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The 2010 Census and Its $340 Million Campaign

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As you probably know, the Constitution mandates a complete population count every 10 years, which helps redraw political boundaries and determine states’ representation in Congress and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments every year. In March of this year, Americans will be receiving what is considered the shortest Census form in U.S. history and the 2010 Census will be advertised by what many are calling the government’s “unprecedented promotional blitz,”costing taxpayers $340 million.

The Census campaign includes $140 million on TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising and roughly $80 million spent on ads that will target racial and ethnic groups and non-English speakers in 28 languages. They will be accompanied by a road tour called “The 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour” — stopping and exhibiting at more than 800 events nationwide, of which “13 road tour vehicles will provide the public with an educational, engaging and interactive experience that brings the 2010 Census to life.” The Census Road Tour will be stopping at the Super Bowl in Miami this Sunday, February 7th.

Speaking of the Super Bowl and all of its advertising glory: Hold on to your football jerseys because this season you won’t see Pepsi, yet, Dr. Pepper will be making an appearance during the game ads. Also, it turns out that the “Man Crunch Ad” was rejected by CBS; however, you will be able to catch the “Tebow Family Ad” and plenty of beer and Doritos commercials. Just in case you can’t afford to go to the Super Bowl this weekend, it is nice to know that your taxpayer dollars will be there and we have our government to thank. Not only will the Census Road Tour be in attendance, but “Uncle Sam has purchased a 30-second, $2.5-million reminder,” so that you will stand up and be counted! Apparently, Christopher Guest has directed quite a few of these Census ads under a project called “Snapshot of America,” starring actor, activist Ed Begley Jr. and others. [It is not quite clear which ad will be airing during the Super Bowl – here is a preview of what I could find]

Due to concerns over ACORN’s shady reputation and accusations and convictions of voter-registration fraud, last September the Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, noting that they will not be involved with the 2010 head count. However, as many of us were focused on the health care debate and other issues of the day this past December, Jose Cruz, Senior Director of Civic Engagement for the National Association of the Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) enlisted Jesus to get the Census “word” out and designed a poster that included the over 2000-year-old biblical account when Mary (with child) and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem after Caesar Augustus called for “all the world to be counted,” so that they could be taxed.

While the government did not pay or play a role in creating the posters, this type of propaganda did cause quite a stir amongst the faithful. Still, Cruz defended his decision in using this tactic as a means to get “full Latino count,” and stated, “For people who fear government — especially those here illegally — the plea to fill out the Census has to come from someone they trust – there is no more trusted voice in our community than faith-based leaders.”

Our government is also taking Census education and advertising to our children. The Census Bureau and the US Department of Education have launched the “2010 Census in Schools” program. If you have children in school be prepared for a week of Census education, which is scheduled to occur anywhere between January and March. Since the Census Bureau partnered with Sesame Street to extend the 2010 Census message, The Count and Rosita have already been spotted on American school campuses and it’s possible we will find Big Bird, Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street crew on our TV screen, marketing the 2010 Census. Maybe our government will employ Elmo to be a census taker, the Cookie Monster to hand out free refreshments, and The Count to add up all the taxpayer money our government is spending on the 2010 Census?

As it turns out, “the 10-year life-cycle costs of Census 2010″ are estimated at $14 billion, of which the $340 million allotted for paid advertising to “urge participation in Census 2010,” are in full force. Will you be counted?

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About Christine Lakatos

  • Why? Don’t you advertise outdoors to reach people?

  • jamminsue,

    That is an excellent point! Census records to find ancestors…

  • jamminsue

    The census does more than the political stuff you are discussing. It is also records for the future (I used old census records to find ancestors) and for economic forecasting.

  • I think maybe I did, I am sorry! Kind of on four different topics 🙂

  • Christine,

    Look at my response to you, again. I am sure you misinterpreted my meaning.

    :] ?

  • I’ll be back, I have to get this computer to work right.

  • christine,

    Yes! I meant “You” as in everyone!

    That lasagna was a hit! I used meatless meat-balls instead. I hope no one reads anything extra into this sentence.

    I don’t have all day to fight with everyone…

  • Jeannie: I’m sure you know, the protest was a political joke; I chose the Saints; glad they won!

  • Christine,

    It looks like the Saints came marching in even after of all your protests here!

    :] lol in a nice way.

  • Dave,

    Taxing our 401k’s, everything we buy, and everything we do is unfair.

    But, the lower 90% of this country continues to pay them.

    “Cut the tax cuts for the wealthy. Reaganomics has failed miserably!”

    :] My spell check is on the blink right now, so, please have pateints! I’ll be back…

  • Although, I also heard that Obama is FOR the Saints and since I am a Republican; you know what that means: “Just Say No!”

  • Jeannie: I haven’t been following football, however, I think I heard that the Colts are favored; so I will root for the underdog: the Saints! Plus, just really watching for the commercials anyway!

  • Dave, that is what I was trying to explain to Jeannie! Taxed twice is just WRONG!

  • The biggest problem with the death tax, aside from the obvious harm it does to the economy, is that it is a DOUBLE tax. All of that money has already been taxed once and to tax it a second time is inherently unfair.


  • Arch,

    Nobody is forcing you to converse with me, understand?
    So please stay out of this conversation. OK?

  • Baronius,

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep this in mind .

  • Christine,

    Thanks. Hope your team wins.

  • Arch Conservative


  • Arch is being facetious.

  • I was talking to Jeannie, Arch.

  • Arch Conservative

    Christine, who are you talking to?

  • J: no fight, just a good and honest debate. Have a great Sunday!

  • Christine,

    Yes, but it is not taking it all away is it?

    Look at how much of our shared resources goes to the wealthy top 10% of this country. Shared resources does not make you a socialist , it makes you an American.

    Actually, I came back here to say bye to you and have a nice time tonight during the Superbowl.

    :[I don’t want to fight with you, Christine.

  • “Estate Tax”: it still means the same thing. Money you have worked your ass off for all of your life and that you were already taxed on.

    The estate tax in the United States is a tax imposed on the transfer of the “taxable estate” of a deceased person, whether such property is transferred via a will or according to the state laws of intestacy.

    The equivalent tax in the United Kingdom has always been referred to as “death duties.”

    Key word: DECEASED; last time I checked deceased means “no longer living; DEAD.


    We can’t allow Luntz and his people to divide us with this word game any longer.

    There is way too much at stake here, “The entire middle class.”

    My family is not going back to the bread lines and the huddled masses…

  • Christine,

    Well, I can’t agree with your redistribution of wealth theory,

    I just don’t see how taking back some of these ridiculous tax cuts from the wealthy top 10% when we-the middle class are dying out here! would be so bad…

    Can I quote you statement that taxes are not a bad thing?

    I know it would be out of context but hey, You said it! and I am eternally grateful…:)

  • Jeannie: Taxes are not bad and is a necessary part of running our government, however, the “redistribution of wealth” is wrong and under this administration that is where we are headed. Not to mention the amount of spending by this administration is downright pathetic and will ensure more taxes on on there way. They tax us all our lives then they want to tax us when we die.

    Night of the Living Death Tax Obama’s budget quietly resurrects it in 2010.

  • :} You are a good man, and, don’t ever let me tell you different.

    Jeannie, all that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

    Your blind faith in a government which has failed us all so terribly is a sign of why a movement like the tea party exists — the purpose is to wake people like you up, and it’s not an easy task.


  • Well, nothing for me to see here. Gday…

  • Good Morning Christine!

    Yep, Jeannie’s at it again.:]

  • Glenn,

    I love what you just wrote.

    The stronger part of me – the part that still believes in the American ideal – will simply keep on supporting our democracy.

    There are many people in this country who feel this same way. We just aren’t organized into the street’s of this country fighting against ourselves.

    Don’t the Teabaggers realize that they are the government, along with all the rest of us?

    Most people sat home watching their TVs last night in utter revulsion. They paid her how much?

    I hope you don’t mind that I changed your sentence to fit my comment. Some people might accuse us of being socialists now, because we just shared something. AN IDEA!

    Glenn-I can’t watch your link, in fact, I can’t even click on it. I’m still a little nauseous after last night’s-glorified speaker’s performance.

    :} You are a good man, and, don’t ever let me tell you different.

  • Dave,

    I don’t recall the native Americans suing us after the last census, but I do remember how suspicious they were of all the cars and vehicles with census placards in the windows.

    When I worked as a map spotter for the 2000 Census, I was greeted by very-intense suspicion after showing up, unannounced, on an individuals property. As it should be,since, we are still free in America, and deserve privacy as well as respect from our own government.

    This is the reason why a strong ad campaign before the census takes place is so important!

    We need to treat all of our citizens with respect…


  • What Christine doesn’t address in her article is the slew of lawsuits which inevitably come after the census, when every city and county decides it’s been undercounted and then sues to get their figures adjusted. Maybe a simpler form will reduce all of that.

    But of course then there are the suits over redistricting which will follow as well.

    You know, here in Texas the 2000 census has still to be officially adopted for a lot of things. Cities still have population signs based on 1990 because they didn’t like the 2000 figures.

    It’s all a big political mess.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    The political mercenary part of me wants all Republicans and conservatives to do precisely what they were advised by Michelle Bachmann – don’t participate! Don’t answer anything! Refuse to cooperate at all with the census takers! After all, dontcha know they’re just trying to find out where all the REAL Americans are so’s the Democrats can come round ’em up and ship ’em off to concentration camps????

    But the stronger part of me – the part that still believes in the American ideal – will simply point out her sheer idiocy (and that of those who voted for her) and keep on supporting our democracy.

  • Christine,

    OK, It’s pricey, I’ll agree, but the campaign targeting Latinos with posters that are written in Spanish telling them not to be afraid is really necessary.

    Tell you why tomorrow. Then I’ll be able to see the keyboard again.. I’ve been on-line too long and my eyes are watering right now.

    {0 night

  • Christine,

    Let me read it again…I’ll be back

    :* oops!

  • Jeannie: I really didn’t give much of an opinion on this and never stated that the Census was NOT important. Just a little sarcasm at the amount of money being spent and a few other areas that I thought were over the top. Not a big deal, that is why I placed it in the “news” section, instead of “opinion.”

    Always a pleasure to hear your thoughts; my Italian, Chef, Friend. lol

  • Christine,

    I just read your article and I disagree.

    The census is a very important tool used to identify where your tax money should go and who could benefit from it the most.

    Let me ask you, “If you were not a successful business woman with a healthy, family, would you not want some help in order to prosper and improve your daughter’s chance for a brighter future?”

    :[ tax is not a dirty word.