Census Politics

9 04 2009

Most people who follow the politics surrounding Census are focused on a certain set of obstacles to achieving an accurate count such as the ongoing immigration crackdown, the foreclosure crisis, and counting people displaced as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But apparently we can now add gay marriage to the list of emerging issues confronting the 2010 count, which is used to allocate funding for building roads, maintaining schools, improving hospitals, and apportioning legislative districts.

Money quote from the New York Times

Also on Tuesday, in a separate effort to bolster the number of census respondents, the mayor and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, wrote to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, asking that the Census Bureau, which Mr. Locke oversees, count legally married same-sex couples as “married” in the 2010 census. As it stands, the bureau plans to count these couples as “unmarried partners,” since federal law does not recognize same-sex marriages.

“Recognizing these unions for statistical purposes may encourage greater participation in the census” among lesbians, gays and bisexuals, Mayor Bloomberg said. “And greater participation and accuracy are the end goals of the census outreach effort.”

Meanwhile with the count beginning in less than a year from now, a Census Director, Dr. Robert Groves, has  been nominated, but not confirmed yet and Congressional Republicans are getting busy looking for issues to reject him.

Ohio Congressman John A. Boehner told the Washington Times, “Mr. Groves reportedly advocated a scheme to use computer analysis to manipulate census data, rather than simply conducting an accurate count of the American people.” House Minority Leader also added, “We will have to watch closely to ensure the 2010 census is conducted without attempting similar statistical sleight of hand.”

Rep. Boehner is cynically using Groves expertise in sampling against him in order to portray the nominee as a voodoo numbers guy and Democratic hack. Boehner is trying to propagate this myth despite the fact Goves won the endorsement of even Bush’s former Census Director Louis Kincannon, who called the nominee an “eminent scholar” and said statistical sampling is a “nonissue,” according to the National Journal.

Who knew that a national head count could be so political?

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