Tarheeltalker

Counting Sheep

If I have counted correctly, the 23rd Census of these United States is underway. Way back on March 1, 1790, Congress authorized the first  decennial census. The first collection of data about we Americans took 18 months to complete.

Now, we are much more sophisticated in how we count, what we count  and what we do with the information that is collected. Those aforementioned 3 items are where my interest lies. No longer do we just want to know how many, but ages, addresses, phone numbers, whether we own or rent and oh yes, our phone number if there are questions. Not to worry, the form says, the data is safe-trust us on that.

So, bearing in mind that the census itself is mandated by law and actually has some quite valid purposes, what are our legal requirements ? What information must we provide or expect a follow-up visit? According to the iowadatacenter.org, all 7 questions are either required by law or are needed to meet federal case-law requirements .

I have read/received emails about what people say they will or won’t do with the forms. Some maintain they will only provide the number of people in their household, maintaining that is the only valid question. Some say they will write in American as their race,etc.

I have decidedly mixed feelings. I am convinced that some info would be available whether or not I provide it. For example, I complete line#5 that requests my name. It is a quite simple mater to obtain my phone number for line#4 just in  case my answers my answers are not clear.

But you know what they say, “we can’t move forward until you mail it back.”” Shucks, they are even using Dora the Explorer to advance the cause. Numbers indicate that around 87% of us will in fact mail it back.

Just for the record, check out the US Constitution, Article I, Section 2 which provides the legal underpinning for the Census.

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March 16, 2010 - Posted by | Culture | , , , , , ,

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