NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - What do you call a federal program that's pumping billions into the economy and creating more than a million jobs?
Though its not technically a stimulus operation, the upcoming decennial population count is helping boost the economy by putting 1.4 million people to work. The Census Bureau is also funneling money into local communities by renting office space and furniture and by buying equipment and supplies. And it is spending $212 million in advertising - mainly in 2010 - to urge people to return their forms.
Projected to cost $14 billion, Census 2010 is the most expensive ever in the nearly 220-year history of the population count. The bureau is also getting $1 billion from the federal stimulus package to augment operations, including increasing outreach efforts to minority communities and hard-to-reach groups.
The effort comes at an opportune time. With millions of Americans out of work and countless others suffering from reduced overtime and commissions, people are eager to land a government job, even if it's only for a few weeks.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama’s decision to cross party lines and nominate New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to run the Commerce Department has set off a partisan battle over the 2010 census.
African-American and Latino leaders are concerned that the Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Department, might lack sufficient resources under Gregg’s leadership to accurately count ethnic minorities.
And in response to statements from the White House that it will work closely with the bureau’s next director, some House Republicans are suggesting that the Obama administration could manipulate the 2010 tally to achieve a longer-term political advantage for Democrats because congressional redistricting depends on census results.
The Census has been the topic of political debate in the past. Many experts believed that the door-to-door approach used in the 1990 Census count missed 1 to 2 percent of the total U.S. population, with many of those uncounted Americans thought to be minorities who lived in urban areas. To address that concern, Census officials proposed using some basic statistical techniques to fill in the gaps. Democrats tended to favor this approach, which were expected to increase the population count in areas of Democratic strength; Republicans tended to oppose the new techniques for similar reasons. The controversy even reached the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1990s.
Gregg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of the subcommittee that oversees the Commerce Department, cast a vote in 1995 to abolish the entire department, and in 1999 opposed emergency funding for the 2000 census.