Do We Still Need a Census?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Getting away from the general census questions, I have a more basic issue. Do we still need to conduct a census?
The census originated in a time when you needed to send people around to question everyone because there was no other way to know how many people lived in this country. The basic reason for the census was the apportionment of representatives from the several states.
Fast forward to 2000. If we used a combination of things lke the major credit bureaus, telephone and utility hookup records, and Social Security information, wouldn't we already have just about all we need to know about the numbers of people in the country? What is the census going to tell us that we don't already have access to? Does it really make sense to spend even more government money to find out information we could already get from existing sources?
Just a thought.
-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 19, 2000
According to an article I read in the paper (not online, sorry no link), our city traffic engineers want to know when people leave for work and how many cars they have so that they can take that information into account for future plans for road construction.
As for number of bathrooms, the engineers at the water plan want to know so that they can make better plans for expanding our sewer system.
At least that's the "party line" that we're being fed by the local gubmint as to why we shouldn't blow off our census. On the one hand, they do have a point, but on the other, I think that there must be less invasive ways to collect this information than putting it on the census.
-- (email@example.com), March 19, 2000.
I don't know what it would cost to create and maintain a database of everything known about everyone in the country available from all sources, but the sheer depth of information out there is scary. Likely that database would know more about you than your spouse does -- and with luck, most of it would be correct. With less luck, well...
Imagine the data mining I could do on YOU, just using the complete record of all you've ever bought at WalMart. And do your tax returns plausibly match your banking and spending records? From law enforcement to targeted marketing to general harrassment, the possibilities are awesome.
No, the census probably is redundant by now. But I'd still prefer the information about ME be compartmentalized as much as possible.
-- Flint (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2000.
So much for the information on the census being confidential. I understand that the National Endowment for the Arts also "needs" and will get information from the census forms.
-- NH (email@example.com), March 19, 2000.
The postal service could have sent a unique postcard to every 9-digit residential zip code with a space to ask "how many people will be spending the night in this apt/house tonite?"...If that was the only question asked, the SENSUS would have been non-controversial...
All the other info (road usage), etc...is better done by local governments. After all, if you see a backup at a streetlight everyday, you know there's a traffic problem!!!
-- DOG ATE IT (DogAteIt@my.com), March 19, 2000.
Sure, they still need it, why not?
Its not like they dont know how many times we go to the toilet by now.
I tell you what, with the internet now, as an insurance agent, I most recently have access to credit and clue reports. With little information, I can tell you where you live, and how many claims you have made, and how much was paid to you.
I only had to take 40 hrs of insurance school, take CE every two years to keep up with the license requirements.
Scarey, I think it is...But on the other hand, No, I dont think we need a census....the information is ALIVE and WELL..
I once saw a ziggy cartoon which had ziggy standing in front of a map that read "you are here and the government is well aware of it."
-- consumer (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2000.
Which of us can flush our toilets without some government agency being aware of this action?
I can't think of a move I can make outside my home (and I am not sure about that) that isn't counted, checked, or documented in some way.
And, being a true-blue-government conspiracy advocate, I've a good bit of suspicion as to the reason for all the personal questons on the long form. BTW they haven't hit this area as of this date. What is the hold up? If there's no outright revolution in the East, they'll send 'em out West?
-- Richard (Astral-Acres@webtv.net), March 19, 2000.
The census is for for how many reps we have per state it is important. I do say the other is a lode of crap!
-- ET (email@example.com), March 19, 2000.
flint says- Imagine the data mining I could do on YOU, just using the complete record of all you've ever bought at WalMart. And do your tax returns plausibly match your banking and spending records? From law enforcement to targeted marketing to general harrassment, the possibilities are awesome. >> sure is a commercial for paying CASH, isn't it.........
-- kermie (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2000.
I think the reason to maintain an actual census is to cut down the amount of control the takers of the census have in "estimating" the number of people in a given area, thereby yielding a more honest number of people.
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 20, 2000.