Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Census Updates

From the New York Times editorial page:

Among other needs, the Census Bureau told the White House that it would require $18 million in the 2008 budget to begin its partnership program, which is central to the bureau’s strategy for ensuring that all Americans participate in the census. But in its budget proposal, the White House allocated nothing for the program — zero.

Under the program, the bureau would promote the census by teaming up with thousands of organizations — including state, local and tribal governments, churches, schools, corporations and community service groups. More than 140,000 such partnerships were established in the years leading up to the 2000 census and were widely acclaimed as crucial to its success. Racial minorities, in particular, were more accurately counted than in previous attempts. In 2000, the African-American undercount was reduced by more than half — to 1.84 percent from 4.57 percent in 1990. The undercount for Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans vanished.

If you want to know more about what's going on with the Census, you can visit or head on over to The Census Project, which provides media alerts, Census updates, and opportunities to get involved to ensure sufficient funding for Census (and ACS) activities.

There are also some exciting new tools planned for use in the 2010 Census. From HTL News:

Doing up the census is serious business, a task that has in the past taken thousands of people thousands of hours to do. That process has gotten more streamlined and more electronic through the years, and the 2010 census will be the most electronic and precise yet. This is mainly because much of the data counting and correlating will be done using handhelds.

A fleet of specialized handhelds is being developed for the U.S. Census Bureau by Harris, HTC, and others. A field test of the devices begins today, incorporating 1,400 of the handsets in separate yet connected operations on both coasts. Using GPS, SD cards, and high-tech reporting software, the devices will track the citizens of the country better than any combination of pen and paper ever has. The full-time effort is expected to incorporate 500,000 of the handhelds.

Because these devices contain sensitive information, they have been engineered to a high level of security, including multiple levels of passwords, starting with fingerprint authentication. The devices communicate with a central Census database using Government-standard industrial strength encryption.Assuming that the field test goes well, we'll be hearing a lot more about these handhelds in the next few years, leading up to the Decennial Census of 2010.

Many of us use the Census (and the American Community Survey) as key data resources for community indicators projects. Get involved to ensure that we have the most reliable and timely data possible.


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