For Immediate Release:
January 27, 1999
MONITORING BOARD ISSUES REPORT
D.C. The four Presidentially appointed Members of the U.S. Census Monitoring
Board issued their first report to Congress today, in which they conclude
that a "massive differential undercount of minorities and children" is inevitable
in the upcoming 2000 census if Congress blocks the Census Bureau's plan to
release a second set of adjusted results through the use of a Post Enumeration
Members found that the Census Bureau is "on track" to conduct the 2000 decennial
census without the use of statistical "sampling," as ordered Monday by the
U.S. Supreme Court.
they cited nonpartisan evidence presented to the Board during several public
hearings last year and in interviews earlier this week that "no matter how
much money Congress appropriates to the task," a traditional head count without
sampling in 2000 will "inevitably result in a huge undercount of the most
vulnerable members of our society: urban and rural poor, people with disabilities,
racial and ethnic minorities, and children."
Court earlier this week held that the Census Bureau cannot use any statistical
adjustment techniques for purposes of reapportioning the U.S. House of Representatives
in 2001. But, the Court noted that the current law requires the Bureau to
scientifically adjust the census results for all other purposes, including
the disbursement of federal funds and redistricting legislative districts
Coelho, the Presidential Co-Chair of the Monitoring Board, said today that
Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the Administration should rally
around the nonpartisan Census Bureau at this critical point in time.
are just 14 months until the census begins," Coelho said.
time for political bickering is over. Now that the Supreme Court has spoken,
it's clear that the Census Bureau needs to produce the best possible traditional
count for reapportionment, and then a second set of scientifically adjusted
results to enable states and localities to get their fair share of federal
added, "Those who oppose full funding of a PES are effectively endorsing a
massive undercount" in 2000 an outcome that "should be unacceptable to all
Board Members pointed to new statements from members of the nonpartisan National
Academy of Sciences, who said this week that a regular census (one that does
not utilize sampling during the nonresponse followup phase) can still succeed,
but only if the Bureau is allowed to conduct its widely endorsed post-census
survey and to adjust the results accordingly.
Dr. John Rolph, Chairman of the NAS Committee on National Statistics, told
the Board, "A large and well carried out Post Enumeration Survey is critically
important for assessing the coverage of Census 2000 and, hence, knowing how
well we have done."
Members of the Board reported that the recent census dress rehearsals in California,
South Carolina and Wisconsin were successful. However, "despite the Bureau's
best efforts, the undercount rates were unacceptably large" due to dramatic
social and demographic changes since 1990. For example, the undercount rate
in the Sacramento dress rehearsal was 6.3 percent much higher than expected.
transmittal also recommends against reinstituting the 1990 Post Census Local
Review program, which has been replaced for 2000 by an elaborate "Precensus"
local government review process that is more timely and extensive in terms
of national coverage.
the report summarizes research the Board conducted into the possibility of
utilizing existing federal and state "administrative records" to improve census
coverage. The Board found that despite the real potential of this approach
in future censuses, there are too many logistical hurdles and data deficiencies
to allow for any major operational changes in the census plan set to April
1, 2000, just 14 months away.
Board was created last year by Congress and the Administration to observe
and monitor all aspects of the Census Bureau's preparations for 2000. The
Congressionally appointed members issued their own report today.
report issued by the Monitoring Board is expected on April 1, 1999.
Contact: Estela B. Mendoza,