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Blog Category: Bureau of the Census

Memorial Day: A Look at Veterans in America Today

NPS/Andersonville National Historic Site. Flags decorate the graves in Section E of the Andersonville National Cemetery

Guest blog post by Melissa Chiu, Chief of the Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau

As we honor those soldiers who have given their lives to their country this Memorial Day, we can also take the opportunity to better understand America’s veterans. The American Community Survey provides a profile of our 21.8 million veterans.

So, who are our veterans in America? U.S. veterans are made up of every gender, race, ethnicity and almost every age group. There were more women veterans in 2010 than twenty years ago; this group has grown by 3 percentage points since 1980 to 1.6 million in 2010.  It is important to recognize that women constitute 19 percent of veterans in the age group 18 to 34.  There were 9 million veterans 65 and older in 2010 and, at the other end of the age spectrum, 1.7 million were younger than 35.

We find that veterans age 18 to 34 are more racially and ethnically diverse than older veterans. Non-Hispanic whites account for 17.5 million veterans. In addition there were 2.4 million black veterans, 1.2 million Hispanics, 265,000 Asians, 157,000 American Indians or Alaska Natives and 28,000 Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders in 2010.

2010 Census: On-Time, Under-Budget, and Extremely Accurate

Image of Census bureau with social medai icons and website address

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

Yesterday's U.S. Census Bureau report shows that not only was the 2010 Census delivered on time and significantly under budget–but even more important, it was extremely accurate. I am proud of the extraordinary accomplishment by the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department in its success with the massive 2010 Decennial Census effort that gathered data vital to understanding our nation’s population and to allocating equal representation in our democratic system. The accuracy of the 2010 Decennial Census is particularly impressive considering outside predictions of failure. The Census was able to reverse a decades-long decline in survey response rates with its 2010 count.

The data released yesterday are from a post-enumeration survey of the 2010 Census called the Census Coverage Measurement (CCM) program, which measures the accuracy of the coverage of the nation’s household population (excluding the 8.0 million people in “group quarters,” such as nursing homes or college dorms). It surveys a sample of the 300.7 million people living in housing units and then matches the responses to the census, providing an estimate of exactly who was or wasn’t counted in the census. The results found that the 2010 Census had a very small net overcount–just 0.01 percent–which is statistically virtually the same as zero, and a significant improvement over the 0.49 percent overcount in 2000 and 1.61 percent undercount in 1990. You can learn more about how the Census Bureau conducts the CCM survey after the census to help measure its quality.

Deputy Secretary Blank Advocates Public Service in Commencement Speech

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

This morning, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address to graduate students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) commencement ceremony.

I was also deeply honored to receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony for my work as a public servant, including the leadership I provided in my previous job at Commerce, overseeing the nation’s premier statistical agencies, the Census Bureau (during the 2010 Census) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The commencement speech provided an opportunity to give advice to the graduate students and to encourage them to use their expertise and experience to find solutions to the pressing problems facing our world. UMBC is particularly well-known for its scientific training. Science, technology, engineering and math–STEM fields–are particularly important, and it is STEM-related research that will drive innovation in the years ahead. In fact, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than other jobs, indicating the need for more workers with these skills.

2010 Census Shows More than Half of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders Report Multiple Races

Pie chart: More than Half of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders Report Multiple Races

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau released today a 2010 Census brief, The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population: 2010 (PDF), that shows more than half (56 percent) of this population, or 685,000 people, reported being Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. This multiracial group grew by 44 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Overall, 1.2 million people, or 0.4 percent of all people in the United States, identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHPI), either alone or in combination with one or more races. This population grew by 40 percent from 2000 to 2010. Those who reported being Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone totaled 540,000, an increase of 35 percent from 2000 to 2010. The multiple-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population, as well as both the alone and alone-or-in-combination populations, all grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.  Census press release

2010 Census Statistics Showed Asians Were Fastest-Growing Race Group

Director Groves at Profile America Forum

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

Yesterday, the Census Bureau held "Profile America Forum on the Asian Population," a presentation on the release of a 2010 Census brief on the Asian population in the United States.

2010 Census Shows Interracial and Interethnic Married Couples Grew by 28 Percent over Decade

Infographic: 2010 Census Shows Interracial and Interethnic Married Couples Grew by 28 Percent over Decade

Commerce's Census Bureau Wednesday released a 2010 Census brief, Households and Families: 2010, (PDF) that showed interracial or interethnic opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010. States with higher percentages of couples of a different race or Hispanic origin in 2010 were primarily located in the western and southwestern parts of the United States, along with Hawaii and Alaska.

A higher percentage of unmarried partners were interracial or interethnic than married couples. Nationally, 10 percent of opposite-sex married couples had partners of a different race or Hispanic origin, compared with 18 percent of opposite-sex unmarried partners and 21 percent of same-sex unmarried partners. |  Full Census release

Earth Day 2012: Commerce Saves Trees—and Money—by Cutting Down on Printing

Image of grass, ferns and a tree

Guest blog post by Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank

Earth Day is here, and Commerce is seeing the positive results of its year-long campaign to “go green” and drive down costs in print. Just this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce’s largest bureau, announced it has removed over one-third of its desktop printers, bringing total savings from the Commerce print project to $4.7 million per year.

Commerce spends $25 million annually on print–which includes equipment, paper, toner, energy and services. Last year we took a look at where that money was going and found that:

  • Commerce printed 250 million pages on its networked printers.
  • Nearly all of those pages were printed single-sided, and a quarter were printed in color. 
  • We also had a high ratio of employees-to-desktop printers, which use more toner and are more expensive than shared printers.  
  • And we realized we had 350 contracts and 400 vendors, with very little centralized ordering.

Census Director Robert Groves to Leave the Commerce Department This Fall

Secretary Locke, Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Census Director Groves Stand Before the Official Population of the United States (April 1, 2010)

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has been an exceptional and dedicated leader. Over the past several years, Dr. Groves has done outstanding work to transform and modernize the Census Bureau. So our announcement today is bittersweet: Dr. Groves is resigning as Director of the Census Bureau in August to become the provost of Georgetown University. This is a significant and highly deserved honor for him–and a major capstone to his notable academic career. 

Dr. Groves has led the Census Bureau for almost three years. During that time, his remarkable leadership of the 2010 Census resulted in a historic, successful operation that was completed on time and $1.9 billion under budget. Dr. Groves helped shape a strategy for planning a more cost-efficient 2020 Census and launched an employee-led operational efficiency program that saved millions of additional taxpayer dollars. He also led a formal reorganization of the Census Bureau, reestablishing the research directorate to spur technical innovation. With the implementation of a corporate hiring and job rotation program, Dr. Groves has worked to expand the breadth of skills among Census staff to effectively lead the Bureau into the 21st century.

Back to the 1940s

Census Bureau Director Rober M. Groves Release Records from 1940 Census

Guest blog post by U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves

On April 2, 2012 the Census Bureau did something unique, a once-in-a-decade action. Throughout all other times, we focus on keeping confidential the social and economic data that households and businesses provide us. Once every decade we release the individual records of a 72-year-old census. This year it was the 1940 Census.

Approaching that day, the buzz in the genealogy world was deafening; they have been waiting 10 years to fill in their family trees, to learn new things about their ancestors, and to expand their insight into their lives.

As the genealogist of my family, I can’t wait to look up my grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as my parents’ forms. The forms won’t be indexed by name immediately, so we’ll have to link addresses of our ancestors to enumeration districts and then browse the enumeration district looking for our relatives. Right now, my tracking of the Groves’ family goes back to 1670 on the Isle of Wight, off the coast of England, but it ends in 1930. The 1940 Census allows me to see records of people I remember meeting in my youth.

Spotlight on Commerce: Nancy Potok, Associate Director for Demographic Programs

Nancy Potok, Associate Director for Demographic Programs

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

I direct the Demographic programs at the Census Bureau. We calculate annual population estimates for each area of the US, calculate the official poverty rate numbers, and work with data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey to create numerous reports and products that inform our nation about the changing characteristics of our growing population. We also conduct surveys on behalf of other Federal agencies such as the National Crime Victims Survey, which the Bureau of Justice Statistics uses to calculate the crime rate, the Current Population Survey, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate the unemployment rate each month, and many others.  One unsung area of the Census is our strong international program. That group, in cooperation with USAID and other agencies, offers technical assistance to countries on how to set up their own scientific and objective statistical activities and conduct censuses and surveys of their population.

The President has laid out a vision to build an America that lasts, and the Census Bureau contributes to that future. Much of the data that we produce is used by state and local Economic Development Authorities to bring businesses to their area.  Businesses use the information to make relocation decisions and to target their marketing appropriately.  We also report, at various geographic levels such as states, counties, cities, and small towns, on educational attainment, income, poverty, how people make various use of government assistance programs, and other critical information needed to inform our communities on how we as a nation are doing and where we need to invest our resources to strengthen our future.  Without the data collected by the Census Bureau, we would not have the information we need to grow our economy, create jobs, improve our schools, build roads, and other activities critical to our civil society.

I grew up in Detroit, but have been living in the Washington, DC area for many years now. I earned my Masters in Administrative Science from the University of Alabama and then became a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Transportation. I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the George Washington University. Since I enjoy school and learning so much, I’ve returned as an adjunct professor there, teaching in the Trachtenberg School of Public policy and Public Administration.