Submitted by Lynn Saunders, Government Documents
The Vermont State Data Center sponsored a workshop to discuss and review some websites and the upcoming 2010 Census. The State Data Center (SDC) Program is a cooperative program between the state and the Census Bureau to make data available locally to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments.
In early December the State Data gathered together a group of statistical users to talk about the upcoming 2010 Census. At the present time the Census Bureau is gearing up by hiring individuals to check addresses and to work in the Vermont office which is located in the Burlington area. They are also looking for community volunteers and groups to help with making sure that the count is complete. I have posted some literature in the staff room about Census 2010.
One significant difference in the 2010 Census will be that there will be no long forms handed out. The information that was gathered in the long form then is now being gathered by the American Community Survey (ACS) (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/). The ACS is a department of the Census Bureau that surveys the population on an ongoing basis to provide more recent information than is available from our Decennial Census. This method of gathering information is going to be problematic for small states like Vermont. The surveys used to get the sample information are sent out to certain parts of each state each month in a rotation. In small states the sampling area is so small that the information has to be gathered for a longer period of time in order to get enough samples so that the people answering the questions can’t be identified. The effect for small states is that the statistics that they use will only be available every 5 years, while larger states will have new statistics every year. When applying for grants, larger states will have an edge because their statistics will be more up to date than the smaller states.
Our State Data Center has been in contact with the Census Bureau to try and work out this problem. The director of the Vermont State Data Center, Will Sawyer, had a personal meeting with the head of the Census Bureau. Although nothing is scheduled to change immediately the Census Bureau is considering the problem and potential fixes.
We also reviewed how to use American Fact Finder and the State Data Center’s website, Vermont Indicators. Vermont Indicators is very useful for finding compiled statistics for the state. They also have historic data which can be easily accessed by the click of button. Vermont Indicators can be found at http://maps.vcgi.org/indicators/.