Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Monday, March 01, 2010

The 2010 Census

The 2010 Census begins today, March 1. People in remote rural locations are receiving their forms today. Next Monday, March 8, all of us will receive a letter heralding the arrival of the forms in our mailboxes on March 15. These forms will all have just 10 – count 'em, 10 – questions, which the Census Bureau believes we can answer in 10 minutes. No one will receive the old, dreaded "long form"; all the information on that one is now covered in a new, separate annual American Communities Survey.

As an economist, I can talk about how important the Census is. Hopefully, though, you already know this. You know that the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are divided among states according to the results of each Census. The Constitution orders the count expressly for this purpose. It's right up front, in Article 1 Section 2. You know that numerous kinds of federal aid to states and localities are divided according to Census results. Local government officials put the data you generate to numerous uses. You might not have thought consciously about it, but it's also the case that planners and managers in the private sector, such as real estate agents, marketing directors and locations experts, also depend on these numbers.

If you look at the form, you'll see how simple it is: how many people are staying at your residence on April 1, and for each one, what is their name, age, sex, Hispanic origin, race and birth-date. Do you own your residence, rent, or have some other living arrangement? What is your phone number, in case Census Bureau personnel need to clarify some response. Two questions cross-check: are there others staying with you who don't usually live there and are there people normally in your household who often live somewhere else. That's all of it. You can see the form for yourself, here: [although you can't fill it out online. They're experimenting with that still – maybe they'll do it that way in 2020.]

Should you not mail the form back, Census workers will call on you to obtain the information. We've seen a memo from the Better Business Bureau advising you to check the credentials of anyone claiming they are a Census-taker. That would be true. At the same time, these people are working for you, so hopefully you can welcome them and help them get all the responses down right. You'll benefit and so will the rest of us. One more cautionary note. As we mentioned, this project isn't done on the internet yet. So if you get email asking you to fill out some attachment to cover your Census input, don't do it – that will be spam. The form to fill out comes by "snail mail" and takes hand-entering!

The information is kept absolutely confidential. Names and relationships will be made available in 72 years for people who might want to study ancestry or other relationships, but until then, no one will see your personal data. That's right: the latest such information that's public comes out of the 1930 Census.

We write all this with some feeling, as you might sense. At the Episcopal Church's General Convention back in July, I was startled to find the U.S. Census Bureau there with a booth in the exhibit hall. What on earth are you guys doing here at a church convention? I asked them. The Census is so important, they explained, that they were reaching out to community leaders through whatever venues they could find. We took their sentiment to heart, so we're writing to you now.

Thanks for your help! Tell your family and friends too!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.