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Census 2010

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									Census 2010
Meeting of the Statewide Complete Count Committee
April 15, 2009
Cross Office Building, Room 300

Attendees:
       Gail Driscoll (Partnership Specialist, Portland Local Census Office)
       Tia Costello (Partnership Specialist, Boston Regional Office)
       Amanda Rector (Maine State Planning Office)
       Scott Tibbitts (Maine State Housing Authority)
       John Connors (Maine Labor Council for Latin American Advancement)
       Ryan Pelletier (Town of St. Agatha)
       Phil Nadeau (City of Lewiston)
       Noel Bonham (Office of Multicultural Affairs)
       Nicole Witherbee (Maine Center for Economic Policy)
       Deqa Dhalac (City of Portland Minority Health Program)
       Juan Perez-Febles (Maine Department of Labor)

Attending via conference call:
       Jamie Oman-Saltmarsh (Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission)
       Kenda Scheele (University of Maine)

Following introductions, Tia Costello explained how complete count committees can
help with Census 2010.
        We’re getting close to Census 2010 (now less than a year away from Census
           Day – April 1, 2010).
        The Census Bureau has been getting states involved through complete count
           committees. These committees can help identify the challenges involved with
           the census, the areas and communities that need to be targeted, and the
           messages that need to get out about the census.
        It is important to identify the “trusted voices” in the communities, as these are
           the people best able to help with a complete count.
        Need to let people know about the importance of the census – not just as
           whole (determines representation in Congress), but on a personal level
           (determines funding for free lunch in schools).
        Page 20 of the Complete Count Guide has a list of ways census data are used.

Most of the meeting was focused on a discussion of the challenges for obtaining a
complete count.
        Keep in mind that in addition to the statewide complete count committee,
           local and community-based complete count committees are encouraged. The
           more we can get the word out at a local level, the better.
Minority, immigrant, and migrant populations:
        Will there be access to Spanish-language materials?
                o There will be access to Spanish-language materials. Some materials
                    are already available and more are being developed. These will be
                    available both from the Census Bureau and online.
        In areas of high listenership, radio PSAs could be done in Spanish,
           particularly during other Spanish-language programming. Please share any
           radio stations that might be possibilities with Census Bureau staff.
        One of the challenges is that some minority groups are contained while others
           are dispersed across the state.
        There will be a challenge getting the message out to groups with high rates of
           illiteracy.
        What happens with group quarters and other housing for migrant workers?
                o Group Quarters are identified during an operation later this summer;
                    next year enumerators will bring specific forms to the group quarters.
                    The group quarters procedure is the same for college students, migrant
                    workers, nursing homes, etc.
        Enumerators who go to the door and find someone who does not speak
           English will have flashcards in 59 different languages so they can identify the
           language spoken in the household (assuming the person who answers the door
           is able to read). An interpreter will then be sent out to that household. A
           suggestion was made that flags of the nations be included on the flashcards –
           Tia checked with Washington and this is not going to happen, in part because
           there is political debate about which flag would be associated with which
           language.
        What about the fact that the Department of Education recognizes 100+
           languages in the school system? Boston Regional Office may be able to help
           with materials for some of the additional languages.
        New migrants pose a particular challenge because they are experiencing the
           census for the first time and may not have any idea of what it is.
        Questionnaire Assistance Centers will be set up around the time that forms are
           mailed out. Anyone can bring their form to a center for assistance. In addition,
           the centers will have templates in many languages that will match up to the
           census form, so people can fill out the answers on the English-language form
           and mail it back.
        It is hard to make connections between immigrants and their local
           communities – we can advertise the census as being something that they can
           do for their community – it’s beneficial to everyone.

Other hard-to-count populations:
        How are Census forms that get mailed to summer residences handled?
               o If the form isn’t returned, the enumerator will follow up and identify it
                  as an unoccupied residence. The occupant should have also received a
                  form at their non-summer residence.
        What is the timeframe for mail-out and follow-up?
               o Census forms are sent out in March; mail-back is closed around April
                   15; enumerators begin non-response follow-up in late April or early
                   May.
          There is a special transient count done in March, where enumerators visit
           locations where transients might be found.
          Are there geographic regions that need particular focus?
               o There are actually three types of census taking in Maine: mail out/mail
                   back, which applies to most households; update/leave, which applies
                   to some more rural households; and list/enumerate, which applies to
                   the most rural areas.
               o The census has a listing of the communities where each of these efforts
                   will occur.
          There are other hard-to-count populations as well: 18-24 year old males,
           renters, and college students.
          How is the homeless population counted?
               o There are two ways: through a service enumeration (at shelters, soup
                   kitchens, etc) and an outdoor count (on a couple of nights enumerators
                   will visit areas where homeless might be staying). It’s especially
                   important to have local information of where these places are.
          For people who may be temporarily homeless (e.g. in the case of
           foreclosures), they should be counted on the form for whatever household
           they may be staying with, even if they aren’t family members.

Other issues:
         Be Counted sites will be set up where people who think they may have been
           missed can fill out and submit a form with their address. Enumerators will be
           sent out to addresses collected at the Be Counted sites.
         Anyone who doesn’t complete the form in its entirety (leaving one or more
           fields blank) will go into non-response follow-up. Ideally, the Census needs
           people to include their name on the form.
         Local government participation is important – this needs to be a concerted
           effort at all levels. Perhaps a “Census 101” briefing about how the census
           works could go out through Maine Municipal and the various listservs that
           committee members have.
         Everyone should share with the Census events at which they should have a
           presence (DOL’s migrant worker forum April 29, events for the Minority
           Health Program, MMA’s annual convention).
         What were challenges in previous censuses? Getting around in mud season
           and getting the message out to remote areas.
         A second partnership specialist from the Maliseet will be starting soon as both
           a tribal specialist and will cover the state from Bangor and north.
         Social media will be a new aspect to this census. The Census Bureau is hoping
           that census ambassadors will get the word out and set up pages or link to the
           Census site. The Census is not setting up its own social media (Facebook, etc)
           pages.
          Trinkets are better for grabbing people’s attention than printed media; it’s
           especially important to have some Spanish-language trinkets.
          It will be important to let people know that Be Counted forms are available, so
           if they think they may have been missed, they can let someone know.

Next steps:
        What can we do as a committee? What will be our strategies for education and
            awareness? What is our timeframe (need to kick into high gear around January
            and February and peak next March when forms are mailed out)?
        The statewide committee could be a clearinghouse for local information.
        Which radio stations and which languages should the Census be advertising/
            doing PSAs on?
        What other languages are in the schools that might not be covered nationally?
        What events within local organizations should the Census be involved with?
        The offices in Augusta and Bangor will need managers (hiring will be starting
            very soon).
        In September the hiring for enumerators will begin. The Census generally
            needs about 10 applicants for every one person hired. They will need help
            getting the word out about hiring. In particular, local language specialists will
            be a challenge to hire.
        Are there examples from 2000 of what other states did or what other states are
            doing this time?
                o Syracuse held events sponsored by many organizations.
                o Massachusetts encouraged local complete count committees, included
                    messages on any mailings that went out, and hosted workshops.
                o The New York State Data Center is working through its affiliates to
                    get the word out.

								
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