The 2020 Census is in Big Trouble

by Bryce Covert – The Census Bureau’s leader just stepped down just as it faces a huge funding crunch. The Census Bureau now has no leader after John Thompson resigned from his position as director on Tuesday. His resignation comes at a critical time as the agency gears up to conduct the 2020 Census — and was already facing big funding problems. The Census counts every person in the country, data that is used to allocate government resources to different states and localities, offer insight to businesses deciding on where to invest, and redraw congressional districts. The effects of unreliable or incomplete data could be devastating. Thompson had been Census director since 2013 and had 27 years of previous experience working in the bureau before that. His term expired at the end of last year but he was given a one-year extension to oversee preparations for the 2020 Census. The kind of experience he...

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New Census Data Once Again Illustrate Importance of Unions to the Middle Class

By Keith Miller and David Madland , Center for Amerrican Progress – According to data released this week by the Census Bureau, America’s middle class continued to struggle to regain its economic footing in 2013 as its share of the nation’s total income remained effectively stagnant at historically low levels. Among the most frequently overlooked contributors to the middle class’ declining share of the economic pie is the weakening of labor unions, whose membership as a share of the national population also sat stagnant at a historic low in 2013. Strong unions are necessary to maintain a robust middle class, and if action is not taken to prevent their further erosion, the middle class’ share of America’s economic gains may continue to shrink as the nation becomes more unequal. The middle 60 percent of American households took home an estimated 45.8 percent of the nation’s total income in 2013 —...

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Despite Calls for Humanity, Detroit Resumes Water Shutoffs

Citizen advocates warn that the “whole world is watching” By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams – Despite widespread public outcry and international condemnation, the city of Detroit on Tuesday resumed shutting off the water supply to thousands of city residents. Ending the month-long moratorium on shutoffs, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) public affairs specialist Gregory Eno confirmed to Common Dreams that the city turned off the water to roughly 400 households that are delinquent on their water bills and have not yet set up a payment plan. More shutoffs are expected. According to the citizens group Detroit Water Brigade, the only thing that changed since shutoffs began in March is that the city has lowered the required down payment water bills from 30% to 10%. “The water is still too expensive for Detroit,” they said. Detroit is one of the poorest cities in the United States with over 38% of the population living below the poverty...

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A Growing Divide Over Official-English Laws

By Jake Grovum, Stateline – A growing language divide has opened up across the country, as a sharp increase in the number of Americans who speak English as a second language — or don’t speak it at all — is driving cities and states to respond, often in radically different ways. In some places, policymakers are enacting or strengthening English-as-official-language laws, barring the translation of certain government documents into any other language. Other places are becoming de facto multilingual societies, with laws and procedures designed to make government more accessible to immigrants who don’t speak English. The result is a patchwork of policies that vary greatly from state to state, or even within states. To date, 31 states and many counties and localities have adopted English as their official languages. Oklahoma became the most recent state to do so in 2010, and many cities or counties have as well, such as Carroll...

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In Bid for Millennials, Cities and States Promote Cycling

Competing for the most mobile generation ever By Tim Henderson, Stateline – If a 90-minute commute from Brooklyn to New Jersey sounds grueling in a car, just imagine it on a bicycle. Until a recent job change, 40-year-old Peter Schneider made that daily trip, biking 22 miles from his home in Brooklyn to his marketing job in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey — and he loved it. “Commuting and exercising at the same time kills two birds with one stone,” he said.  Cycling to work wouldn’t have been possible, Schneider said, without the protected bike lanes of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a 32-mile route that circumnavigates the island of Manhattan. Communities across the country are weighing similar routes, believing that a cycling-friendly reputation will help them attract millennials and the creative and economic energy that comes with them. “States and cities are competing for the most mobile generation ever and so the job creators...

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Are Minority Births the Majority Yet?

By D’VERA COHN, Pew Research Center – Two years ago, the Census Bureau announced the nation had reached a new demographic tipping point: The share of U.S. babies who were a racial or ethnic minority had edged past the 50% mark for the first time. The finding was widely covered as a dramatic illustration of the agency’s projections that the U.S. will become a majority-minority nation within three decades. But that tipping point may not have arrived yet, according to preliminary 2013 birth data released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics. The center’s numbers indicate that non-Hispanic white mothers still account for 54% of births — as they had in 2012 and 2011. The Census Bureau’s initial announcement was that members of minority groups — defined as anyone who is not non-Hispanic white —accounted for 50.4% of the U.S. population younger than age 1 on July 1, 2011. The bureau’s annual population estimates for July 1, 2012,...

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South and West Draw Highest Share of Newcomers

‘California doesn’t have cheap housing, and you don’t have to pay a million dollars for a house ‘ By Tim Henderson, Stateline – Brian McGannon moved last year to Austin from Kansas City, Missouri, for a job, joining a new wave of migration to the South and West. Austin is “a melting pot of culture and modern progressiveness that I’ve never seen before,” said McGannon, who works as a writer and content manager for Grandex, a media and apparel company. “The culture shock was definitely at how active the city was, how much buzz there was … and how obsessed everybody is with music down here,” McGannon said. Between 2010 and 2013, Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and Colorado were the strongest people magnets, drawing nearly a million movers, according to a Stateline analysis of recently released Census Bureau population estimates. Because of a sharp drop in immigration from other countries, movers are...

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