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Latinos, youth say they're unfamiliar with the Census

By Ed O'Keefe

Roughly a third of Hispanics and the same proportion of the nation's young people are unfamiliar with the U.S. Census, and less than half of Hispanics say they will definitely fill out their forms later this year, researchers reported Wednesday.

Pew Census
Image Courtesy of the Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center polled more than 1,500 adults last week as part of a series of surveys on the decennial headcount. It found that 9 in 10 Americans describe the Census as very or somewhat important for the country and roughly 8 in 10 said they will definitely or probably participate.

Most Americans are also aware that the Census helps determine congressional representation, and slightly more than two-thirds correctly stated that it is not used to locate or identify illegal immigrants. Only 31 percent of respondents realized that the Census is required by law.

Along partisan lines, 71 percent of Democrats say the Census is important, while 56 percent of Republicans agree. Republicans are less likely to participate in the Census, but are more likely to have heard of the Census than Democrats, the research showed.

The survey's release comes just days after the Census Bureau aired its first national television commercial, during NBC's coverage of the Golden Globes. The bureau's $133 million advertising campaign across TV, radio and the Internet is part of a $340 million campaign to promote the once-a-decade count.

Though $61 million is set aside for English language media, $25.5 million will be used to target Hispanic audiences. Another $23 million will help reach African Americans, and $13.5 million will be spent to advertise in several Asian languages.

Some black newspaper publishers have complained that the agency's ad budget for African American media is inadequate.

Read more about the survey on the Pew Research Center Web site.

Agree or disagree with the survey? Sound off in the comments section below!

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 20, 2010; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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The upcoming 2010 U.S. Census, what the official Census website refers to as a “portrait of America”, may up the ante. There has been an unprecedented buzz around what this influential survey will reveal about the Hispanic population months before its March commencement.

“Every individual within the snapshot has a story.” That is what the homepage goes on to claim. Public focus seems to be centered on what story will be told of the U.S. Hispanic whole. An accurate calculation of the Hispanic population will divulge the magnitude of their presence. Advocates believe the result would be enhanced political voice and benefits from federal programming.

The Census is much more than a head count. Comprised of ten simple demographic questions, the form has monumental impact. The decennial poll decides the fate of more than $300 billion in government funding annually. These monies are allocated towards infrastructure and services such as hospitals, education, emergency services, roads, etc.


Posted by: dialogopr | January 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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