Tech Won't help Census
- By Judi Hasson
- Feb 06, 2000
Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt said technology won't help the agency
find those who are undercounted in the 2000 census and that it will take
knocking on doors and old-fashioned legwork to get the job done.
At a recent press briefing, Prewitt announced a new campaign to get local
governments and community leaders involved in increasing the number of people
counted in the upcoming census and to send Census workers into communities
to find people who have not returned their census questionnaires.
Although the short form will be able to be filled out online, Prewitt
said those who are hard to count "are groups not likely to use the Internet."
"It will not solve the problem of the most difficult to reach, the hardest
to count," added Commerce Department Secretary William Daley. In 1990, only
65 percent of the population was counted. This year, the goal is at least
70 percent, Prewitt said.
The highest response in 1990 was in the Midwest, where more than 70
percent responded in a number of farm states. The lowest rate, 52 percent,
was in Alaska, where remote villages make it difficult for Census workers
to gather data. On Jan. 20, Prewitt will visit Unalakleet, Alaska, a village
100 miles southeast of Nome, to begin a door-to-door census count.
Questionnaires will be delivered beginning in March. Response rates
for every jurisdiction will be posted at www.census.gov and updated daily
from March 27 to April 11.