Box 22, Folder 18, Document 3

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Box 22, Folder 18, Document 3

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Subcommittee on Exe cutive Reorganization of the
Senate Committee on Government Operations
Afternoon session - November 29, 1966 .
Witness~
Richard M. Scammon , Vice - President, Governmental Affairs
Institute , Washi ngton .
1
th' . Scarnmon testified on the need for a mid- decade Census, or an inter -
censal urban Census. He said that although the 1960 Census is out - of- date,
obviously the 197q census count won 1 t be ·available for five years.
A big factor in the obsole scence of data is the increased mobility of the
population . According to . Ya- . Scammon, there is a great need for area data
rather than figures from a city as a whole . I n the questi oning by
Senator Ribicoff this point was elabo:::-ated upon and it was stated that if
information had been available concerning the situation in the Watts
area of Los Angel es , the riots could have been avoided . Senator Ribi coff
said t hat when a census was taken of Los Angeles the bad figures from such
areas as Watts were offset by the figures f:::-om more affluent areas .
Senator Ribicoff pointed out that Yir . Cohen from the Department of ~:EW had
used figures which dated back to 1961 when he testified before the com.~~ t te e
and that government agencies cannot cure social ills without up- to - date
statistics which point definitively to the location of those 'ills .
Senator Rib i coff and lfir . Scammon both agreed that a mid- decade census is
ne cess ary . Senator Ribicoff mentioned that the Office of Eco nomic Opport u.,."li ty
is planning to take a special census in 1968 in st andard metropolitan ar ea s
to complile pertinent data on such statistics as the median family income .
- Vir . Sca.m.~on laid the blame for the fact that a census is taken only every
ten years on the Budget Bureau . He said that the costs involved are so
tremendous that the Budget Bureau would not agree to a more frequent census.
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Method of t aking the ce nsus
Senator Ribicoff asked whether or not the method of ta..~ing the census is
important. He pointed out that a census was conducted in Watt s where
questionnaires were mailed to the 1·esidents. He questioned whether or
not people at these levels would be interested enough to return the complete d
forms.
Lack of data on adult male Negroes
Senator Rib ico ff also pointed out that i n the last censu s betwe en 15% and
~.r. Sc a~.mon rep lied t hat
there was a slippage in less afflue nt areas of cities, but he did not know
whether Senator Ribicoff's percentages were entirely correct.
2Cf/o of adult male Negroes were mi ssed entirely.
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Advantages of a five-year census .
Senator Ribicoff said that abnost all grant programs are based on the
number of people and their needs . He claimed that we must wei gh t he
advantage s of a five -year survey in relation to these programs . He said
that a · f i ye-year census would be better for decision ma.~ing by such
administrat ors as the Secretary of h'UD .
Central location for statist ics.
Senator Ribicoff also asked whether there should be a central place for
t he gathering and keeping of statistics, rathe1· than allowing each Department to have operations of its own . ifi r . Scammon sai d that a task forc e
heaaed by Congr essman Gallagher r ecommended s et t ing up a cent r al ban.~ for
statistics, but that a big concern of the Task Force was the right of privacy
of individuals in responding to questionnaires. Senator Ribicoff contended
that where the information was merged, th~ pr.oblem of confidentiality was
lost.
Problems
Senator Ribicoff
to get people to
forei gn areas of
in orde~ to gain
said that the problem of taking an urban census has been
do the work . It was also poi nted out that in problem or
a city, t he census takers must be famili ar with the area .
the confidence of the people who are interviewed.
Spending in.cities
Senator Kennedy asked through the _Chainnan whether it is possible to
determine .how much the government is spending i n ea ch city to rebuild .
He wants to know how we can get better figures . Mr . Scam..'llon said that
this information should be available from the Census Bureau or through
the Subcommittee.
Senators P_!esent:
Ribicoff
Javits

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  1. http://allenarchive.iac.gatech.edu/originals/ahc_CAR_015_022_018_003.pdf

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