April 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 4

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Science Policy

Look up your community’s 2010 U.S. Census mail participation rate


If all households across the nation mailed back their forms, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census by about $1.5 billion. On the Census Bureau’s Take 10 Challenge Map (2010.census.gov/2010census/
), visitors can track their community’s participation rate in the census by seeing what percentage of households have mailed back their census forms. Already, more than half of all households have returned their forms. Following National Census Day on April 1, the Census Bureau is challenging all communities to achieve a higher rate in 2010 than they did in 2000. Nationally, the goal is to "beat" the 2000 census rate of 72 percent. Each community’s 2000 rate is also on the Take 10 Map. Census data help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to state, local, and tribal areas each year.

Follow the money that follows the census numbers

In February, the Brookings Institution released a research brief, Counting for Dollars: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Distribution of Federal Funds, an analysis of federal domestic assistance program expenditures distributed on the basis of census-related data. This report makes clear the role the census plays in the federal government’s annual dispensing of hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals. This process is highly visible and political, with substantial economic impact in every corner of the nation. The findings in this report have several implications for local efforts to promote greater 2010 census participation. The report is available at www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0309_census_dollars.aspx. The website provides links to more than 350 tables listing census-guided funding by program for the nation, each of the 50 states and DC, the 100 largest metro areas, and the 200 largest counties.

AAUP reports a 1.2 percent increase in pay for full-time faculty members

Despite a 2.7 percent rate of inflation, data from this year’s national survey of faculty compensation indicate that the overall average salary for a full-time faculty member increased only 1.2 percent over last year, the lowest year-to-year change recorded in the 50-year history of this survey. Therefore, when adjusted for inflation, salaries for continuing faculty members showed the first actual decrease since the hyperinflation years of the late 1970s. These are the central findings of No Refuge: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2009–10, which the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released in April. This year’s report discusses faculty salaries in the context of turbulent financial times and suggests that the salaries are concrete indicators of institutional priorities. The report is available at www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/Z/ecstatreport09-10/.

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