US Census Counts on Ad Campaign

us-censusbureau-bwsealThe US Census announced this week that it is launching a $250 Million ad campaign aimed at reaching low-income, urban minorities, urging them to fill out 2010 US Census forms. More than half of the dollars will be spent on traditional and social media, and a quarter of the dollars will be devoted to Asian, black, and Hispanic media outlets.

Minorities have been hard to reach, according to, due to “distrust or suspicion of government, leading to a fear that census responses may be used by immigration or law enforcement officials to deport or incarcerate or may disqualify (them) from social welfare programs.”

Well, that kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re breaking the law, you probably wouldn’t want too much attention drawn to your activities.

It’s estimated that the 2000 Census missed counting 3 million people, so basically we’re spending $83 bucks a missed head to improve accuracy (based on the 2000 estimate).

In a brilliant statement defining what the US Census is all about, Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the bureau stated; “The primary goal of the census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.” (

But that doesn’t address how the campaign will reach poorly educated, low-income, and disenfranchised people via Social and Traditional media channels. I guess we’d have to start by determining cable and Internet penetration…