THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Monday, February 14, 2000
WORKING TO ENSURE EVERY AMERICAN IS COUNTED
"This is a profoundly important issue; if we want to make good decisions about where we're going, we first have to know exactly who we are."
President Bill Clinton
Monday, February 14, 2000
Today, at the White House, President Clinton took actions to encourage all Americans to participate in Census 2000, including launching a "Census in Schools" program; emphasizing that census information is strictly confidential; and directing federal agencies to step up their activities in support of the Census. The Census Bureau is undertaking a massive mobilization involving hundreds of thousands of local census takers and volunteers, partnerships with businesses, community groups, schools, and governments, and radio, TV and billboard advertisements to urge all Americans to be counted.
Highlighting the "Census in Schools" Challenge. In the 1990 Census, an estimated 8.4 million people were not counted - nearly half of them children. For that reason, the Census Bureau has developed a Census in Schools program to help raise awareness and increase participation in Census 2000. Through this initiative, the Census Bureau has sent over one million program kits to teachers across the country at all levels, including adult ESL and literacy classes. The kits provide teachers with lesson plans and other materials to encourage students and their families to participate in the Census, and to reassure them that census data is confidential. Teachers are encouraged to use these materials during "Teach Census Week," March 13-17. President Clinton announced that the White House web page will include a link the Census 2000 web page to allow teachers and others to access the Census in Schools program kit and other Census information.
Emphasizing that Census Data is Strictly Confidential. To encourage participation, President Clinton underscored 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 also highlighted a series of public service announcements on the confidentiality message which were produced in partnership with the National Baseball Players Association.
Marshalling Federal Agencies in Support of Census 2000. President Clinton directed federal agencies to embark on extraordinary efforts to support the Census, including the following:
- 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; and
- 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 the Department of Health and Human Services will encourage states to take similar action for their health programs.
The President also directed 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.
The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives