Burson to help US Census test count of citizens abroad

WASHINGTON: The US Census Bureau will run a test next year to determine whether it can better count Americans living overseas. Last week, Burson-Marsteller won a $1.2 million contract to help with the task.

WASHINGTON: The US Census Bureau will run a test next year to determine whether it can better count Americans living overseas. Last week, Burson-Marsteller won a $1.2 million contract to help with the task.

US guidelines require that only federal employees and military personnel overseas be counted in the decennial census. But a number of states complained about the process after 2000, saying that many of their residents living abroad went uncounted, and therefore their services went underfunded.

In 2004, the Census Bureau will conduct tests in France, Kuwait, and Mexico to determine which methods, if any, would produce a more accurate count. Burson will be in charge of informing Americans living in those countries of the test and encouraging their participation, according to a Commerce Department spokeswoman.

The outreach is expected to be done largely though media and "partner organizations

that represent Americans overseas," according to a Census Bureau release.

Fleishman-Hillard was the only other agency identified as a finalist competing for the work.

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