May 24, 2012
Blinding Ourselves Intentionally
Are we, the U.S., going the way of Lebanon where no official census has been taken since 1932 due to the sensitive confessional political balance between Lebanon’s various religious groups where the the President, for example, has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Greek Orthodox. Unfortunately the Shi’a population has grown exponentially and the Maronite Christian have mostly left after devastating civil wars and conflicts brought about by huge population shifts and a frozen political system.
An accurate, descriptively detailed census is conducive to a more tranquil society as most democracies have discovered. Billions of dollars of federal, state and local funding are distributed based on detailed census information which won’t exist now.
Thomas Jefferson built in a decennial census in the U.S. constitution to reapportion the representation to Congress every ten years. Its worked and it’s often revealing of uncomfortable demographic truths. The Republican have suffered under recent reapportionment and they are determined to blame the messenger.
Last week, the Republican led U.S. House of Representatives debated H.R. 5326 and by a vote of 232-190 ELIMINATED funding for the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS replaced the decennial census long form in 2005 and is the only source of representative, timely, and objective information about the nation’s social, economic, and demographic characteristics down to the neighborhood level.
Additionally The funding elimination will “devastate” the nation’s economic statistics. Specifically, the legislation will, in addition to terminating the American Community Survey, it will cancel the 2012 Economic Census.
The U.S. will be flying blind if these censuses are not re-instituted. I’ve written my congressperson. Hope you will.
Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography, Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work, Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is immediate past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: email@example.com To follow Pini on Twitter: Follow @pinih