With the 2010 Census a little over a year away, the nation is at a critical juncture in its planning and preparation for the next decennial enumeration.
There is much at stake. Without a full count of the U.S. population, Congress and the administration will lack the accurate data necessary for reapportionment and redistricting, to make critical decisions about community services, and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to state and local governments every year.
On March 18, the Brookings Institution and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) hosted a discussion on urgent and emerging issues affecting the coming census. Brookings Vice President and Director of Governance Studies Darrell West set the context on new political realities and how this weighs on the 2010 Census. The panelists, moderated by NPR’s Ron Elving, considered the capacity of the Census Bureau to effectively carry out the enumeration, including an examination of the funds provided in the economic stimulus plan and the Obama administration’s budget for the 2010 Census.
The forum also explored the issues facing the Census Bureau as it prepares to implement its communications and outreach plan–a key element in meeting the challenge of reaching Latinos and other hard-to-count populations–with an emphasis on the impact of the nation’s changing demographics and political climate. Brookings Fellow Andrew Reamer provided introductory and closing remarks.
After the program, panelists took questions from the audience.