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Census Essay, Research Paper
The plan for the 2000 census will make an unprecendent effort to contact every living
person living in the United States and will contact more people than in any previous census. With
statistical methods for nonrespondents, the Census 2000 will be the most complete accounting of
the U.S. population ever. Statistical Sampling should not be a partisan issue . It is an American
issue. It’s about making sure that every American really and literally counts. It’s about gathering
fair and accurate information that we absolutely have to have if we are going to determine who
we are and what we have to do to prepare all our people for the 21st century.
We do a census every 10 years. Even the first time, when Thomas Jefferson sent
federal marshals on horseback, we relied on the system of going to the households to count these
people (Riche 34). As the years continued on and the population grew, It began to be more time
consuming and progressively more expensive. In 1970, we started counting people by mail. We
asked that Americans fill out the census forms and then send them back for processing (Riche 34).
This is the current method in use.
We know that the census missed 8 million Americans living in inner-cities and in remote
rural areas in 1990 (Clinton par.3 ). We also know that we double-counted 4 million Americans,
many of whom had their own home (Riche 34). The census missed 482,738 in the state of Texas;
66,748 of them in Houston alone (Clinton par. 3).
With the current method of the census, the problem are not getting solved. Congress
concluded in 1990 that the census failed on two grounds: It cost too much and measured two few
people (Riche 35). Inaccurate information causes some of the biggest problems. For example,
the United way recieves generous grants for very wealthy individuals. If the census is inaccurate,
then it has an indirect effect on private investments of peoples’ and governments’ investments as well
(Clinton par. 6).
More than half of the under-counted in the last census were children(Clinton Par.4). A
disproportionate number of under-counted Americans were minorities. That means some of our
most vulnerable populations routinely are omitted when it comes time to providing federal funds
for critical services (Riche 35). An inaccurate census distorts our understanding of the needs of
our people and, in many respects, diminishes the quality of life not just for them, but for the rest
of us as well (”FAQ of statistical sampling”).
The WIC program is a great example. The Congress and the President have had a good
success in getting a bypatisan majority to put more money into the program. But the funds, once
appropriated, can only flow where they’re needed if there is an accurate count of where the kids
are (Clinton par.9). So, ironically, no matter how much money we appropriate for WIC, unless we
actually can track where the children are, the program will be less than fully sucessful(Clinton
Hispanic Americans are expected to triple in the next 50 years, comprise almost 100
million residents( Census Report 1994). And interestingly, those populations are located in five
of the six largest states of this country–Texas being one of them. Those five states comprise 170
electorial votes, 63 percent. In fact there is another 8 states that have large Hispanic populations.
It is very possible that Hispanics hold the key to the future to the electorial college and the
presidency. Getting an accurate count for aid is vital to this district which is composed of
about 100,000 hispanic (1990 Census).
Cost is another problem with the current method. In 1970, using the number of
households counted divided into the total cost of census and adjusting for inflation, the cost was
10 dollars per household (Riche 35). The 1990 census cost 25 dollars (Riche 35).
The census is very critical to the budget. The cost is staggering– $4 billion is what
expected in the year 2000 (”FAQ of statistical sampling”). And, again, that includes sampling.
So we know if sampling is not allowed for, that cost may even rise another $700 milllion (Riche
35). Thats’s a staggering amount, yet at the same– the repercussions are probably even greater,
of the under-count.
Statistical Sampling is vital to your district. You represent over 600,000 people in your
district which live in city limits of Houston; 350,000 white, 150,000 African Americans, 25,000
Asian(1990 Census). Not only that, you represent about 100,000 people of Hispanic origin which
is growing at an amazing rate (1990 Census). Within the households, more that half or the
families with children have both parents bringing income into the home. There are over 20,000
male who are either divorced or separated living on their own; 2,000 of those men have
children (1990 Census). This number rises to 3,000 for women who have children living with
them (1990 Census). Programs like WIC are very benificial to your disrict.
The Democratic party supports you and your district. They want Statistical sampling used
for the year 2000. Similarly, The White House will also support any bill that goes through
Congress which supports Statistical Sampling(Clinton Par. 18 ). Based on the expert
recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, the Census Bureau first outlined its plan,
which includes Statistical Sampling, for a reengineered census 2000 in February of 1996. The
Bureau’s plan called for a simpler, less costly, more accurate census (Riche 36) They too also
support Statistical Sampling.
There are also many intrest groups that will support any legislation for Statistical
Sampling. Many groups rely on accurate data to tell where the problems are and how much to
give in donations to these problem areas. For example, the United Way of the Texas Gulf, which
is located in Houston, is the 4th largest in the nation, in terms of money raised (Clinton par.8 ).
Since it is a non-profit organization, it should give money to the area that needs it the most.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials is another great example of
support for the passing of a better census. Accurate census data is critical to public health. They
use the data to calculating birth rates, where to place school-linked clinics and have increased
family planning or pernatal care services, and to make decisions on how to use the resources
available for health care (NACCH ).
The Texas AAMA, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans, lives off
the data from the census (Clinton par.14). They work for education, social services, and
community development. They rely on the information given by the census for programs they
give to the community. For example, they use the information to run one of the largest social
services programs which deals with gang intervention, treatment, and preventions from gangs.
However, The Republican party, which has a majority in the House and Senate, is turning
the issue of Statistical Sampling into a patisan vote. Their arugment is that it is more accurate to
actually count people. This goes along the lines that guessing is not as accurate as counting.
Therefore, It is essential, that you try to convince members of your committees to
support any legislation that supports Statistical Sampling. On the Committee of Banking and
Financial Services, it would do no harm in asking Chairman James Leach (R-IA) to think about
voting on Statistical Sampling in a non-partisan way (House). The same is true on the Budget
Committee. It would help to work with other members such as Lynn Rivers (D-MI)
to convince– Chairman Kasich (R-OH).
It would be in the best intrest of the city, county, and area that you vote for any legislation
in favor of Statistical Sampling. Many have already been under-counted in Houston alone. This
is very important to your district. As the years roll on and more and more individuals of Hispanic
origins pour into the areas that you represent, it is important that you know who you are
representing and how you should represent them in Congress by their beliefs and needs.
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