cations about sampling these different kinds of areas in being able to meet the needs for ACS data? Salvo agreed, recalling that he listened to Andrew Conrad’s presentation about economic development uses in Iowa (see Section 6–A)—and its recitation about how few cities and counties in Iowa have populations over 20,000—with jaw agape; “we have neighborhoods in New York with 30,000 people, 40,000 people.” So he conceded being a bit embarrassed to make things sound like an argument for an increased sample in a borough like Queens—but “the law is the law, and Section 203 implementation requires detail,” and that is going to push the limits of the ACS sample even in the densest of areas. He agreed that more effective ways to sample in rural areas need to be considered—indeed, he said it would be a real death knell for the ACS if the sample in New York City were increased at the expense of rural areas, because the ACS would lose value as purely “an urban area/New York City thing.” Lowenthal said that she wanted to raise and put on the table an idea that Ken Hodges (Nielsen) has raised in the past—instead of trying to increase the ACS sample “in fits and starts,” try to find a way to convince Congress to link the sample size to some automatic measure (like the estimated number of housing units in the nation). She said that such incremental, automatic changes to sample size might be more palatable than getting approval for larger chunks of sample.
Struck by Lowenthal’s description of “the most ridiculed question” on the ACS, Stephen Tordella (Decision Demographics, Inc.) said that he had to wonder if putting legislators on the spot might be an effective argument—countering ridicule of the disability question by asking, in reply, “Are you ridiculing the disabled?” Beveridge answered that his own reaction to Lowenthal’s discussion of the disability question was that it would be a good idea to get disability advocates involved and engaged in discussions of the ACS. Likewise, with some other questions, he wondered whether it would be a good idea to get civil rights advocates more engaged in ACS-specific efforts. Lowenthal agreed with Beveridge, adding that the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is currently one of the most active organizations in support of the ACS and the census; she said that getting disability advocates more involved could bolster the rationale for the question, and is certainly consistent with resolving the disconnects she described in her opening remarks.