Census bill to include U.S. citizens living abroad

State Department says about 3 million Americans overseas are not counted


WASHINGTON -- They pay taxes, vote and buy U.S. exports, yet the 3 million U.S. citizens the State Department estimates live abroad are not counted in the country's census.

Now members of Congress have introduced legislation that would require a special census of overseas Americans in 2003.

The 2000 census will count only U.S. citizens living abroad who work for the federal government, like diplomats or members of the military.

Those who work for U.S. companies or teach or study outside the United States are not counted.

The legislation calls for a trial run at counting U.S. citizens overseas as a blueprint for including them in the 2010 census.

It was introduced in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who is the ranking member on the subcommittee on the census.

The bill is co-sponsored by 16 members.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. John D. Rockefeller III of West Virginia.

The census has been intensely debated as members of Congress battle over the use of statistical sampling to augment population counts that will be used to redraw boundaries for congressional districts.

Americans residing overseas vote in the districts of their legal residence, and counting them could make a slight difference in allocations based on the census.

The Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas, in Washington last week, pressed the case for counting U.S. citizens living abroad in a meeting with Kenneth W. Prewitt, the Census Bureau director.

The group represents 16,000 women in 35 countries.

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