Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thoughts On The Upcoming Census

So have you heard this recent rumor (information?) that the new Director of the Census Bureau would be "working closely" with the White House, instead of reporting directly up to the Secretary of Commerce? (I'm not sure what to call this information, since no official announcement has been made--yet I know that information from "unnamed sources" often heralds an official statement or at the very least is some kind of testing of the waters, politics being what it is.)

Next year is an official Census year, as you know. We'll all be required to tell the government just how many people live in our homes so that new numbers can be calculated for the House of Representatives.

If you're lucky enough to get a "long form," you'll be asked more questions. In 2000, the long form (click for pdf) included such questions as:

  • Name
  • DOB
  • How well does each person speak English?
  • Where did each person work last week (provide address)?
  • How much did each person make in 1999?
  • What is the value of your home?

Among other questions. Pretty much the same standard fare as the American Community Survey, really.

Hmph. I just noticed page 16 of the form includes this wording:

"Information about your children helps your community plan for child care, education, and recreation."

Thought that was my job. My right and obligation--not the obligation of others, my community.

I find that I have digressed.

I really don't expect there to be much difference in terms of the extra questions asked on the 2010 long form. No matter which version we receive, I will answer one question only.

But I just have to wonder if the government will crack down harder on people who refuse to complete the 2010 long form or future ACS questionnaires, if the Census Director is a directly reporting to POTUS.

As far as I know, nobody has been fined for refusal to complete the ACS. Which makes it easier to refuse to provide private information to the federal government. But with such a personnel change possibly in the works . . .

. . . oh, I have to wonder.


cathy said...

The longform was replaced by the ACS because of the outrage the longform created during the 2000 census. The director at the time felt that people would begin to boycott the the census. So for the 2010 April census mailing, only the short form will be used. The ACS will continue to be mailed out during the 2010 year so that some addresses will receive both.

Rational Jenn said...

Interesting. Thanks for clarifying that. I wondered why I couldn't find what I was looking for on the website! :o)

kawolfe said...

Hey Rational Jenn, I am on my 3 month refusal to the ACS and today I got a Fedex envelope addressed to Current Resident. I haven't opened it yet, any idea what is in there and should I burn it? This is no fun dealing with them. They are a harassing orginization that abuses their power.
If yo could email me what your personal experiences or any info on what options I could take, that would be helpful or it would just be helpful to connect to someone who went thru this crap. Thanks

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

We already got and sent in the census form. It was a bit monotenous, but not too painful.

jackdoitcrawford said...

A guy from the census bureau was at my front door asking questions that I don't understand about if there is some place in the house where another person or family could live. WTF? I told him I didn't understand the question. If I have to answer, it will be, "I don't know."

jackdoitcrawford said...

Oh, he had a GPS thingy that he said was being used to map the area. They will probably come in the early morning, like they did when they kidnapped Elian Gonzalez.