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COMMERCE DEPARTMENT URGED TO ADOPT AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMPROVING MINORITY PARTICIPATION IN THE CENSUS

 COMMERCE DEPARTMENT URGED TO ADOPT AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS
 RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMPROVING MINORITY PARTICIPATION IN THE CENSUS
 NEW YORK, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Two key members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher endorsing an American Jewish Congress recommendation to improve the accuracy of the census in the year 2000.
 Relying on AJCongress testimony to the House Subcommittee on Census and Population, U.S. Reps. Thomas Sawyer, chairman, and Tom Ridge, ranking minority member, urged Mosbacher to adopt the organization's recommendation to establish a special committee that focuses on minority community organizations and how they can promote census participation.
 For several years, AJCongress has been involved in campaigns to improve the accuracy of the census. The results of that research as well as the need for greater involvement of minority community organizations in improving the census results were presented on Oct. 30, 1991, at a Subcommittee on Census and Population hearing on the role of minority community organizations in the census.
 During that hearing, Dr. Martin Hochbaum, director of the Commission on National Affairs of the AJCongress outlined the causes of low minority participation in the 1990 census: language problems, immigrants feeling threatened by government intervention in their lives and lack of familiarity with the census.
 Since a major part of the census undercount was among minority group members, and since minority community organizations are viewed as credible by their constituents, Hochbaum urged that the Commerce Department give this subject a higher priority by requiring the establishment of a department committee that would be charged exclusively with focusing on "minority community organizations, and census participation." Instead of subsuming this work under an existing government advisory committee, giving it greater focus would be far more likely to ensure success than the diffused efforts of the past.
 The letter by Sawyer and Ridge stated their support for the AJCongress recommendation for the "Establishment of an independent panel (that) would emphasize the importance of accuracy as a goal of the 2000 census." The congressmen pointed out that the proposed "panel's charge would be to advise the Census Bureau specifically about ways to reduce the undercount in minority communities," an undercount that traditional census methods have failed to reduce.
 In addition to testimony before the House body, AJCongress activities to encourage an accurate census include conducting surveys, participation in complete count committees, convening of forums and producing publications about the census.
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Andrea Binder of AJCongress, 212-360-1541/ CO: American Jewish Congress ST: New York IN: SU:


CK -- NY028 -- 8146 01/09/92 10:39 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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