Myers Appointed to Census Committee

Dowell Myers Tapped for Census Committee

By Anna Cearley

Dowell Myers

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger appointed Professor Dowell Myers of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development to be part of a newly created census panel that will oversee the upcoming federal census in California.

The California Complete Count Committee is being coordinated by the governor’s Office of Planning and Research with the aim of counting all Californians for the 2010 census. Getting a proper count is critical to ensuring that the state receives federal funding in proportion to its population needs.

Myers said that the committee’s emphasis includes mobilizing stakeholders to get the word out that people need to participate in the census. This is particularly critical as census budgets are expected to be lower for this census year.

“The idea is to spread the word of being counted in a way that creates a favorable groundswell of public opinion so that when people get the alert then they won’t treat it as junk mail.” Myers said. “The more people respond initially, the lower the cost will be of the overall census since the follow-up visits to those who don’t respond are really expensive.”

Myers said that in general the census gets better response rates than typical mail surveys, with rates upwards of 60 percent on the first pass.

Getting an accurate picture of the state’s population is particularly important to California since “the counts will increase the chance that California has its fair representation and proportion of money that’s distributed according to population size,” Myers said.

The committee, which was formally announced on June 12, is comprised of 53 elected officials and representatives of various organizations.

Photo by Philip Channing