« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
personal canvass of the manufacturing establishments of this country. That canvass was made by the permanent employees of our office, with occasional additional employees from the outside where there was too much work for the permanent office force. During recent years we have had to change our method. The manufacturer and the business man have been educated to the point where they have confidence in the Bureau of the Census, and they are willing to send their reports to us. Some of the figures are necessary in the conduct of their business. Now, the law was strengthened years ago so that these reports are not open to any other service of the Federal Government, or to any individual or organization on the outside. No one except sworn employees of the Census Bureau have access to them. A few years ago we began to improve our methods. We went to work to get the support and assistance of chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and trade organizations throughout the United States, and the work has gotten to the point where they give us that assistance just as far as they possibly can. By doing that we are able to secure reports from the manufacturing establishments of this country, or practically all of them, by mail. At the end of a canvass, there are always a few delinquents scattered around throughout the United States, and that information we have to pick up by personal visits. The present census of manufactures will cost us about $100,000 less than the one we took 2 years ago. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. How much did it cost? Mr. AUSTIN. The present census of manufactures? Mr. ELLENBogEN. Yes. Mr. AUSTIN. It is estimated that the field work has cost us less than $125,000, because of the fact that we are operating on the basis of 75 or 80 percent of those reports coming in by mail. Mr. ELLENBogEN. For one, I am very anxious that the data collected in this census should be made available, or that the preliminary figure should be made available, as soon as possible, because if they are not, we might as well not take this census. Mr. AUSTIN. There will be some preliminary figures available in December. The CHAIRMAN. The enumeration work or the field work will consume about what length of time? Mr. AUSTIN. This bill provides the date of November 12. That means that throughout the United States all of the supervisors and their office force, and all of the enumerators will be organized and ready to start on the morning of the 12th of November. This canvass will begin in all sections of the United States as the same time, and it will run along for 3 weeks, and in some sections, perhaps, for 6 weeks. There will be a spot here and there that will run for 2 months, perhaps, but we hope to complete it in every minor civil division certainly by the end of 6 weeks. The CHAIRMAN. How soon after the enumeration is completed, will the statistics be available for the emergency agencies? Mr. AUSTIN. We would have to wait until the canvass was finished, but we propose to have that finished very promptly. For a State like Delaware, for instance, or a city like Wilmington, we would get the figures out immediately. Mr. ELLENBogEN. If you have it 90 percent completed, that would give you an idea of the situation within 2 or 3 weeks, probably. Mr. AUSTIN. We never make estimates in the Census Bureau. As soon as we get complete returns from any area, we tabulate them and issue a preliminary report. Mr. ELLENBogEN. Do you not propose to issue any of them before they are complete? There may be some minor divisions that will hold it up, but any change on account of that division would not change the whole picture very much. For instance, in the case of the cities, I suppose you could finish the canvass within, say, 2 weeks. Would you hold that up because of delay in some small division? Mr. AUSTIN. There may be a small district here or there, in the o sections, where the canvass might not be completed within 30 ays. - Mr. ELLENBogEN. You would expect to release those figures before you have returns from all of the divisions, would you not? Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, sir. Mr. ELLENBogEN. What do you think about this situation, and we will take Pittsburgh as an illustration: When the census relating to population and unemployment in Pittsburgh is completed, why could not those preliminary figures be issued by the supervisor who was in charge of the work for the benefit of the agencies here in Washington? Mr. AUSTIN. I think that is a good idea. Mr. FLETCHER. You say it will take 2 years to complete the tabulation of the figures and findings of this census: Is it not true that you have excellent facilities for utilizing the law of averages, or facilities by which you can take a few returns and make a fair estimate or prediction? Mr. AUSTIN. The Census Bureau does not make estimates and predictions. That is not within our province. That is within the province of some other governmental agencies, but the Census Bureau does not do that. Mr. FLETCHER. Would there not be sufficient data to be of some service to those organizations in distributing money for relief? Mr. AUSTIN. We will furnish the emergency organizations here in Washington with preliminary figures in the way of totals, and we will furnish them just as quickly as the counts can be made. Mr. ELLENBogEN. You think that you will have preliminary tables covering population and unemployment available in December? Mr. AUSTIN. By the end of December we should have that for the entire country. We should have the figures available, and should be ready to issue the preliminary reports. We will not wait until all the sections of the country are finished before we start our tabulations, but will begin the tabulations just as soon as we get the complete data for any county, city, or State. Mr. ELLENBogEN. Then, as I understand it, so far as the emergency organizations are concerned, they will have tabulations that will be fairly usable by the end of December. Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, sir. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. On the question of this unemployment census, I gather that it will be a very difficult one. An unemployment census might be utterly worthless. That would depend upon the type of questions asked in the inquiry. There have been some unemployment statistics collected by the Department of Labor for different C.W.A. agencies throughout the country, and I assume that your Bureau will take advantage of the experience gained in taking those similar censuses by the Department of Labor. Mr. AUSTIN. Department of Labor. Mr. ELLENBogEN. In that connection, I think we should have the questions you propose to ask, because upon the type of your questions . depend whether your unemployment census will amount to anything. Mr. AUSTIN. Do you mean that we should submit now the form of the inquiries we expect to use? Mr. ELLENBogEN. Yes; I think we should have that. I would not say that you should make it so absolutely definite that you would not be permitted to make any changes in it, but we should have some of the questions. They should be prepared in such a form as to make it sure that the unemployment census will amount to something, because when you go back to the census that was taken in 1930, you will find that is utterly worthless. You might as well not have taken it. Mr. AUSTIN. Of course, I have not prepared the form of the inquiry. Dr. Truesdell, who had charge of the last census of unemployment, is present. Doctor, do you have a tentative list of the inquiries that would be used? Dr. TRUESDELL. We have not adopted a list. The Labor Department has been collecting these statistics, and we will get the results of the questions that they have tried out. The CHAIRMAN. I believe it would be better to wait until Dr. Truesdell makes his statement before going further into that. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. You agree that the value of the unemployment census will depend upon the type of questions propounded. Mr. AUSTIN. Certainly. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. For that reason I would like to know what type of inquiry you propose to make. I would like to know, the exact status of the unemployment situation. Suppose a man is working only 2 days in a week: Would you classify him as employed or unemployed? Mr. AUSTIN. When you come to discuss that phase of it, I will ask Dr. Truesdell to answer your inquiries. Mr. ELLENBogEN. I want to ask another question: When was the unemployment census that was taken in 1930 completed? Mr. AUSTIN. What do you mean by “completed”? Do you mean when the figures were tabulated? Preliminary reports were sent out in the form of bulletins, or do you mean when the final volumes were printed, paid for and ready for distribution? Mr. ELLENBogEN. When are the final volumes issued? Mr. AUSTIN. There are two kinds of reports. The moment we have the information available, it is issued in the form of press releases and bulletins. Of course, we have no control over the Government Printing Office. At the end of last June, a year ago now, we were promised that the fifteenth decennial census volumes would be completed by the Government Printing Office. We had the money to pay for them, and we were promised that we would have them last June. All of them have not yet been published. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. I understand that the report on unemployment was made in 1932.
Mr. AUSTIN. I think that is correct. Dr. Truesdell can tell you when it was issued. Mr. ELLENBogEN. I am very much interested in that. I am interested to know why the original plates of the statistics on unemployment were destroyed practically immediately after the printed material was gotten out. Mr. AUSTIN. I do not know whether I can tell you that, or not. Dr. Truesdell may be able to tell you that. What do you mean by “plates”? Do you mean the “plates” of the original reports which came from my office? Mr. ELLENBogEN. Let me ask you when this unemployment census was taken. The CHAIRMAN. Let us not cover so much territory. Do you want to ask him about the plates? If so, just ask him the question. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. Were original records of the Bureau destroyed? If so, when were they destroyed? Mr. AUSTIN. I know that original records have not been destroyed. Do you mean whether punched cards are destroyed? Mr. ELLENBogEN. Were the punched cards destroyed? Mr. AUSTIN. If they were, that was a question of making space. I think Mr. Truesdell can tell you about that. I know that the former Director of the Census would not have destroyed anything that was of value to the Bureau. However, when you get schedules by the carload, and when we have punched cards by the millions, you can see the amount of space required to take care of them. The space must be properly lighted and heated, otherwise they deteriorate. As a matter of fact, the only records we are required to keep are the population schedules, and we have those original records from 1790 down to and including 1930. All other census schedules are destroyed because of lack of value and the lack of space. The Congress gives the Bureau permission to destroy them when they have served their usefulness. Mr. ELLENBogEN. You say that the Bureau asked permission and received permission to destroy those punched cards. The information given me was to the effect that the general custom of the Bureau was not to destroy them, and there seemed to be some purpose in destroying those particular records. Mr. AUSTIN. We never preserve them after their usefullness has been served, because we would need a building like this in which to keep the cards for one census. They run into the millions. The Bureau of the Census from 1920 to 1930, inclusive, was located down here in a temporary war building at the foot of the hill, and we could not move out of it until the present Commerce Building was completed. Then, the authorities tore down that old war building located down on the Mall. We do not have the space in which to take care of all this material. As I have said, it would take a building like this to hold it, and then it would have to be emptied every 5 years. It would cost a great deal of money to get outside storage space for all that material. Mr. ELLENBoGEN. Can you give the date when it was destroyed? Mr. AUSTIN. I cannot tell you. I might go back in the records and get that information, but I do not see any reason why that material should be preserved. I do not think it is valuable enough to keep.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it not a fact that the information contained on these cards is preserved in publications issued by the Bureau? Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, sir; every bit of it. The CHAIRMAN. It is contained in the statistical publications? Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, sir. Mr. KINZER. Mr. Director, would it be possible for you to supplement your testimony with a statement as to what this proposed census, as you understand it, will accomplish, or what it will result in? I would like to have such a statement in order that the record may show the proposed set-up of information, and what results will follow from it. Mr. AUSTIN. I am willing to submit a statement, but there are representatives here now from the different services that are interested in this matter, and they can tell you exactly what they want included In the inquiry. If you want an additional statement following their statements, I shall be glad to have it prepared. Dr. Rice, the Assistant Director, can probably give you more detailed information on that than I can. Mr. DUNN. First, I want to substantiate what Mr. Rankin has said, and that is, until we get the farmer out of the rut, we will not have any prosperity. I say that, and I am from the city of Pittsburgh. I understood you to say that there were certain records that you kept confidential, and that are not available to any person other than those connected with the Bureau. In other words, can a Congressman see them? Mr. AUSTIN. No, sir; they cannot, and no Federal service can, because the law provides that those records collected by the census office are for statistical purposes only and are absolutely confidential. They cannot be used against the individual or the establishment reporting to us. The very minute you destroy the confidential feature of the census you destroy the method of securing complete and accurate reports. Mr. DUNN. In other words, they are personal matters. Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, sir; they are. Mr. DUNN. When you made that statement about the confidential reports, I did not know what you meant, I thought it might be time to change that law and make it so we could secure that information. Mr. AUSTIN. There is no politics in the census. I have been in the Bureau for 30 years, and during all that time we have been trying to strengthen the law. Business men have asked for that, and if they do not have that protection, we lose this method of securing accurate information. Mr. DUNN. I thought that Congressmen were great men, and could get anything in the way of information that they desired. Now, after you take this census, suppose you find, for instance, that there are at least 14,000,000 people out of work in the United States, including farmers, coal miners, and so forth: After you find that out, what good will this census information do us? What effect will it have on the unemployment situation? Mr. AUSTIN. It will give complete and accurate figures, showing unemployment and its geographical distribution. It will furnish information as a basis from which you can legislate intelligently to take care of unemployment.