowed more funds to be directed to finding the hard-to-count populations traditionally missed in the census.

“That does not mean, however, that the Congressional Members of the Board or others who have expressed concerns regarding the complexities and accuracy of adjustment are not concerned about those who are missed in the census,” said Board Member Dr. David W. Murray. “The undercount is a genuine American difficulty to which we need real solutions.”

Congressional Board Member Joe D. Whitley said he and his colleagues stand by their recommendations to Congress and the Bureau to make better use of administrative records, form more public/private partnerships and provide adequate funding and resources to ensure the most accurate count possible in future censuses.

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