About the Census Project

The Census Project is a collaboration of state and local governments, civil rights and labor groups, housing and child advocates, businesses, professional societies, and research organizations interested in a fair and accurate census.

For more information, visit our main website at TheCensusProject.org.

The Census Project is coordinated by the Communications Consortium Media Center.


This blog was active from September 2009 to September 2010 to chronicle the 2010 decennial census. It restarted in September 2011 to discuss several ongoing census issues.

About the Authors

Phil Sparks, communications consultant and co-director of The Census Project

Phil is a communications consultant who previously spent decades with the nonprofit Communications Consortium Media Center. He co-founded CCMC in 1988 and rejoined the organization in March 1998 after a three-year hiatus serving as associate director for communications of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Phil is currently co-director of the Census Project, which works to ensure a fair and accurate Census 2020 and American Community Survey. During his hiatus from CCMC, Phil coordinated a $100 million paid advertising campaign and a separate $100 million community outreach program to encourage public participation in Census 2000.

Phil specialized in family projects during his time at CCMC, including the Family and Medical Leave Coalition, the Act for Better Child Care Coalition, Census 2000, the Fairness Initiative on Low-Wage Work, the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities and the Early Care and Education Collaborative, among others.

In his 30-year career in public interest communications, Phil was previously director of public affairs for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); associate director of the President’s Commission on Pension Policy; and chief of staff to former U.S. Representative Thomas J. Downey.

Terri Ann Lowenthal, consultant

Terri Ann Lowenthal is a nationally recognized expert on the census and a consultant specializing in the census, the federal statistical system and the use of data for policy purposes. She has been a frequent media resource, speaker at conferences and forums, and author of articles and reports, helping a broad audience understand the importance of an accurate, comprehensive census and how the data are relevant to virtually every social and economic sector and every community.

Ms. Lowenthal served on the 2008 Obama Presidential Transition Team with responsibility for the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), U.S. Census Bureau, and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). She was one of the longest serving staff directors of the census oversight subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1987-94).

Ms. Lowenthal has advised nonprofits and foundations, corporations and business associations, federal agencies, and scientific associations that produce and use federal statistics. Current consulting projects include The Census Project, a nonpartisan collaborative of census stakeholders supporting the census and other vital Census Bureau programs, through education and communication with policymakers, the media, and the public; and the Funders Census Initiative, a national collaborative of philanthropic organizations promoting a fair and accurate census. She posts her thoughts on census policy and operational issues on The Census Project Blog. Other recent projects include the Leadership Conference Education Fund 2010 Census Public Education Campaign; Ms. Lowenthal counseled the campaign on all matters related to conduct of the census and authored two reports on census challenges along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She has also advised the business community, including Target Corporation and the International Council of Shopping Centers, on policy issues related to Census Bureau programs.

Prior to establishing a consulting practice, Ms. Lowenthal was a congressional staff aide in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate from 1981-1995. She served for eight years as staff director of the House Subcommittee on Census and Population (later renamed the Subcommittee on Census, Statistics, and Postal Personnel), where she guided the panel’s oversight of the 1990 census and the 2000 census planning process. She also was chief of staff to Representative Tom Sawyer (D-OH), an aide to Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-CT), and held staff positions on several House Post Office and Civil Service subcommittees and the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Ms. Lowenthal earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Her professional and volunteer leadership affiliations have included the American Statistical Association, Association of Public Data Users, President’s Council of Cornell Women, Cornell University Council, and Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County. Ms. Lowenthal served as a Commissioner on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission and was a John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Congressional Staff Fellow in the 103rd Congress (Inaugural Class), later helping to establish the Center’s Emerging Congressional Staff Leadership Program. She also has enjoyed her 40-year career as a figure skating coach. A native of Stamford, CT, Ms. Lowenthal currently lives and works in Ithaca, NY.