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CLASS OF ’77

Countdown to Census 2000

The 1990 U.S. Census missed 8.4 million residents and counted more than four million people twice–a discrepancy that affected most heavily the urban and rural poor, minority communities and children. Penn trustee Gilbert Casellas L’77 is among those monitoring preparations to ensure a more accurate population count before the next decennial census, which will be carried out in April.
Illustration by Rich Lillash   
Casellas, an investment banker and attorney, was appointed co-chair of the presidential side of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board back in May. He’s been on the bipartisan board since 1998, reporting periodically to Congress on the progress of the Census Bureau.
   
Several factors could have contributed to the undercount in 1990, Casellas says. Some include a distrust of government, an increase in non-traditional living arrangements and limited access to high-rise apartments in urban centers. An accurate census is important, he explains, because the numbers are used to draw political districts, apportion congressional seats among the states and distribute billions of dollars for federal programs ranging from health and education to road-building.
   
This time, the Census Bureau has shortened and simplified forms so they’ll be easier to fill out. It is working directly with state, local and tribal governments to compile the most up-to-date address lists. The bureau also plans to follow up with a comprehensive survey to determine how thorough a job it does on the 2000 census.
   
Casellas, whose paid post is president and chief operating officer of The Swarthmore Group in West Chester, Pa., previously served in the Clinton administration as general counsel to the U.S. Air Force and as chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He is also a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association.


   
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Copyright 1999 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 10/28/99