The US Constitution calls for a census to be done every 10 years.
Article 1, Section 2: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."(Some historical information is here on Wikipedia)
Counting citizens is a powerful political tool.
The Commerce Department has had the customary duty of counting heads in this country, but now "The Leader" is bringing that task close to the vest by moving it to the White House under the direction of his own Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, instead of his Commerce head appointee, Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire. It seems Gregg just couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete census. Imagine that. Ah, such is the result of bi-partisanship in the new age of "Change".
And so it seems politics will trump science in this next census.
John Fund Wrote an interesting piece: Why Obama Wants Control of the Census and here are some highlights:
Anything that threatens the integrity of the Census has profound implications. Not only is it the basis for congressional redistricting, it provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also uses the Census to prepare the economic data that so much of business relies upon. "If the original numbers aren't as hard as possible, the uses they're put to get fuzzier and fuzzier," says Bruce Chapman, who was director of the Census in the 1980s.
Mr. Chapman worries about a revival of the effort led by minority groups after the 2000 Census to adjust the totals for states and cities using statistical sampling and computer models. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Department of Commerce v. U.S. House that sampling could not be used to reapportion congressional seats. But it left open the possibility that sampling could be used to redraw political boundaries within the states.
Such a move would prove controversial. "Sampling potentially has the kind of margin of error an opinion poll has and the same subjectivity a voter-intent standard in a recount has," says Mr. Chapman.
Starting in 2000, the Census Bureau conducted three years of studies with the help of many outside statistical experts. According to then Census director Louis Kincannon, the Bureau concluded that "adjustment based on sampling didn't produce improved figures" and could damage Census credibility.
The reason? In theory, statisticians can identify general numbers of people missed in a head count. But it cannot then place those abstract "missing people" into specific neighborhoods, let alone blocks. And anyone could go door to door and find out such people don't exist. There can be other anomalies. "The adjusted numbers told us the head count had overcounted the number of Indians on reservations," Mr. Kincannon told me. "That made no sense."
The problem of counting minorities and the homeless has long been known. Census Bureau statisticians believe that a vigorous hard count, supplemented by adding in the names of actual people missed by head counters but still found in public records, is likely to lead to a far more defensible count than sampling-based adjustment.
The larger debate prompted seven former Census directors -- serving every president from Nixon to George W. Bush -- to sign a letter last year supporting a bill to turn the Census Bureau into an independent agency after the 2010 Census. "It is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau," it read.
"The real issue is who directs the Census, the pros or the pols," says Mr. Chapman. "You would think an administration that's thumping its chest about respecting science would show a little respect for scientists in the statistical field." He worries that a Census director reporting to a hyperpartisan such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel increases the chances of a presidential order that would override the consensus of statisticians.
The Obama administration is downplaying how closely the White House will oversee the Census Bureau. But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insists there is "historical precedent" for the Census director to be "working closely with the White House."
So, Rahm will get to fudge the numbers as he sees fit.
Maybe count some illegals as citizens...
Inflate some Democrat numbers...
The possibilities are endless.
I guess that is more of "the Change" we were supposed to see when "The Leader" was elected.
I can hardly wait to see the gerrymandering that will happen as a result of this "headcount".
Accuracy be damned.