Sunday, May 19, 2024

Census Bureau to Launch Ad Campaign to Reach Minorities

In an article today  the Washington Post reports that the Census Bureau is planning on launching a $250 million promotional campaign to encourage participation in the 2010 Census amidst the fears that millions of minorities will be overlooked.

More than half of the funds that will go to advertising will go across traditional and social media, and nearly a quarter will be devoted solely to Asian, black, and Hispanic media outlets.

The Census Bureau’s acting director, Thomas L. Mesenbourg told a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, “A year from now, the populace will have seen and heard more ads in national and local media than in any prior census”.

In an effort to bolster minority participation, the agency plans on hiring 2,000 temporary employees by the end of June to coordinate efforts with more than 10,000 local organizations and corporations to help encourage more participation from minorities, especially Hispanics who currently are the largest minority group in the country.

In addition, the article says major corporations such as General Mills and Target and civil rights groups including the NAACP will encourage their customers and members to fill out Census forms next year.

Stacey Cumberbach, New York City’s Census coordinator remembers that during the 2000 census, only 55 percent of New York residents responded to the questionnaires, compared with 66 percent nationally. This is exactly what they are trying to avoid in the 2010 Census.

Cumberbach says, “While the census is a federal responsibility, there must be earlier and ongoing communication and accountability to local governments and communities.”

However, during the current economic downturn there certainly will be obstacles with coordination with local governments due to tight budgets, according to Robert Goldenkoff of the Government Accountability Office. Also, the Census Bureau suspects that some Hispanics will refuse to answer questions because of their distrust of government or fear of exposing their illegal immigration status.

At a forum last Wednesday sponsored by the Brookings Institution and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Census officials and other experts also warned that increases in foreclosure and unemployment rates would serve as barriers in correctly counting the population during the 2010 census. Officials fear many families are in the middle of moving and will not receive their Census.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO, said minority populations are more likely to be affected because they are being hit harder by job losses and foreclosures.

Vargas says, “Another undercount of the Latino community, of which there has been in every single census, simply represents a failed census.”

Research done by the Census Bureau shows that many Hispanics “believe answers can be used against them,” according to Frank A. Vitrano, a division chief at the bureau who oversees planning and coordination for the 2010 count.

Washington Post


  1. I think it’s great there’s a realization of the importance of minorities for thing such as the census! Finally! As much as I am for a mixing pot society and going above and beyond race, at times I want to identify with the right group and know the demographics of different areas, occupations, etc. Great news…

  2. This is really a wonderful initiative. I’m sure that will endear them to all of us.