10 Questions that Count: Coming Soon!

Friday, January 29, 2010 - 03:48 PM

from uscensusbureau

from uscensusbureau

The Road Tour kicked off, and they’re counting in Alaska - The 2010 Census is underway! In February and March, forms will appear in mailboxes; and in April, census workers will begin rapping on doors.

At the BL Show, we’re planning to cover it as only we can – with a crowdsourcing, interactive project. We call it '10 Questions that Count.' In the next couple of months we’ll roll out a new website for your stories: about being counted, why you’re hard to count, and how you define your community. We’ll focus on the 10 questions the census asks - but we also want to know what question you’d want to ask everyone in the country.

Why are we covering the census? Well, it’s a massive undertaking that determines how $400 billion per year in federal funding gets allocated. It also has the potential to redistribute seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. And this year the Census Bureau is making a huge effort to reach people who are hard to count and to make the census seem friendly, like a big group picture we can all be in:

How are we going to cover it? On air and online, it’s an opportunity for us to have conversations about how we live now, how our lives have changed over the past ten years, and how we identify ourselves in ways our government can’t define.

When do we get going? On March 10th, we’ll have a special show in the Greene Space, partnering with Feet in Two Worlds to talk about the challenges of counting a city with so many first-generation Americans.

Meanwhile, interesting things have already been happening around here. We got our hands on one of the solicitation letters from the Republican National Committee, which looks a whole lot like what a census form might…

RNC letter

The flurry of stories surrounding that mailing is only the beginning of what’s sure to be an interesting year.

How can you help? Please comment below about what you’d like to see covered on the show! And then for a chuckle, watch this census-themed sketch with Christopher Walken.

And stay tuned...


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Comments [5]

WNYC - The Scrapbook » 10 Questions the Coun

[...] you may know, we here at the Brian Lehrer Show are planning to cover the 2010 census as only we can – with a crowdsourcing, interactive project. We call it “10 Questions that [...]

Feb. 17 2010 04:13 PM
Joel Salomon

I’m currently working as a recruiter for the Census Bureau, and Gary’s comment is completely off-base. The Census Bureau is being run by the Department of Commerce, as it has been since 1903. The people taking the census will be hard-working members of your own community, who are explicitly banned from any partisan political activity while on duty.

If you want to get a job working for the Census Bureau as a census taker, call 866·861·2010 and register to take the exam. Paid training for those selected will begin in late March and early April. More details, and a practice test, are at .

Feb. 04 2010 07:30 PM

Since the Census Bureau will now be operated by the White House, with political operatives taking out personal information, I will not cooperate with the census. In fact, I will tell the interviewer my name is Christopher Walken!

Feb. 04 2010 01:01 PM

I'd like a story on what the census doesn't count -- and how it has changed throughout American history. As the history of the census has deep roots in discrimination, ie: who counts and who doesn't. And as, a historical document throughout history, what it lacks and how it has evolved says alot about the social and poltical climate of the country. Presently, what the census lacks, who be notably and obviously, "undocumented" persons. 200 years ago, the census would lack a slot for people of colour as they were not considered citizens -- regardless of the history of thier lineage. Likewise, how does the census shape our understanding of demographics and social needs -- especially in light of "undocumented" persons, of income, and a renegade workforce that contributes to the GNP. Yes, I like to hear coverage on that.

Jan. 29 2010 05:10 PM
Rebecca Wilson

I would love to hear coverage of how people with disabilities are among the least identified groups in the census--but they also represent the group that probably needs federal funding the most! The reasons for this are many and complicated, eg. parents embarrassed by stigma, people with communication impairments not being able to talk to census works (or too afraid to), etc. And then many of these issues are compounded among people with disabilities of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. This is so important because people with disabilities exist in every economic group, ever culture, ever religion, every geographic location. But even financially well off people still need federally funded services if they have a family member with a disability, because of how expensive services are. Now that New York has slashed disability funding, federal money is more important than ever.

Jan. 29 2010 04:54 PM

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