This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

No Census Reform After All

The Senate earlier this month had unanimously passed a bill that would reform the administrative structure of the Census Bureau in a way that would give it more autonomy and would be less influenced by politics. In an earlier post, I noted that the opposition in the House seemed to come mainly from the Republicans. Unfortunately, it turned out to be President Obama and key Democrats who shot it down in the house.
The administration’s objections had more to do with turf issues than substance. Gary Locke, the commerce secretary whose department houses the census, objected to one provision that called for the director to report directly to the secretary rather than to a midlevel commerce official, saying that it undercuts a secretary’s prerogative to organize the department.
House Republicans — who wanted an independent Census Bureau last year when they feared that Democrats would try to exert undue political control over the agency — happily cited Mr. Locke’s objections to justify their opposition.
So, the answer to the earlier question about whether the census can be saved from politics is clearly NO.

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