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For Immediate Release: April 4, 2000

U.S. Census Monitoring Board Report Details Studies Of Census Operations

Board Urges All U.S. Residents To Complete And Return Census Forms

WASHINGTON - Today, the eight-members of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board released a bipartisan report concluding that census operations are proceeding well. The Board examined Census 2000 planning efforts in the New York and Dallas Census Regions and Alaska field operations.

The Board unanimously endorsed a call to residents of the United States to answer all of the questions on their census forms and return them to the Census Bureau, and to cooperate with Census Bureau field staff who will be conducting follow-up visits in the coming months.

"After several months of review by the staffs on both sides of the Board, we came away impressed by the work the Bureau is doing to reach Americans in some of the most challenging areas of the country," said Gilbert F. Casellas, Co-Chair for the Presidential Members of the Monitoring Board. "Now it's up to all of us as individuals to do our part by completing and returning our census forms."

The report issued today details the Board's findings from a series of reviews of Census Bureau planning efforts in the field. Board staff traveled to the New York Census Region, which includes much of the New York metropolitan area, and the Dallas Census Region, which includes the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In addition, observations were conducted of the Bureau's efforts to enumerate residents in remote areas of Alaska and of training for Bureau staff who will carry out an operation critical to the measurement of any undercount in the 2000 census.

"We were particularly impressed with the Bureau's dedication to reach out to minority communities in the New York and Dallas Regions, and to ensure that isolated Alaskan Native communities are fully counted," said California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, a Presidential Member of the Board. In particular, the Board's report praises the efforts of the Dallas Regional Census Center, and the El Paso Local Census Office to reach the residents of the colonias along the Texas/Mexico border.

In addition to its observations of field operations and planning efforts, training classes for clerical staff who will carry out an operation critical to the success of the Bureau's plan to measure the undercount, were also observed.

"The work this clerical staff will be carrying out will be a critical part of the Census Bureau's plan to measure and correct for the undercount in the 2000 Census," said Dr. Everett Ehrlich, Presidential Member. "I am encouraged that, even though the issue of adjustment continues to divide us, we reached unanimous agreement that training for this operation was well-conducted," Ehrlich continued.

The major operation in the coming months will be the Bureau's efforts to find and interview those who have not completed and returned their census forms. The Census Bureau expects to recruit, hire and train a workforce of more than 500,000 people to conduct those interviews.

"The Bureau's efforts to recruit the workforce they will need to carry out that job seem to be going well, and we were impressed that the Local Census Offices we visited were making aggressive efforts to reach into communities that are more likely to be missed - the poor, rural residents and those who do not speak English," said Lorraine Green, Presidential Member. "A key indicator we are all waiting to see is how many doors the Bureau will have to knock on to find people who did not complete and mail back their census forms," Green observed.

In addition, the Board noted that the General Services Administration was taking aggressive efforts to resolve facilities problems identified during the Board's visit to the New York Northwest Local Census Office, located in Harlem in New York.

Responses to the census questionnaire are required by law, and are guaranteed to be confidential. The Census Bureau is barred by law from sharing information on individuals with other government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or local government agencies like housing authorities or police.

Established by the Congress in 1997, the Monitoring Board is an eight-member bi-partisan oversight body directed to oversee Census Bureau operations, work to promote census participation, and report its findings to the Congress and the President. Four of the Board's Members were appointed by the President; Four were appointed by the Republican leadership in the Congress. The Presidential Members are Gilbert F. Casellas (Co-Chair), California Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante, Everett M. Ehrlich, and Lorraine A. Green. The Congressional Members of the Board are Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (Co-Chair), David W. Murray, Mark A. Neuman, and Joe D. Whitley.

The text of the April 1, 2000 Report can be accessed at


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U.S. Census Monitoring Board
Presidential Members
4700 Silver Hill Road
Suite 1250 – 3
Suitland, MD 20746
Phone: (301) 457-9900
Fax: (301) 457-9901