U.S. Census to be sent out in both Spanish and English in certain areas

Thursday, October 01, 2009

One article on the subject can be seen here. It's a good idea given the fact that the entire purpose for a census is to obtain as accurate information as possible on those living within a country, and thus the English-Spanish forms will make it easier for them to fill out for those that do not know English. It seems that tests prove that having the forms in Spanish as well in these areas increases the response rate.

The bilingual forms will begin to be sent out in 2010, and other languages are available upon request: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian.

The article also mentions that Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) believes that the forms should be sent in English only in order to encourage people to learn the language. Hm...yes, let's decrease the accuracy of the nation's most comprehensive way to know about its people and best tool for long-term planning just for the sake of encouraging a few more people to learn English. No, on second thought let's not.

According to this article the Hispanic population has grown by about 33% since the 2000 census, reaching 47 million, but it's still a hard group to track given the large number of migratory workers, illegal workers who do not want to fill out a form, foreclosures leaving people without a mailing address, and of course the language problem.

Even illegal immigrants are being encouraged to fill out the forms this time though, and through a massive campaign called Ya es hora ¡Hagase contar! which means Now is the time. Make yourself count! organized by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Here's one of their videos (in Spanish) explaining the importance of the census for the Spanish-speaking community.

An article here can also be seen about an inexplicable boycott by some groups (National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders and the Mexican American Political Association) because they are irritated with government inaction on amnesty for illegal immigrants. The reason the boycott is silly is because 1) numbers from the census are used to direct funding to communities - emergency health care, medicaid, public school funding, etc. Reason 2) is because the census is only done every 10 years and there is no reason to boycott the government now (which is BUSY with health care reform at the moment in case nobody has noticed) because of a lack of action during its first year, when nobody even knows what the government will look like in four years, let alone eight or ten.


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