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June 2, 1998

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More than half of those undercounted in the last census were children. A disproportionate number of the undercounted Americans were minorities. What that means is that some of our most vulnerable populations are routinely omitted when it comes time to providing federal funds for crucial services. An inaccurate census distorts our understanding of the needs of our people and in many respects, diminishes the quality of our democracy.

-President Bill Clinton
June 2, 1998

Today, President Clinton travels to Houston, Texas where he will lead a roundtable discussion on the need for a fair and accurate census. The President will be joined by eight members of the Houston community who will illustrate how a fair census is important to the lives and work of all Americans.

There Is A Need For a Full and Fair Census Count. According to the Census Bureau, the 1990 census missed over 8.4 million people and double-counted 4.4 million others. Missed counting among children, the poor, and minority groups occurred more often than others, making the overall count even more inaccurate.

An Accurate Census Is Important to All Americans. The census provides information that is the cornerstone of knowledge about the American people. It is the basis for virtually all demographic information used by educators, policy makers, journalists, and community leaders.

  • Census data directly affects decisions made on all matters of national and local importance, including education, employment, veterans' services, public health care, rural development, the environment, transportation and housing;
  • Federal, state, and local governments use census information to guide the annual distribution of $180 billion in critical services;
  • Congressional seats are reapportioned and legislative districts are drawn based on census data.

The Census Impacts Everyone. Census data is used by the government in allocating resources for a wide variety of programs, including:

  • Child Care. Census data on the number of working parents, family income, and the age of children are used to locate areas in need of child care facilities. The census information impacts programs like the Child Care and Development Block Grant, a program that enables low income families to obtain child care while they are at work, in job training, or school.
  • Social Security and Medicare. The Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services use census data to forecast the number of people eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits.
  • Education. The Department of Education uses census data to identify school districts and allocate funds under Title I, which helps provide extra help for students most in need, particularly communities and schools with high concentrations of children in low-income families.
  • Job Training. The Labor Department uses census estimates in support of the Job Training Partnership Act to prepare young people and adults facing serious impediments to employment by providing job and skills training.

The President Is Working To Ensure A Fair And Accurate Census. The Clinton Administration is working to ensure that Census 2000 is the most accurate census possible using the best, most up-to-date scientific methods as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.

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