OT - Can we end the census debate?

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I posted this on the EZBOARD as well, as it seems many folks just didn't bother to research census questions asked in previous years before jumping to conclusions about current politics, etc.

Someone had already been kind enough to post the 1920 census questions, but this link goes back even further. It provides the questions asked since 1850. Why do you suppose they asked how many idiots live in your home? [Did they include teenagers in that question?]

No one has ever been fined or arrested for NOT answering the questions. If you don't answer, the census folks will look around and check the boxes themselves, I suppose, at least those regarding house, apartment, or trailer.

It's an interesting walk down memory lane, if you're interested:

Census questions since 1850

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 24, 2000


Anita-- This is the first time in four censi that the census taker intends to sit down with us and fill out our form. Someone left a short form with us a few weeks ago and I filled that out and sent it in. NOW we are told the computer will just spit that out and we must sit down and let someone else fill out our form. It is happening this afternoon and does not make me easy. I would much prefer to fill out something official that has my name on it, myself. Both people involved are official census takers. We are wondering just what the penalty may be for filling out two forms. As far as I know this is not a subject that has been covered on these threads.

-- Pam (jpjgood@penn.com), March 24, 2000.

Pam, having the Census Taker in your home, asking questions is not totally new. My Mother did it in rural areas when she took Census in the 70's.

-- Mama (was@rolling.stone), March 24, 2000.

I don't believe you should worry about a "penalty" for cooperating with the census. The building I live in had its address "renumbered" in the last ten years -- I got THREE census forms.

Don't quite know how I'm gonna handle that. But I also don't worry about someone comming to get me if I do something wrong. It just doesn't work like that.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 24, 2000.

We wound up calling the census hotline. The question nonplussed them. The eventual advice, after much consultation with supervisors, was to comply with the request of the enumerator and let him fill out another form. And we did. BUT it feels wrong---sort of like voting twice.

If you see a huge population spike in Potter County, PA, that'll be us. chuckle.

-- Pam (jpjgood@penn.com), March 24, 2000.


I read your comments posted on another thread regarding this post. I am sorry that you threw a thread and nobody came. I know the feeling.

This was an impressive find, and I found the questions quite interesting in a historical context.

For me, it is not a notion that this is the first time the census was intrusive; these questions have ALWAYS been too intrusive, and I still refuse to answer them.

Privacy has steamrolled to the front of people's concerns precisely because of the growth in the internet and e-commerce, People have never been more aware of things like identity fraud as they are today. It is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America today.

Add this to the number of web sites that have been hacked and the number of credit card numbers that have been stolen, and you have an environment in which there is an outcry to these census questions.

Because the government has asked these questions in the past does not mean they have ever been right. This kind of impugnity is exactly what is being questioned by so many at this time.

There has never been a time in all our history where more people can gather at a moment's notice to talk about these things-all due to the internet.

People are entitled to feel "up-in-arms" and fight this if they want to fight it. If we did not fight what we thought was wrong, this would not be a government "by the people and for the people...".

Thanks for the interesting links.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 27, 2000.


What might have been the very first thread on this forum regarding the census had some links to questions and answers like yours. We got TWO of the forms, one short and one long. The census questions and answers said we only needed to complete ONE form. What DID confuse me was how folks could answer WHO was living at this home on April 1st, with the form to be returned as soon as possible. I guess most homes don't have the "revolving door" that we have around here. Those older kids just move in and out, ya know.


I'd feel exactly the same way you do right now. I think I would have simply stated that I'd sent it in and feared that my count would be included twice. If YOUR mailed form will be pitched, how many others will be pitched? That line just didn't make sense to me, and I wouldn't have believed it either.


I don't dispute anything you said, but I've seen tons of folks comment on the EZBOARD forum about how the Clinton administration was behind all this. Some folks have NEVER liked the questions, and every 10 years these questions have been an issue. Andy Rooney even did his thing on 60-minutes yesterday on the census.

Some folks also didn't believe the 1 in 6 figure on receiving the long form. Did you notice that in some years past the long form was sent to 1 in 4? Some folks felt they got the long form because they'd purchased a gun recently. There's been a good deal of conjecture that simply has no basis in fact, and [as usual] the internet has played a role in passing along this conjecture.

It's none of my business whether folks decide to answer the questions or decide to fill out the form. However, I DO like to see folks start with the facts before the conjecture is believed willy-nilly.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 27, 2000.


This is why I hardly even lurk at the other board, and I will never post there. The clinton-bashing can stay over there-It is kind of refreshing to hang out here at tb200 uncensored, because there is less of this rhetoric.

I am sorry they frustate you, and you are right to debunk those people.

Best wishes.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 27, 2000.


I lurk everywhere, and I'm ALLOWED to post there, so I do, using the OLDNOVICE handle. I was fascinated by a post presented on AIDS there today by a poster named Maggie, and I still have more reading to do on that topic presented by a poster named Sheri.

I understand your POINT, but I'm not opposed to tolerance in situations where SOME [even MANY] are intolerant.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 27, 2000.


I hope you do not think that I was judging you for posting at EZBoard. We all make our choices, and for me I could not in good conscience post there after Flint and others were banned. I received my password, but never used it.

Because I feel this way, this does not mean that all should believe this way, and it does not mean that I believe those who lurk/post there are in the wrong. Again, we all have our choices and this is mine. There is good to be found most anywhere, and I am glad you are such a seeker of information, like myself. You wouldn't happen to be a gemini, would you?? Just a curiosity. I dabble in Astrology.

Anyway, God bless you and yours and have a wonderful tomorrow.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 27, 2000.

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