E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census

Curtis Franklin Jr., Executive Editor | 2/18/2013 | 23 comments

Curtis Franklin Jr.
For over 200 years, the US Census has been counting citizens and driving technology. This week on E2 Radio, we explore how the census could change the way you do business.

On Wednesday, February 20, E2 Radio brings a special guest to the topic of the census and its impact on business at 1:00 p.m. ET (-5 GMT).

We'll begin a conversation and chat that will change the way you think about this once-per-decade enumeration of the American people. Join us for IT Counts on the Census for a show that will have you and your peers talking for weeks to come.

To really understand the census and how it happens, you need an expert, and we have one of the foremost authorities on the census and its technology. Terri Ann Lowenthal will help you understand how the Census Bureau is looking at the technology to be used in the next round of census operations, and even more important, will talk about how the information gathered and distributed through the census can help you make better business decisions.

Terri Ann Lowenthal is a consultant specializing in issues related to the census, the federal statistical system, and the use of data for policy purposes. She served from 1981 to 1995 as a congressional staff aide in both the US House of Representatives and US Senate and was staff director of the House Subcommittee on Census and Population for eight years, guiding the panel's oversight of the 1990 census and 2000 census planning process. Current and recent consulting projects include The Census Project, the Leadership Conference Education Fund 2010 Census Public Education Campaign, and the Funders Census Initiative.

Terri Ann organized a coalition of business associations and companies in the late 1990s -- the Coalition to Preserve Census Data -- to advocate (successfully) for continuation of the census long form, which is now the ongoing American Community Survey. She continues to work with business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, International Council of Shopping Centers, and Marketing Research Association, to ensure the availability of reliable, timely data from the Census Bureau.

Terri Ann wrote the long-running Census News Briefs and now posts her thoughts on relevant census issues on The Census Project Blog. She was a member of the 2008 Obama Presidential Transition Team with responsibility for the Commerce Department's statistical agencies, including the Census Bureau.

Terri Ann earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She has been a member of the Cornell University Council and President's Council of Cornell Women, she was a John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Congressional Staff Fellow in the 103rd Congress, and she served on the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. Originally from Stamford, Conn., Terri Ann now lives and works in Ithaca, N.Y. In her "other life," she has been a figure skating coach for 38 years.

Register here and join us for this very special episode of E2 Radio at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 20. This is truly a show and a discussion you won't want to miss!

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CurtisFranklin   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 10:16:49 PM
Re: many things to learn
@rdv, the problem with trying to change the frequency of the census is that it would require amending the constitution a -- as difficult a process as exists in American politics. I think that our best strategy is going to be trying to get the most out of the current system, and judging from Terri Ann's answers, people are working hard on figuring out that very thing!
CurtisFranklin   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 10:10:13 PM
Re: Interesting subject!
@rdv, once you start diving into genealogy sources, it's truly amazing what you can discover. I've spent hours helping Carol with her research and I love listening to the stories she can now tell about our families in past centuries.
CurtisFranklin   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 10:07:03 PM
Re: Interesting subject!
@vnewman, I understand completely -- my dear wife has been doing the genealogy of both our families for several years. Pouring through census records tells you so much about your ancestors, the neighborhoods where the lived -- and the handwriting skill of the census clerk!
CurtisFranklin   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 9:59:49 PM
Re: many things to learn
@Hospice_Houngbo, I think it's interesting that many nations through history have conducted census in order to make sure that taxation was working. The US is one of the few to do it solely for the purpose of figuring out the composition of the House of Representatives. I'm glad it's required by the Constitution, since that means it can't be eliminated by a congress focused on saving money.
CurtisFranklin   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 9:54:35 PM
Re: Interesting subject!
@sohaib, I'm curious: Did the show meet your expectations? I'll admit that I had a lot of fun with this one -- Terri Ann was a superb guest. I think my only problem was that I felt there was a lot more we could have talked about!
vnewman   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 2:28:17 AM
Re: Interesting subject!
It likely wasnt common practice in most parts of the country - but the town I grew up in was very very small and the census taker filled out some supplementary fields and it was really fascinating to see after all this time.
rdv   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 1:44:38 AM
Re: Interesting subject!
vnewman: This indeed is a WOW thing!!!

   I thought census was all about gathering information of the demography and all the statistics about it, so that we can plan for the future.  I never knew it was possible to get the details of a particular family or members...

  Really exciting to know the future of how the census will be stored and used...
rdv   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 1:36:23 AM
Re: many things to learn
@HH: I may be wrong, but if we look at the globalisation (due to good communication and commutation systems)  that was present say 20-30 years back and compare it with present case, then I feel a lot is changing with respect to demography. Though this may not be as fast but the question is do we still have to stick to decennial census or could we have a Quinquennial Census?? (I completely agree with you that it would call for more resources and money)
vnewman   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/20/2013 1:06:07 AM
Re: Interesting subject!
Wow!  I've been so intrigued by the census since the one from 1930 was recently released and I painstakingly searched dozens of pdf files for family information.  It proved to be worth it as I discovered things about relatives that I never would have known - like exactly how tall my great-grandfather was and that he had a prominent scar on his face!  I'm hoping they might even start taking pictures!  It will be exciting to find out what the future holds...
Hospice_Houngbo   E2 Radio: IT Counts on the Census   2/19/2013 10:23:08 PM
Re: Interesting subject!
The guest's credentials are impressive and we will certainly have more to learn from her.   Looking forward to the show. I would like to know if we will still need to conduct censuses in 50 years from now as information about amost everyone is already being recorded on a regular basis.
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