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U.S. Census Begins Nationwide Implementation of the American Community Survey

Five years after the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun nationwide implementation of the American Community Survey to collect and produce important demographic, social, economic and housing statistical information on an annual basis leading up to the next census in 2010.

Washington, DC - Five years after the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun nationwide implementation of the American Community Survey to collect and produce important demographic, social, economic and housing statistical information on an annual basis leading up to the next census in 2010. The Survey will replace the Long Form of the decennial census and instead, will report statistical information about the population throughout the decade. The Survey will ensable the Census Bureau to provide data about the rapidly changing face of the country more often than every ten years.

NIAC urges all Iranian Americans who receive the American Community Survey to report both their race and ancestry as “Iranian” in responding to two questions within the survey. The survey is designed for up to five persons in a household to report their race and ancestry. See a sample survey.


The 2000 Census form, as well as the current American Survey Form, does not provide a section for “Iranian” either under race or ethnicity. Under race, more than a dozen choices (including “white”) are offered with the last one providing space to write after “Some other race – print race”. The confusion between race and ethnicity in this question made it unclear for Iranians whether to write in “Iranian” under the last race category or to choose “white” instead. As such, Iranian Americans were vastly underreported in the 2000 Census.

The American Community Survey is not sent to every household. An address has about 1 chance in 480 of being selected in any month. No address will be selected more often than once every five years. 250,000 households will receive the survey every month, with the Census Bureau releasing statistical information from the survey every year until 2010. According to the Census Bureau, residents that receive the survey are part of a randomly selected sample of residential addresses and are required by federal law to respond to the survey promptly. Federal law also guarantees confidentiality of the respondent’s survey responses, and imposes severe penalties for a Census Bureau employee who reveals individual data.

Responding to the Survey is not only required by law, but it is critical for the Iranian- American community, especially in Congressional districts with significant Iranian-American populations, as identified in NIAC’s Iran Census Report published in September 2003. The Report addresses the gross underestimation of the Iranian-American community in the 2000 Census and attributes it to the flawed 2000 Census form as well as to attitudes within the community.

In the absence of “Iranian” as a choice for ethnicity and race, it is incumbent upon Iranian Americans to accurately report their heritage in order to produce a more accurate count of the Iranian-American population. This is important in gauging the relative strength of the community in each Congressional district. For more information about the American Community Survey, please visit the survey’s Website, www.census.gov/acs/www, or call 1-800-354-7271.

 

 

 

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