US to head-count expats in France

30th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 January 2004, PARIS - American expats living in France are to be head-counted this year in an experiment by the US Census Bureau to see if all citizens who live abroad can be included in the next national tally in 2010.

30 January 2004

PARIS - American expats living in France are to be head-counted this year in an experiment by the US Census Bureau to see if all citizens who live abroad can be included in the next national tally in 2010.

From February, forms will be available in US embassies, consulates and other locations frequented by US nationals. The census will ask for details such as name, age, sex, race, US address and passport number and relationship to others in the household.

The data can also be submitted through a website (www.census.gov/overseas04).

The count, which is voluntary, also involves US expats in Kuwait and Mexico.  The three countries were chosen because of their differing logistical challenges, according to the Bureau.

The US census is held every ten years - the previous survey was in 2000. It currently includes all residents of the United States, as well as federal employees and military personnel living abroad.

There are no accurate figures for the number of private US expats. Estimates of their numbers vary widely between three and 10 million, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The census experiment will be promoted through partner organisations and English-language media in the three countries.

Expats with dual citizenship should also fill in the census forms, officials said. Americans on vacation or on short business trips should not.

The Census Bureau said that it expects to gather information about the level of participation of Americans overseas, the quality of the data collected, the effectiveness of its overseas outreach and marketing campaigns, and whether there are any barriers to integrating an overseas count with the domestic US tally.

Officials say that counting US expats is difficult because the Census Bureau does not know where many of them live - it must rely on American citizens learning about the count and getting the forms themselves.

"We are not at all convinced that we can do a credible job," Preston Jay Waite, the bureau's associate director for decennial programmes admitted. "On the other hand, we work for Congress. If they say "do it", we'll try to do it."

An evaluation of the experiment will be released next year, and another overseas count may be repeated in 2006.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]


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