Census officials explain count

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- U.S. Census officials were in town Wednesday in an attempt to remove some of the mystery behind the recent 2010 count and explain just exactly what the bureau is doing to collect data throughout the nation.

Gloria Strode and John Flack gave a presentation at the Albany Municipal Auditorium Wednesday explaining various facets of the count and the data collection process.

"It's important that we work with local officials and communities to explain how to access the information and how to find what they're looking for," Strode said. "Because there is a lot of information out there and that's what we're doing tonight."

Strode hailed the work of Albany and Dougherty County's Complete Count Committee as one of the best in the census bureau's Atlanta-area region.

In speaking to the handful of government officials and residents that attended the meeting Wednesday, Strode said that there remain several obstacles to obtaining an accurate count, namely misinformation.

"That's something we fought the most, when our teams were going door-to-door," Strode said. "There were some people who didn't believe us, others thought we were going to violate their rights... so it's hard to get accurate counts when people don't want to be part of the process."

Flack spoke to the more technical side, explaining the various strata of census data from blocks to census tracts and regions.

During the presentation, Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines asked Strode if the Census made any efforts to validate the data it obtains through other means to ensure an accurate count.

"There are attempts to work with local government and private citizens," Strode said. "They go to your city GIS service and that person has to make sure things are accurate to the best that they know."

Strode also talked about the differences between the American Community Survey which is sent to 250,000 American households monthly, and the decennial census which is done every 10 years.

"Many people get confused about the two," Strode said. "The biggest difference is that the data collected from the survey is used to create trends that are estimates, the census itself are the real numbers," Strode said. "That's why sometimes you'll see a different number when you compare the two."

For more information on the census, go to census.gov