Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 14, 2000

President Clinton Unveils New Steps to Ensure Full Participation in Census 2000

Today, at a speech before representatives of Hispanic organizations, President Clinton will announce new steps to encourage all Americans to participate in Census 2000. In 1990, an estimated 8.4 million people were not counted -- many of whom were children, minorities, and low-income individuals. The President today will launch a "Census in Schools" challenge to emphasize that census information is strictly confidential and to direct federal agencies to step up their activities in support of the Census. To make sure every person in America counts, the Census Bureau is already undertaking a massive mobilization involving hundreds of thousands of local census takers and volunteers. The Census Bureau has built partnerships with businesses, community groups, schools, and governments. It will also for the first time use radio, TV and billboard advertisements to urge all Americans to be counted.

HIGHLIGHTING THE "CENSUS IN SCHOOLS" CHALLENGE. In the 1990 Census, nearly half of those not counted were children. For that reason, the Census Bureau has developed the Census in the Schools program. Through this initiative, the Census Bureau has sent more than one million program kits to teachers around the country at all levels, including adult ESL and literacy classes. The President will announce that the White House web page will now include a link the Census 2000 webpage to allow teachers and others to access a Census in the Schools program kit and other Census information. During March, Census questionnaires will be mailed to 120 million American homes, and so teachers are encouraged to use these materials during "Teach Census Week," March 13-17.

EMPHASIZING THAT CENSUS DATA IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. To encourage participation, the President today will underscore that that individual data obtained in Census 2000 will not be shared with anyone outside of the Census Bureau for any reason. The information will not be available, for instance, to the IRS, the INS, the FBI or any law enforcement agency. No one in state, local or tribal government can get the information; nor can private persons, businesses, credit bureaus or marketing companies. Only Census employees have access to such information, and they are subject to strict criminal penalties for sharing data. The President today will also highlight a Census partnership with the National Baseball Players Association that has produced a series of public service announcements on the confidentiality message. These PSA's will feature Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.

MARSHALLING FEDERAL AGENCIES IN SUPPORT OF CENSUS 2000. President Clinton will also direct federal agencies to embark on extraordinary efforts to support the Census. For example, the Social Security Administration, Departments of Treasury and Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management will post a census message on more than 15 million envelopes containing federal payments. The Department of the Interior is reaching out to the Native American community. The Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture are providing flexibility to state and local partners to allow individuals to continue receiving benefits if hired as temporary census enumerators, and today, the Department of Health and Human Services is announcing that they will take similar action for their health programs. Finally, the President will direct federal agencies to encourage their grantees and contractors to partner with the Census Bureau to increase awareness about Census 2000. The Census Bureau has already built unprecedented outreach partnerships with business, community groups, schools, and state, local and tribal governments.

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