April 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 4

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Science Policy

The U.S. Census Releases Data from the 1940 Census

Science Policy

In August 1939, Congress authorized the director of the census to conduct a national census of housing “in each state, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Alaska, in the year 1940 in conjunction with, and at the same time, and as part of the population inquiry of the sixteenth decennial census.” The census was “to provide information concerning the number, characteristics (including utilities and equipment), and geographic distribution of dwelling structures and dwelling units in the United States.” Now, 72 years later, upon release of the 1940 Census forms by the National Archives, we look back and see just how much America changed. As of April 2, the National Archives and Records Administration made individual records from the 1940 Census available to the public for the first time (see www.census.gov/1940census/index.html). The Census website allows visitors to explore and discover how America has changed since the 1940s. The site uses compelling links, infographics, and photos to compare the 1940 Census with corresponding information about the 2010 Census. Questions new to the census in 1940 included residence five years earlier, income, highest level of school completed and new, detailed questions on unemployment history. Many of these questions were added to measure the effects of the Great Depression. Additionally, check out the Facts for Features to learn about some of the major innovations in development for the 2020 Census that will control costs and improve efficiency. The 1940 Census came at a momentous time in our Nation’s history as the country recovered from the Great Depression and was not long before the United States entry into World War II. It was also the first Census that looked deeper into the details of much of American life. Other news from the sentence includes a new research site launched on Census.gov. Visit the site to learn about innovations to measure and understand America through improved statistics, statistical products, and analysis. Also, a new blog—“Research Matters”—features the work of researchers from all areas of the Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/research.


ACE Launches Online Toolkit for Creating Veteran-friendly Services at Colleges and Universities

The American Council on Education (ACE) launched a “Toolkit for Veteran-Friendly Institutions,” an interactive online resource to help colleges and universities build effective programs for student veterans. The site, www.vetfriendlytoolkit.org, highlights a variety of best practices including veteran-specific orientation offerings, on-campus veterans service centers, prospective student outreach efforts, faculty training, and counseling and psychological services for student veterans. It also includes video clips, profiles of student veterans programs across the United States and a searchable database of tools and resources. Supported by The Kresge Foundation, the toolkit allows colleges and universities to create profiles that highlight services available on campus and to share information with peer institutions. The Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions is part of ACE’s Serving Those Who Serve: Higher Education and America’s Veterans, a broad-based initiative designed to promote access to and success in higher education for more than 2 million service members and their families who are eligible for expanded benefits under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.


Environmental Change, Migration, and Gender

Men and women experience migration differently. The pressures to migrate, destination choices, employment prospects, and implications for social relations back home all vary by gender. According to an article from the Population Reference Bureau sociologist Lori Hunter (University of Colorado-Boulder), when considering climate change’s potential impacts on human migration, gender is critically relevant. But most of the policy, public, and academic dialogue surrounding climate change and migration implications remains gender-neutral. Migration represents a common livelihood strategy for millions of rural households in less developed countries. In many regions, some members of a household move with the ambition of earning income elsewhere, often to send a portion of their earnings back home as remittances. Overlay climate change on these scenarios of gender-based migration and it’s easy to see how climate change portends important impacts on men and women’s lives—especially within the millions of rural households that depend on agriculture and local natural resources for subsistence and income. For the full article, see www.prb.org/Articles/2012/environment-gender.aspx.

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