Census 2000 Efforts Hit Georgetown Campus

By Tracy Zupancis Hoya Staff Writer

Over the course of the past week, Census 2000 employees descended on Georgetown and the rest of the nation’s more than 3000 universities.

According to Delores Jeter, a survey statistician with Census 2000, which began on April 1, the census gathers information from all university students at their schools rather than at their parental home.

Census 2000 Statistician Rosalyn Bruno said that though many students think they will be counted twice, both at school and on the form filled out by their parents, the census form sent to families specifies that if a child is away at university, they will be counted at school and not at home.

“It’s not like registering to vote or paying taxes, where the location is very important,” Jeter said. “We are counting heads.”

At each university, census employees made an advance visit in January to identify dormitories, found a contact within each dorm and received an expected number of people living in each dorm. This compiled information is known as a “group quarters record.”

Jeter explained that in “group quarters,” such as dormitories, a census employee, known as an enumerator, will come to each dorm and deliver an envelope to those who have not filled out their census form sometime before May 6.

“We try to hand-carry an envelope to each person in the dorm, which the contact in the dorm can elect to help with. The student has a few days in which to fill out the form and seal it, so even the contact cannot see the information. The forms are then taken to a secure location, where census employees check for the minimum required information,” Jeter said, adding, “confidentiality is the name of the game.”

Students are given either a Short or a Long Form Individual Census Report. The short form asks for a student’s name, sex, race and age, while the long form goes into more detail, asking for such additional information as languages spoken, time spent commuting to and from work, disabilities and level of education attained.

“The object of the census is to count everyone,” said Bruno, “and that includes all students, whether living on or off campus.”

Jeter said that if students are unavailable, “we can hopefully use some of the school’s administrative records to get the required information.”

As there are over 3,000 universities in the nation, the census bureau has outlined specific rules for counting those living away from home in group quarters, while students attending university and living at home are counted on their parent’s forms.

The census bureau describes its mission as: “To be the preeminent collector and provider of timely, relevant and quality data about the people and economy of the United States.”

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