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Census 2010 is Coming (As Though You Didn't Know)

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Census 2010 is Coming (As Though You Didn't Know)

By nyssbdcrn
Published: February 16, 2010

I was reading this story a month or two back about this onerous-sounding census. Apparently, there was this couple that had to travel around 100km (c. 60 miles) just to get counted. Worse, she was at least eight months pregnant and they were traveling on foot or on donkey. Oh, yeah, it was in the Biblical book of Luke*, and it begins: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

Conversely, the US Census in 2010 is pretty straightforward, with 10 questions for the householder, and fewer for others in the residence. However, for some reason, there seems to be a lot of conflict and confusion. One issue involves what happens when people live in more than one location during substantial parts of the year, such as people in northern states who winter in the South. The Census Bureau will count people who have two residences 'where they spend the majority of their time. People should decide where they spend the majority of their time and fill out the census form sent to that address. If a respondent tells a census taker that they consider their northern address to be their home, even if they happened to still be staying at their southern home on Census Day, the census taker will record the residents at their northern address.'

Unfortunately, I have read erroneous reports, even in my local paper, that the citizens should choose which place to be counted. The truth is that the Census will attempt to count who is at each adddress and for how long, determining the allocation. While the Census mission is to count every person in the country, the methodology involves creating a Master Address File so that a form can go to every residential address.

Then there are the deliberate attempts to cause confusion in the Census. *The Census Bureau has become concerned about misleading mailings, fearing that citizens would disregard the real form when it arrived. There is also a *census e-mail scam misappropriating the Better Business Bureau's name. The message, basically, is that one only needed to give the Census taker the number of people at the address. And the *BBB was NOT happy about it.

I was conversing with some data buddies, and they believe, to a person, that some information users will be disappointed when the Census figures start coming out because they'll be looking for those 'long-form' numbers about household income, housing stock, ancestry and the like that aren't ASKED in the 2010 Census. Those data elements are now being captured in the American Community Survey.

If folks return their forms completely and in a timely fashion, it will save the taxpayers considerable amount of money. Inevitably, though, the Census Bureau will have to send out enumerators to collect information. The US Census Bureau, an Equal Opportunity Employer, is recruiting NOW to hire people for temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. Get details here.

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