The Hard Count
The Political and Social Challenges of Census Mobilization
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
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About the Authors
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THIS RESEARCH WOULD not have been possible without the generous support of The Russell Sage Foundation and a consortium of private foundations including The Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Carnegie Corporation of New York. Sunshine Hillygus also received financial support from the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences...
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THE DECENNIAL CENSUS sounds so simple. Just count everyone across the nation and add up the numbers. Yet this seemingly mundane task is anything but simple and more than a little controversial. The census controversies in 2000, for instance, focused on issues of representation for minorities, privacy and confidentiality, and partisan politics. The political stakes of census participation are high. The decennial population...
Chapter One: The Social Context and the Political Climate
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ON DECEMBER 28, 2000, the Census Bureau announced that on Census Day (April 1, 2000) the population of the United States had been precisely 281,421,906.1 Although this number resulted from an impressive logistic operation and was the product of a complex counting process, it was just an estimate. The Census Bureau knew, as did any knowledgeable observer, that the “true count” was 281 million individuals—give or take a few...
Chapter Two: The Civic Mobilization Campaign
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THE SOCIAL AND political environment facing the Census Bureau in 2000 posed a difficult challenge to completing a full and accurate count of the U.S. population. Population groups that are traditionally hard to locate and hard to count—immigrants, minorities, transients—were a growing proportion of the population as 2000 approached, and the public was generally less inclined toward civic participation. The bureau had experienced...
Chapter Three: Privacy Concerns and Census Cooperation
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EVERY TWENTY YEARS the constitutionally mandated decennial census in the United States falls on a presidential election year. In 2000, just as the census mail-back phase got underway, the census became briefly embroiled in the partisan rancor of the heated political environment. Given the broad and bipartisan support for the census mobilization campaign, the Census...
Chapter Four: Census Cooperation: Community and Household
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CENSUS COOPERATION IS often described as a form of civic engagement. In the media attention surrounding the 2000 census, the decennial count was routinely characterized as a “civic ceremony,” one that differs from voting in its nonpartisanship but is similar to voting in that it is a social-political duty that provides important community goods. Because of these parallels, it has long been assumed that the determinants of census cooperation...
Chapter Five: Conclusions and Consequences
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EVERY DECENNIAL CENSUS differs in design and methodology from the one that preceded it.1 Our inquiry started by setting out the context for the 2000 census because every census is responsive to the inevitable changes in the social-political climate and the demographic context over the ten-year interval. Census design also changes because every census offers lessons for how to do the next one. Although the Census Bureau...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2006