BM Advises Census Bureau on Count of Citizens Overseas
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BM Advises Census Bureau on Count of Citizens Overseas

The U.S. Census Bureau has retained Burson-Marsteller to assist with plans to count U.S. citizens living abroad.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK—The U.S. Census Bureau has retained Burson-Marsteller to assist with plans to count U.S. citizens living abroad. Americans living abroad may be included in the 2010 Census, but first the Bureau says it needs to determine the best way to count them, and that’s where Burson-Marsteller comes in: the firm will determine how best to take a census of American citizens living overseas, as well as weigh in on the feasibility of such a project.

The contract is worth $1.2 million over 18 months. Initially, BM will test the effectiveness of various methods of census taking in three markets: Mexico, France and Kuwait. The firm will also raise public awareness of a possible official U.S. Census in those three markets.

Current guidelines require a once-a-decade count of federal employees and military personnel living overseas, which can be accomplished by reviewing government administrative records. Other Americans living abroad include professionals, interns, students, retirees, seasonal residents and others.

Several organizations have actively lobbied to have their membership counted in the official U.S. Census. Among them are the Association of Americans Resident Overseas, the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, and the American Business Council of the Gulf Countries. “The estimates we’re seeing are somewhere around four million,” said Ken Meyer, a Census Bureau spokesman.

The Census Bureau has worked with several Young & Rubicam (now WPP) agencies, including Cohn & Wolfe, which handled the last census in the U.S.

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