June 20, 2010

"So far, the Census Bureau has tallied 379 incidents involving assaults or threats on the nation's 635,000 census workers..."

"... more than double the 181 recorded during the 2000 census. Weapons were used or threatened in a third of the cases."

What's going on?!
While most homeowners have received census takers graciously, some say they have been surprised at the degree of anger exhibited by Americans who consider them the embodiment of intrusive government.

"I came across loads of hostility," said Douglas McDonald, who summoned police in Deltona, Fla., after a tug-of-war with an irate homeowner over a census form. The homeowner threw his ripped half in the toilet....

"There's so much anger and bitterness, with people losing their homes and their jobs," said McDonald, who eventually quit. "They're not too fond of the government. They don't want to talk to you."

Sherri Chesney, 46, said she was cursed and spat at during follow-up visits in Houston. One day, she encountered a woman working in her garden. Chesney showed her census badge, she said, prompting the woman to launch into a tirade: "I don't need the blankety-blank government snooping in my business." Then she threw a metal patio table at Chesney, who escaped injury by ducking.

"I was stunned, I really was, that America is so mad at the government," said Chesney, who no longer works for the census. "People don't know what it's like out there. It's scary and dangerous, and it's not worth my life."
Any theories?

Why the hostility against census workers?
People hate the government more these days.
People feel more inclined to express their hostility these days.
Too many census workers who aren't well trained and don't know how to approach people properly.
The Census Bureau probably just has a lower standard of what counts as an "incident."
More people are up to no good and feel defensive when the government noses around.
  
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67 comments:

Psota said...

Lousy Tea Baggers!

HKatz said...

It's not lack of training. Each time you're fired and subsequently rehired you probably have to sit through training all over again.

Maybe the perpetrators of census-directed violence are angry that they don't have jobs with the Census Bureau? Seeing as the census was the primary source of 'jobs growth' in recent months.

Joe said...

It's racist Tea-baggers, mouth-breating cretins, screaming "Got off my grass, Ya'Betcha" after having listened to Flushed Limpballs, or Sean Vanity, or the Crazeeee Glenn Beck!

At least in Jeremy and HDHouse's mind(s).....

Wow, Slow News Day, UNLESS we're looking for the new Meme of "Angry America." So ~380 incidents, with 635,000 employees in a ntion of ~320 million folks! It's DOUBLE last Census, wow 180 to 380!

I would imagine there were moe than 380 "incidents" after the Lakers won the NBA Championship....

This is pretty much a non-story...UNLESS you're one of the Census workers involved.

Expat(ish) said...

Remember, without knowing what the reporting was like in 2000 and what now constitutes an "incident" you can't really draw any conclusions.

This is what happens when you live with a trained researcher, I guess.

For example, up until the 60's crime that was black/black was rarely reported. As police forces and politics became more integrated, and as federal agencies (ex: FBI) required reporting, the apparent level of violence in America skyrocketed.

But, of course, it didn't really - it was the reporting that changed.

An amusing example: in Victorian England in one of the home counties (I think it was Devon) fully one third of all babies born were conceived out of wedlock over a period of several decades.

What you report when and how is important.

-XC

PS - I would not be surprised if violence were up.

GMay said...

"Seeing as the census was the primary source of 'jobs growth' in recent months."

And the, like, totally unexpected increase in jobless claims once they were done using up their temp workers.

HKatz said...

And the, like, totally unexpected increase in jobless claims once they were done using up their temp workers.

Shhhh... stop it with the unpalatable truths. You'll make people angry. Patio tables will fly.

Pogo said...

The Census workers have a bullshit job and their numbers are bullshit. I will not trust their data, given the manipulation of jobs numbers via the Census hire-fire-rehire scheme.

I filled the Census out. Put 'American' for race. I will not sit for an interrogation by revenooers.

Chase said...

A local Pastor working part time as a census worker was threatened not once, but twice by hispanic "homeowners" who told him straight up that he shouldn't be there. This pastor was making Census calls in an area that was generally understood to house a large number of illegals.\

Sounds like something that would make the Obama Administration very proud.

GMay said...

I voted for 'lower standard for incident' because then it allows for the angryracistviolentteabagger meme to be trotted out once again.

Fred4Pres said...

Maybe the Department of the Census is hiring workers who are scary. Seriously, isn't that a possibility too?

rdkraus said...

Pogo

Here's your primer on how to handle that census interview.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/perry/perry52.1.html

You're welcome.

PS I think this is exactly the right approach.

EDH said...

379?

Wasn't there a "threat" in every one of the 138 million census form sent out?

11. What happens if I don’t respond?

Although the law makes it a crime not to answer the decennial census, the American Community Survey and other mandatory censuses, and authorizes the courts to impose a fine of up to $5,000 for failure to respond, the Census Bureau views this approach as a last resort. Rather than emphasizing or seeking the imposition of penalties, we encourage response by explaining
the importance of the questions we ask and how the information benefits
the community.

Chef Mojo said...

I dunno. Maybe if the census workers were only carrying out their constitutional mandate to, y'know, count people, they might not be having so many problems. There should be one question, and one question only on the census from: How many people live in this residence?

The census is a head count in order to apportion congressional seats among the states. That's it. That is all the Constitution requires.

Rialby said...

I just hope these nuts don't go killing more census workers like that guy they murdered in Kentucky. Sully did an in-depth investigation into it.

What's that? He committed suicide but Sully never apologized for the smear? Never mind...

Pogo said...

@rdkraus

Hilarious and effective.

I want MN to lose representation, so undercounting remains and option.

edutcher said...

Picked the first one, but the real answer is the The Zero so poisoned the well with all the talk of ACORN handling it that people assume the census is going to be crooked this time around.

Shame.

PatCA said...

My comment didn't make it so I'll try again...

These are make-work jobs and there are probably twice as many workers as in 2000 so of course "incidents" are up.

It happens when you walk precincts for candidates--it's not fun for anyone.

And yes, we are mad at the govt these days. Why shouldn't we be?

dbp said...

Wow! One incident for every 1,675 census workers.

A regular crime-wave going on here.

Pogo said...

I don't believe the Census numbers on the true census, the number of Census employees, or on the attacks against them.

Gummint pronouncements are more and more like reading Pravda, where the truth is gleaned only by reading between the lines.

Be assured that Obama will not rest until the violence stops, or until tee time.

Fred4Pres said...

This is how I reacted when the census worker showed up.

Nah, just kidding. Actually his car broke down and he was stuck in the drive way for a couple of hours. We offered him coffee and to call, but he was good.

Old Dad said...

I'm actually quite surprised that the numbers aren't much higher, and not because of politics. There are rural parts of my state that you probably should not visit ever, but if you have to go you better go in broad daylight, keep your hands exposed and walk slowly. If you are lucky enough to hear the click, stop immediately and retreat slowly.

My daughter and son-in-law live in a nice but seme-rural area with mostly small ranches and horse properties. My son-in-law keeps a loaded 12 gauge in the home at all times, as do all his neighbors. They are not particularly mad at anyone, but if you have livestock, especially, you don't like strangers on your property.

lemondog said...

These are make-work jobs and there are probably twice as many workers as in 2000 so of course "incidents" are up

Excellent point. Recent government monthly stats on jobs created jumped primarily due to these temp positions. Gave the WH bragging rights on the 'effectiveness' of the 'stimulus' programs in 'creating jobs.'

Ha!

DADvocate said...

The link in the article Ann links to goes to an article about hiring criminals for census jobs, nothing about the 635,000 takers number.

How many takers were in the 2000 census? How many home visits did they make? Who's putting out these numbers and can they be trusted? Are there really 635,000 census takers or are some of those people hired and fired multiple times to get the jobs created on paper as some have reported? Is this an attempt to create sympathy for Obama and his failing presidency?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well, we never received anything from the Census because we have a post office box for mail. We don't have a choice in this because the PO does NOT deliver mail to our area. When the forms came addressed to our street address in a big huge wad, the Post Office sent the forms back because they didn't have time to figure out which PO Box the addresses belonged to.

No short form. No long form. Nothing.

We did get a census worker stop by. She is a lady we know from the area who is supplimenting her Social Security income and is a widow.

We told her how many people in the house (2)and that was it. She didn't ask for more information because she knew it was futile. She said that almost everyone is surly and won't give any information to her.

I was sorry it was someone we knew because I was going to say that we had 12 Hispanics cordwooded in our garage with an average income of $4000 each and that we had no bathrooms at all. I really wanted to make up stuff and skew it so we get some of that free gubbmint money in our area.

DADvocate said...

Be assured that Obama will not rest until the violence stops, ...

Obama's looking for somebody's ass to kick to stop the violence.

Matthew said...

I took the (3rd-grade-reading-level test) to become a Census taker. By the time the Census Bureau had called to finally recruit me (@16 months later), I was told that despite "raising pay rates" there was a severe manpower shortage.

Most of the "first-hires" (borderline-passing grades get hired first, because they're more likely to be minorities, I'm told) took the four weeks of "paid training" -- and then promptly quit.

What was left to actually take the Census in my area by the time the count began were mostly elderly folks (many using canes and walkers) supplimenting their Social Security income.

I turned down the "enhanced" offer of $21.00/hour to be an "enumerator" because it was clear the Supervisor believed that a relatively-young man (43) like me, would be the perfect escort for her oldsters in wheelchairs and walkers -- especially when they had to enter Housing Projects, or other "bad" neighborhoods.

I'm told by a friend that actually took an enumerator job in another part of NYC that his experience has been similar, and that he's had two of his elderly collagues mugged in broad daylight, one suffering a broken hip in the process.

Perhaps there'smore violence against Census takers because the people who are taking the Census are perhaps more vulnerable to criminals.

And yes, while Iliketh eidea of telling the Federal government to get the hell off your property and out of your life, I'm betting (although I have no evidence) that most of the "violence" is actually criminal activity, andnot so much hostility to the Federal Government.

The idea that Americans are beating up Census-takers because they hate Obama and love Tea Parties sounds like left-wing propaganda.

Synova said...

We got counted twice.

The regular census taker was quick and asked for far less information than was on the form we'd received (I'd started filling it out but got stuck because I simply didn't know some of the information.)

And then we had a second form. No, this wasn't the fake Republican form. It was a long form that went into a huge amount of detail. The lady came over and taped a note to the door and I thought that the wording of the note was hostile. I called her and she turned around and drove back to the house and did the form on her laptop. She was really nice but this is what she said...

She thinks the note and things she's supposed to give out are hostile too. The wording is downright threatening but it's the government and that's the note she's given to post. She works *regionally* out of Denver, full time, every year, year round, collecting whatever information the Congress decides that it wants from randomly selected citizens.

So what the note says is that this is the law and you're required to cooperate or else.

And the thing is that it may well be the law as Congress can pass whatever law it darn well wants to pass, but what it *isn't* is the Census.

What it is is the Congress using the Census Bureau during the 9 years they aren't doing anything much to require by law and with threat of legal consequences to collect personal information from citizens.

Yes, I do believe the lady when she says that the identifying markers are not even saved much less sent in with the information and I hardly see a point at being annoyed at her just because she snagged a census job that never ends, but I really don't like it and it *is* intrusive.

Or it's a symptom of just how intrusive the government is if what the government is up to requires this information every single year instead of every 10 years. It simply means that the federal government is doing too much and reaching too far.

bagoh20 said...

My theory: Government has been doing a really bad job at nearly everything except preventing terrorist attacks which may be luck.

The average person does not want to be interrogated by an entity that it sees as incompetent, corrupt, untrustworthy, and a pestering know-it-all.

It all comes down to that joke about: "I'm from the governemnt and I'm here to help." Some people run toward that guy and some hide. It depends on your level of self-sufficiency and independence.

It's healthy that we have plenty of the second type. I'm surprised at the low number: 379 incidents/ 635,000 workers.

Crash statistics would expect that same number of workers to have at least 12,000 car accidents in a year. They are safer talking to a citizen than driving home afterward. Perspective.

HDHouse said...

How about the question:

6. Are you insane and feel that if a fly lands on your table it is really a sign of the aliens coming?

7. Do yo believe that tin foil helmuts will keep census workers thoughts from invading your mind?


Happy Father's Day. Stop bickering. Chill.

Kirby Olson said...

It's probably big government manufacturing statistics in order to pacify the population further, so that big government can continue its intrusive assault on the private sector.

"Lie still!" is what big government is saying.

"My ass!" is what the public is saying.

Or what the government says that they're saying.

AllenS said...

What if you went to somebody's House, and nobody was home?

lemondog said...

May Employment Report: Census Hiring to Have Increased Significantly During Month of May

Excerpt:
Finally, as the population increases, more Census workers are needed to carry out the decennial Census. Since the 2000 Census, the U.S. population has increased by 28 million, or 10 percent.6 It is expected, therefore, that overall Census employment in 2010 will exceed the peak of 530,0007 workers reached during the 2000 Census.

bagoh20 said...

"What if you went to somebody's House, and nobody was home?"

Then that person is exempt from taxes and jury duty till 2020. That's what my dog told me, so we went for a walk.

Mr Evilwrench said...

Sometimes, there's value in generic information even between the decennial counts; our part of the county has has such phenomenal growth rates over the last couple of decades they've needed to update more frequently.

Now, I just put "03" on my form, and returned it the day after I received it. Yes, it's because I hate and distrust the government. So, I was indeed waiting on a visit, but the mousy little guy that came, and he's been here twice, claims they never received my form. I just said "well, it's not my problem then, go talk to the post office" and shut the door on him while he's still talking.

Yeah, I know I'm being rude, but definitely not violent, even though I typically have a .40 or .45 in my off hand. But that's just in case it's not a census wanker. There have been cases like that too, you know.

bagoh20 said...

I have been answering the door naked for months now, but no Census workers. I'm about to give up. I want them to know I have nothing to hide.

David said...

635,000 census workers times "x" number of visits results in 379 "incidents" (whatever those are)? Sounds like the normal results of random human interaction to me.

Most of the census questions this year seem to be about race. Anyone tracking the racial makeup of these "incidents?" Where is racism when we need it?

rick said...

My plan was to avoid the census altogether. I live in a blue state...my theory was not to be counted so that our state would be under counted and therefore lose representation in congress. My little protest.

My spouse, the voice of reason in our household, dutifully filled out the forms accurately.

c3 said...

Now lets fit in into a narrative.

lemondog said...

I have been answering the door naked for months now, but no Census workers. I'm about to give up. I want them to know I have nothing to hide.

Where's yer proof.

...my theory was not to be counted so that our state would be under counted and therefore lose representation in congress. My little protest.

Another way to downsize government.

I LIKE it!

edutcher said...

AllenS said...

What if you went to somebody's House, and nobody was home?

You ask for Dr. Foreman, Dr. Chase, or Dr. Cameron, but don't ask for Dr. Wilson; he's still getting over Amber.

Or

There hasn't been anybody at home in the House since Pelosi Galore and the closet communists took over.

Trooper York said...

I blame Bush.

Trooper York said...

On the other hand I sign every government form; Yogi Berra.

New said...

I think this is an attempt to show discontent towards the Administration. This is a false move. Think about the alternative - GOP: No vision, No leadership, No character, and so on and so forth.

This is an exercise of time and energy wasting. Accept the current leadership and work hard. America is what you can contribute and not what you can criticize for the sake of criticism. There is no statue for a partisan critic.

Jason said...

Statistical noise. The innumerate press wants to turn it into a meme.

Ratfucks.

David said...

Census data used to be interesting.

No one seemed to know much about my family's ancestry on my father's side. From data online and nothing else I learned:

My great grandfather emigrated to Detroit in 1883.

He, my great Grandmother (who was Irish!--I never knew that) lived in a boarding house in 1890 with their three children, including my grandfather, who was 4 at the time.

My great grandfather was a carpenter.

By 1900, still in Detroit, my great grandfather and grandmother owned a boarding house with 10 boarders. Occupation still carpenter. In that same year, my grandfather--age 14--was in the work force: "laborer."

By 1910, my great grandparents were both dead. The boarding house was owned by someone else. It's location is now beneath a freeway exit in downtown Detroit.

In 1910, my grandfather lived in a boarding house just outside Pittsburgh. He was single. Occupation: "Bookkeeper." The boarding house was near where I grew up, and I went by it hundreds of times as a youth. I never knew of the connection to my grandfather.

In 1920, the year my father was born, my grandfather owned a house, valued at $3500. Occupation: "Office Manager." My grandmother and grandfather had three children, my father being the last.

In 1930 they lived in a house valued at $60,000(!) Occupation: "President--Construction Firm." They had two servants living with them. The three children, two of whom were past the age of 14, were students. (All went to college.)

The census trail ends there, as the last published data is from 1930. My grandfather died in 1943, while my dad was in Italy with the USAAF. He had worked nearly every day of his life from age 14 to his death at 58. The construction company he ran (but unfortunately did not own) had built steel mills, bridges, and was building shipyards in Louisiana, Philadelphia and Alabama as part of the war effort. My grandfather had worked himself to death, quite literally a war casualty according to the family lore. His obituary was in the New York Times.

My grandmother died two years later. She was 59. Her loneliness after his death was profound, but she held on until after my father came home from the war. Because they had not owned the successful business and income tax rates had been 90% at the margin, there wasn't much wealth, but it was enough for my own father to start a small business after a few years--a huge advantage.

My father poured effort into his business. He died at age 49, also in part due to overwork. The business had about 200 employees at his death--200 families making a good living.

Except for our house, the business was my father's only asset. It had to be sold to get cash for my mother and pay inheritance taxes, which were even more onerous then. The business is still around, in quite a different form, but it's come on hard times. Many layoffs. My father never laid anyone off, even in the recessions of the 50's and 60's. He said there was always something to do.

Death and taxes. Taxes and death--the American Dream.

dave1310 said...

Not very good questions to work with. Maybe try these for a more accurate read:

The questions are to intrusive, asking far more than necessary to give "an acrual enumeration."

Making census workers "law enforcement" officials just doesn't sit right with a lot of people.

"Too many census workers who aren't well trained and don't know how to approach people properly" (that was a good one!)

The government is doing everything poorly but has time to stick their noses into our lives in a different way.

More people feel the government is up to no good and are defensive when clearly untrained people announce that they "are from the government and are here to help.

JAL said...

My husband filled out the form (and answered a couple questions differently than I) but I actually never saw it. Don't know which one we got.

My guess is the "census" asks many questions which are no one's business. And most of us, while we like being helpful, don't like the government snooping. (The local tax board knows how many bathrooms our house has. Maybe. Ask them)

How many people live here? (I suppose an under 18 category might be useful for school planning purposes. Or they could count the kids in school.)

Could any of the household residents be counted in another location?

That's it.

Of course we have a neighbor (who *nobody* has any neighbory feelings for) that 2 different census workers have been around trying to find (his house is a bit of a challenge). The second one (an older man, the first was a late middle aged woman in a Volvo convertible) said his follow up form noted that the resident had "threatened violence" if anyone came back.

I told the lady, then the guy, that the couple works nights so talking to them without waking them up was going to be a logistics problem, never mind the violence.

The guy did not drive off in the direction of the house after talking to a couple neighbors....

Just the number of household residents should suffice. (And servants living over the garage and in the basement.)

Deborah said...

Dear Old Dad, I would like to know where you live because I would like to move there. I like the idea of well armed neighbors, especially since the home invasion that occurred down the street a few days ago. It wasn't census workers (at least I don't think so) this time.

dick said...

I live in Queens, NYC and have not received any census forms nor have I had a census taker stop by. My friend in the Inwood section of Manhattan filled out her form and sent it in. She has had 3 follow up visits from census takers because she refuses to give them any more than the number of residents in her home. The last one she stomped on his foot and then slammed the door in his face because he was getting argumentative and she refused to give any more info. She told him it was a census, a count of citizens, and that was all she was required to give and all she was going to give and to go away.

VW: sessesse - someone has a stutter there.

EDH said...

I wonder how many census takers hear the one about fava beans and a nice chianti?

Joe said...

How many of these incidents are at crack houses or other places where law enforcement has had problems?

Joe said...

How many of these incidents are at places where there are a history of problems with law enforcement?

(And I agree with the other Joe; 380 incidents out of nation of 320 million people is arguably good news.)

Popville said...

Hmm... According to the US Census (heh), the 2007 Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people was 467, which even taking into account that possibly Census work is less than 1 year in length, appears lower than Census' own figures for average Americans.

Reference: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/law_enforcement_courts_prisons/crimes_and_crime_rates.html

Of course government workers aren't average but "special".

Jen Bradford said...

I know plenty of people (myself included) who took the time to mail in the census form, only to be disturbed by census workers asking for the information all over again. Also - standing in the hallway of my apartment building for anyone to hear. It was incredibly annoying.

dick said...

Jen,

Just tell them to go away. You already sent in the forms.

AST said...

I'm frightened and angered by what the federal government is doing, but I wouldn't take it out on a census worker, unless he/she got in my face about not answering all the questions. The need for a census is not a license for wholesale intrusions into my privacy.

Paddy O said...

David, thanks for sharing your family story. Very interesting. And shows how much our forebears were willing to do for the sake of the next generation.

I do hope that you are able to take a day, like today, away from work so you don't follow the family history of working to death.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sometime, almost 35 years ago, I had graduated from college with a degree in mathematics and a minor in computer science. I was going part time to business school, and selling insurance to get by. I managed to get myself on the civil service register as a programmer. My first job "assignment" was supposed to be with HEW. I got the letter on Friday, and was supposed to start on Monday. Wasn't going to happen. Besides, that wasn't an agency that I felt that I could work for.

Then, I got an offer from the Census Bureau to work on the 1980 Decennial Census as a programmer. I jumped at the opportunity, and moved from Colorado back to D.C. to take the job. I worked for the agency on the Decennial Census for about 4 years. Then, the systems group tried to offer me a systems programming job, and that got squashed by the Director. The systems group was told they could have me in 1981 or 82 when all the reports were complete. And then a friend of the systems group manager offered me a job doing systems programming on the same type of systems in the private sector, at a pay rate about 10% above what the government could offer me if they gave me the next grade increase. And so I jumped, but only moved one wing over in the FOB3 at the Suitland Federal Center, which is where Census is based. As an after thought, took my kid there last summer when we toured D.C., and it looks like they replaced all those WWII vintage buildings we were in while I worked there.

Despite being conservative, even back then, the Census Bureau, and esp. the Decennial Census, was one place in the government that I felt that I could ethically work. It is Constitutionally mandated, and I think that it is essential for keeping at least a modicum of democracy in our republic.

Even back then, the Decennial Census is only one of the things that the Census bureau does. Much of the government's statistical work is done there. They have a hand in those monthly unemployment statistics, as well as GDP. At least back then, some of the best statisticians in the federal government worked there, and most of that work was not with the Decennial Census.

But, there is a lot of statistics that goes into the Decennial Census. Most people fill out the short form, but a minority, probably somewhere between 1/5 and 1/10 fill out the long form which goes into much greater depth. Then, all the information has to be edited, filtered, and tabulated on a very short time line, as required by law.

Keep in mind that the short form Census is unique in that (at least until this Census), it generates detailed counts down to the block level for the entire country. Not statistical estimates, but actual hard counts. And that is very hard to accomplish. If you get counted twice, that has to be detected, and if you don't respond to the mail questionnaire, that has to be identified, and non-responding recipients tracked down. If they can't be, then the neighbors are (or at least back then were) asked about who lives in that house.

Back in the late 1970s when I worked there, the amount of data that had to be collected was staggering. At the time, we had the most complete set of addresses, by far, in the country. We had driver's license records for all 57 states (each in its own format), and the current SS records. More interestingly, Census had the only fully sorted set of tax records. Because of statutory confidentiality laws for the Census, the sorted and collated records could not be returned to the IRS, which still to this day doesn't appear to have mastered this. All to try to make sure that no one was missed.

After the actual counts are provided to Congress, the next couple of years are spent collating and extrapolating the long form data with the actual count data, and innumerable reports on this and that are published. One of the things though that makes this statistically difficult is that it has to be done in such a way that no individual data can be identified, while producing reports down to the block level.

Bruce Hayden said...

I'm frightened and angered by what the federal government is doing, but I wouldn't take it out on a census worker, unless he/she got in my face about not answering all the questions. The need for a census is not a license for wholesale intrusions into my privacy.

Keep in mind that this has been going on for quite some time now - I think I worked on maybe the 20th Decennial Census, so this would be 23rd or so. And the basic purpose of collecting at least the basic count information is to reallocate legislative seats at the state and federal level every 10 years based on population changes. Without the Decennial Census, we would be in a position like the Japanese are?/were where the votes of farmers are?/were worth several votes of people living in cities, since the districts were set out in the mid 1940s, when Japan was much more rural than it is today.

Also, if you don't respond, then someone is going to have to guess how many people of which nationality and ethnic background live in your house. Optimally, it will be your next door neighbor who hopefully knows how many people live there, their approximate ages, etc. But Census workers in past Censuses have been know to just guess.

Bruce Hayden said...

At the time, we had the most complete set of addresses, by far, in the country. We had driver's license records for all 57 states (each in its own format), and the current SS records.

I should point out that the 57 states was a cheap political joke at the expense of someone in high political office who didn't know the correct number of states.

dick said...

Bruce,

Why are they going to have to guess the national background and ages of who is in the house. The purpose of the census was to count the population. Anything beyond that is for some other purpose which is not necessary. Put down how many are in the house and who and that is all. The rest of it is garbage.

KV said...

I refused to participate in the recent census.
I will not cooperate with any government entity who uses unconstitutional devices such as the Patriot Act to gather information on its citizens.
No census worker arrived at my door. I would not have threatened any if they had...

Blair said...

I take the attitude that the government is going to waste money regardless of whether it knows you exist or not. But at least if it knows you exist, it might not waste as much.

Personally, I'm amazed at how little those forms ask you compared to the questions they ask on other countries' census forms. Just fill out the damned form and be grateful you live in America. It's not a big deal.

jaed said...

"Personally, I'm amazed at how few public officials demand bribes for doing business compared to the kind of corruption they have in other countries. Just fork over the damn money and be glad you live in America. It's not a big deal."

"Personally, I'm amazed at how few opinions are punishable by law compared to the kind of censorship they have in other countries. Just obey the damn rules and be glad you live in America. It's not a big deal."

"Personally, I'm amazed at how few people disappear every year compared to the kind of police terror they have in other countries. Just forget about what happened to your damn cousin and be glad you live in America. It's not a big deal."

Blair said...

Yes, because writing your name and the number of people in your household is almost like being imprisoned or censored, isn't it? It's almost the same thing, isn't it? Yes. Mmmm. Dumbass.

jamboree said...

Errr- a low population count doesn't change *policy*. Not a smart place to make that statement/protest.

It doesn't downsize the government if you are not counted especially if your state is a net inputter into the federal tax system - it just means you don't get your taxes that you've already paid back even on a funding level; Some other state- probably a net leech on the federal tax system - will get them.

Those Census numbers are used in a LOT of statistical calculations and funding algorithms. The funding mandate will still be there whether they are accurate or not.

This is especially true of California where every head counted is worth something like 10K over the next 10 years and CA is broke *and* puts more into the federal tax system than it gets out.

So if you're not counted, the federal and state gov still mandate certain service that need to be supplied. A low count means you get less funding. But the demand will still be the same or greater - this is why illegals are counted.

It's like budgeting for 100 guests at an event and buying X bottles of wine and then 200 people show up.

Then what do you have to do? You have to charge extra stuff on the credit card. You have to issue bonds, raise state taxes, etc.

There's no escaping it until you change it on a policy level.

I'm from CA. Fill out your form. If you're going to lie, lie UP, not down. Now if you are from a state that leeches off the federal tax system, by all means, get your gun out and refuse to fill it out. :-) That only helps us.

jaed said...

Yes, because writing your name and the number of people in your household is almost like being imprisoned or censored, isn't it?

Let me introduce you to the concept of "analogy".

In an analogy, we place two (or more) distinct things side by side to evaluate what they have in common. The things are not normally "almost like" each other; in fact, they may be wildly different in all qualities except the one(s) being examined.

In this case, we analogize four arguments, comparing them to ascertain the soundness of the argument. The arguments being compared here are:

1. (original argument) A statement that intrusive demands for personal information by the federal government should be accepted and any objections are unimportant, because more intrusive demands are made by other countries' governments.

2. A statement that (hypothetical) financial corruption on the part of government officials should be accepted and any objections are unimportant, because more corruption is found among other countries' government officials.

3. A statement that (hypothetical) censorship should be accepted and any objections are unimportant, because worse censorship is found in other countries.

4. A statement that (hypothetical) police terrorism should be accepted and any objections are unimportant, because police in other countries do worse things.

What they have in common:

- They all concern a certain behavior by the federal government, that one may have qualms about.

- They all suggest that these qualms are unimportant and ought to be ignored.

- The argument they all offer in favor this suggestion is that other governments do worse variations of this action.

- The implicit assumption in all four is that behavior by the federal government should not be of concern if other governments do worse things.

These are the qualities the two examples being analogized have in common. They obviously also have a number of differences. For purposes of the analogy, these differences are not important.

What is important is that you would, one assumes, reject the second argument as being logically unsound: because other government officials are corrupt is no reason not to root out corruption here. Because the two arguments use exactly the same form, it therefore follows that your argument is not valid either.

Capisce?