NC--Mystery--Today's Census Question: What's the Envelope For? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

[Fair Use: For Education and Research Purpose Only]

Today's census question: What's the envelope for?

Published Friday, March 10, 2000 By ADAM BELL

Most people who received a letter from the Census Bureau last week opened up a little mystery.

The letters sent to 115 million American homes reminded folks to fill out the census form coming in the mail. But it didn't explain - at least not in English - what the return envelope inside the letter was for.

At the bottom of the letter, five non-English sentences told readers to turn the page. That's where they could check off a box, and return it in the enclosed, postage-paid envelope, if they wanted the census questionnaire in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese or Tagalog, a language of the Philippines.

But English-speaking readers remained perplexed.

"Oh yes. The No. 1 call we're getting is what is this envelope for," said Jerry Stahl, a spokesman for the Charlotte Regional Census Center.

Census headquarters near Washington, D.C., took more than 300 envelope calls this week. But they could not say how much all the envelopes cost, or how many they expect to get back.

The pre-census letter also made headlines for another goof.

A census contractor misaddressed all 115 million letters by adding a 1 to the front of all addresses. A bar code under the address, however, let the post office deliver the mail to the right homes.

Reach Adam Bell at (828) 324-0055 or e-mail


-- Dee (, March 10, 2000


Too funny!

I got that mailing the other day and sure enough my address had a 1 in front of the street number and there was a mystery envelope in it. To be honest though, I never gave it enough thought to want to call someone about it. All the letter said was that the real census would arrive in about a week.

-- Michael (123@456.789), March 10, 2000.

it would be intersting to know just how expensive this address error was, as well as the confusion issue of the envelope.

As in manpower to answer the phone and explain, and manpower to explain and research whether they should reprint them all.

You know, that sort of cost.

-- Scrooge (, March 10, 2000.

A private mailing house could have done the job better. (Privatize, vote Libertarian).

Why only those languages.....what about French & Swahili, Persian & Hawaiian?

The envelope is to write back a nasty note....

-- INever (, March 10, 2000.

In the spirit of the extra 1 census address, I think we should all add an extra 1 in front of all the answers we give out on our survey.

-- Uncle Deedah (, March 10, 2000.

My sister-in-law mailed them the letter back in their nebulous envelope...


watchin' the boy eat...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, March 10, 2000.

Thanks for solving the language (type) mystery. I knew the top two were either Chinese,Japanese,Korean and thought the third may be Vietnamese,but really didn't have a clue on the fourth.. Tagalog,a Philippine many Philipinos? who speak this language live here in US?

-- george (, March 10, 2000.

My wife works out of our home doing mailings. Her contractor had 40,000 practice census forms to assemble. They were already filled out and got mailed as a test.

-- John (, March 10, 2000.

Dang! It thought I was a winner in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. I guess I'll stop looking for the check :^)

-- Jim Cooke (, March 11, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ