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No Census, No Feeling
October 20, 2009 4:03 AM   Subscribe

Time was, even the Three Stooges didn't fear the Census. But now, turbulent political and economic times roiling the nation are expected to diminish initial participation by households in next year's Census. To counteract this, the Census will spend an unprecedented $326 million in marketing, including a Super Bowl ad, and will appear in a Spanish-language telenovela.

The decennial Census, conducted every ten years since 1790, has always had to explain itself. There were PSAs in 1980, an outreach in 1990, and a whole campaign in 2000 (with its first Super Bowl ad). The 2010 Census has already led to a number of crazy conspiracy theories and possibly the death of a Census worker (previously) so the job may be harder. The Census provides a wealth of data (previously: 1, 2), but can the need for interesting facts keep us from fearing the people who come to our door?
posted by twoleftfeet (67 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
You'd think that since US Representatives are apportioned relative to the population of each state, that they might have a vested interest in getting the message out to their constituents. You know, explain that federal funding for local projects depends on people being counted.

It's hard to feel bad for the more destitute parts of my country sometimes, when it appears to be the result of such active and willful ignorance as evading and resisting the Census.
posted by explosion at 4:13 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The teabaggers will marginalize themselves...
... and then find others to blame for it.
posted by markkraft at 4:24 AM on October 20, 2009


It would be pretty hilarious if deep red states lose house seats because the hard-core republicans refuse to fill out their forms. And the republicans were the ones who opposed using statistical modeling to estimate the true number, rather then a direct count (which will always be lower)
posted by delmoi at 4:24 AM on October 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


It would be pretty hilarious if deep red states lose house seats because the hard-core republicans refuse to fill out their forms

I came in here to say the same thing. How I wish the rurally-over-represented Senate membership were also determined by census.
posted by DU at 4:31 AM on October 20, 2009


explosion: "It's hard to feel bad for the more destitute parts of my country sometimes, when it appears to be the result of such active and willful ignorance as evading and resisting the Census."

Do you really think ignorance is willful in the most destitute areas of the nation? Poverty and poor public education go hand-in-hand.
posted by kathrineg at 4:52 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't be cheerful if people lose their representatives--Congress is unrepresentative enough as it is.
posted by kathrineg at 4:53 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


The ironic thing is, by losing nominal Representatives, they might be gaining actual representatives.
posted by DU at 5:06 AM on October 20, 2009


And the republicans were the ones who opposed using statistical modeling to estimate the true number

I think I'd rather have the direct count, myself, even if it's lower. Statistics can be bent in all kinds of strange ways, and given some of the really crazy justifications you see in other government numbers, the devil we know strikes me as preferable. A direct count may be low, but at least it's honest.

And, overall, I'm of the opinion that if people want to withhold their existence from the Census, they're probably not people we should be bending over backwards to include. It's not like it's difficult; those guys practically beat down your door until you submit something. If you're that determined to be invisible to the Census, that's fine, be invisible to the Census.

I would hope that anyone reading this would be very careful to fill out your forms: it's important, just as important as voting. It takes awhile, but it only happens once a decade, so it's not like they're demanding a bunch of your lifetime to cooperate.
posted by Malor at 5:07 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


My partner has never gotten a census form, he was 20 last time there was a census. It doesn't count everyone. Statistics are cool and useful.
posted by kathrineg at 5:11 AM on October 20, 2009


Glenn Beck acts like the census counting undocumented migrants is like the 3/5ths compromise, meaning that it gives representation to people for "modern day slavery."

Yep, he compared undocumented workers to modern day slaves, never mind the fact that immigrants choose to come over themselves and could go back to their home country if they so desired, unlike slaves. Since he's so concerned about their rights, he's sounding rather pro-amnesty. However, I get the feeling he's really pro-deportation, which doesn't really make as much sense.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:11 AM on October 20, 2009


The Republican Party is shrinking as we speak; the strategy for making their people fear and hate the Census is obviously targeted at invalidating the entire process and preventing any reapportionment that will make them more irrelevant to the political process. And I can't be cheerful if states that are losing population become more powerful if there is no reapportionment.

And willful ignorance is one of the few tools the Republicans have left to attempt to regain power.
posted by wendell at 5:12 AM on October 20, 2009


He's a blowhard but he makes a decent point, which is, why are people being counted in order to determine representation when they can't vote? Doesn't that give the votes of citizens more weight in areas where there are more illegal immigrants, effectively granting the people who can vote more influence than they deserve?
posted by kathrineg at 5:22 AM on October 20, 2009


And I'm not actually sure that's the point Glenn Beck is trying to make, so let's just say he made a point that is tangential to the point I am making.

And yeah, illegal immigrants are treated like shit by corporations, so I don't see why comparing them to slaves (while admitting that the conditions are better) is a completely off the wall. Hyperbolic? Yes. Offensively so? No.
posted by kathrineg at 5:23 AM on October 20, 2009


A direct count may be low, but at least it's honest.

The problem with direct counting is not that some people are missed. The problem with direct counting is that the people missed are not randomly distributed.

There are very simple techniques for estimating populations that you can't count directly. With transparency and accountability, there's no reason we can't all be reasonably sure the system is working.
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


kathrineg: "Do you really think ignorance is willful in the most destitute areas of the nation? Poverty and poor public education go hand-in-hand."

There's poor and poorly educated, and then there's poor and "Ah dun nuheed now fuken eja-cayshun." I know folks from both camps.
posted by notsnot at 5:27 AM on October 20, 2009


Is it that hard to go uncounted? In 1980, I was living alone in West L.A. and got the Long Form Census in the mail. Dropping it in the wrong pile in my filingpiling system, I forgot about it until Spring Cleaning 1981 and never got a knock on the door or even a 2nd Notice in the mail. I don't know if I went uncounted or if they got a basic count of residents from the apartment manager or what, but they never found out how many cars or bathrooms I had...

And in 1990, when I was writing radio comedy, I did a short bit about the Three Stooges as Census Takers, or as I punfully called them, 'Senseless Takers'. It was a great way to use my bootleg collection of cartoon sound effects, but didn't go over well with the client stations so there were no sequels (and I really wanted to do something with them as Cable Guys and McDonalds employees). I was totally unaware that the Real Stooges had done the Census 50 years earlier. I feel rather embarrassed 19 years later.
posted by wendell at 5:30 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the census, anyone have any news updates from any sources anywhere on that murdered census worker in Kentucky? Story seems to have dropped off the map...

...willful ignorance is one of the few tools the Republicans have left to attempt to regain power.

Quoted for truth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 AM on October 20, 2009


anyone have any news updates from any sources anywhere on that murdered census worker in Kentucky?

Bill Sparkman.
While law enforcement conducts its investigation of the death, the United States Census Bureau has suspended its work in Clay County.
posted by DU at 5:37 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's a blowhard but he makes a decent point, which is, why are people being counted in order to determine representation when they can't vote?

Apportionment of voting isn't the only thing determined by the census. Planning of sewers and roads and social services depends on the census, too, for headcounts and information about demographic trends.
posted by joyceanmachine at 5:39 AM on October 20, 2009


Thanks, DU. I should've checked Wiki, stupid of me not to think of that. Sounds like the investigation into Sparkman's death might be going (willfully) nowhere fast.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:42 AM on October 20, 2009


I've heard that Michelle Bachman in particular is against the census not so much just because she's crazy, but also because her district is the result of gerrymandering. Can't find much to back it up, though.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:03 AM on October 20, 2009


Part 2 of the Stooges video.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:04 AM on October 20, 2009


I enjoy tying the work of the Stooges to modern politics.

One tiny detail in that film; at 1:40, Moe says "we just got a job, we're working for the Census" and Larry says "you mean Will Hays?"; a great pun whose meaning has now been lost to those without Google.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:13 AM on October 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


You'd think that since US Representatives are apportioned relative to the population of each state, that they might have a vested interest in getting the message out to their constituents. You know, explain that federal funding for local projects depends on people being counted.

Here's the problem with that theory. The Census is not at all likely to preserve a given Congressional seat. In some areas of the country, congressional districts will be consolidated to account for population decline. In other areas of the country, congressional districts will be divided to account for population growth. In the first case, a representative risks losing his seat altogether. In the second case, a representative risks having his district so altered that another candidate is more appealing to the new voting bloc.

A given congressional representative stands to loose more than he gains from the census, if for no other reason than his present district is a known quantity and any future districts are axiomatically unknown quantities. What congressman in his right mind would bend over backwards to support the census when it posses such a threat to him?

This says nothing of the fact that population growth among "minorities" is higher than among whites. A majority-white Congress will--whether consciously or not--likely work to preserve itself. A radical effort to ensure accuracy in the census is akin to a radical effort to diversify the power structure. "Minority" representatives are the ones with the greatest vested interest in ensuring an accurate census count.
posted by jefficator at 6:21 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Do you really think ignorance is willful in the most destitute areas of the nation? Poverty and poor public education go hand-in-hand.

Ignorance of things like job skills are a result of poverty. Ignorance manifesting itself as malicious resistance to mundane government functions is willful ignorance and therefore contemptible.

As someone who grew up in a rural area, I know first hand that the only place where every poor person is an industrious saint is in Pete Seeger songs. Rural paranoids avoiding the census and getting less representation is an example of "just desserts." Blindly defending every action of poor people because of their poverty is the equivalent of taking home a stray dog that wants to attack you-- you're sweet for doing it but you're also a fool.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:24 AM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


He's a blowhard but he makes a decent point, which is, why are people being counted in order to determine representation when they can't vote?

If you or Beck have a beef with that, you'll have to take it up with Madison, Morris, and the other members of the Convention. Representatives are apportioned among states "according to their respective numbers," and have been since day one. The only people not counted for purposes of representation are "Indians not taxed," and it's likewise been that way since day one.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:31 AM on October 20, 2009


wendell: "The Republican Party is shrinking as we speak; ..."

Washington Post:
Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983.

posted by octothorpe at 6:32 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you or Beck have a beef with that, you'll have to take it up with Madison, Morris, and the other members of the Convention. Representatives are apportioned among states "according to their respective numbers," and have been since day one.

No, not since day one. See: the three-fifths compromise.
posted by kathrineg at 6:35 AM on October 20, 2009


"but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983."

When noted liberal Ronald Reagan was in the white house? And a year before they put him back there? That works... how?
posted by Limiter at 6:37 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why are people being counted in order to determine representation when they can't vote?

They aren't counted purely to determine representation. They are also counted to determine apportionment of federal spending for highways, education, disasters, etc.

A good example of how this is a problem is university towns like Auburn, Alabama. The population of permanent residents is much smaller than the number of people who regularly use the roads, whether students or football fans. For years the access roads in Auburn were utterly inadequate, but the funding to upgrade was not available, partly because students regularly claim their parents home as their residence for voting purposes, and football fans would have no reason to be counted in Auburn. When the 2000 census rolled around, signs and billboards begged students to "Claim Auburn!" largely for the purposes of funding. I don't know home many obliged, but I know the roads are better now.

This obviously raises questions about how money is spent in this country with respect to votes. But we've already established that many places receive more federal dollars than they pay in tax dollars.
posted by jefficator at 6:44 AM on October 20, 2009


When noted liberal Ronald Reagan was in the white house? And a year before they put him back there? That works... how?

Because we were then in the middle of what was then one of the post-1945 recessions.
posted by blucevalo at 6:45 AM on October 20, 2009


one of the worst post-1945 recessions
posted by blucevalo at 6:45 AM on October 20, 2009


Reagen was a fancy-talking movie man! How could you say no to The Gipper? (And what blucevalo said)

What congressman in his right mind would bend over backwards to support the census when it posses such a threat to him?

The one who serves his/her country, not personal gains? Here's to hoping.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:49 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


What congressman in his right mind would bend over backwards to support the census when it posses such a threat to him?

The one who serves his/her country, not personal gains? Here's to hoping.


filthy light thief, I'm with you. I really wish we had such figures. Sometimes I'm amazed that someone like George Washington ever existed--especially since his character seems to be genuine and not a historical gloss.
posted by jefficator at 6:53 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Re: The Sparkman case, at the time the statements by the local cops mainly seemed defensive and concerned with media perception of their county, I'm suspecting they have no real interest in finding out who did it whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on October 20, 2009


Mayor Curley: "Blindly defending every action of poor people because of their poverty is the equivalent of taking home a stray dog that wants to attack you-- you're sweet for doing it but you're also a fool."

Who defended "every action" of poor people? I simply questioned the assertion that we should somehow "not feel bad" for the destitute parts of our country because of their "willful ignorance" as it relates to the census when their very educations are underfunded to the point of absurdity. Bootstraps, right?

Then we can look at the bizarre assumption that more destitute areas of the country are somehow disproportionately participating in the anti-census propaganda. Here are the people pushing the anti-census conspiracy theories, according to the link in the post:

Michelle Malkin--not poor
Michelle Bachman--not poor, represents a middle-class area of Minnesota
Neal Boortz--not poor, owns a Super Decathalon airplane
The American Daily Review: run by John Barnhart and Douglas V. Gibbs--neither of them are from destitute areas of the country

How do those people's asshole behavior translate into losing sympathy for the less fortunate?

From here, that conclusion looks like thoughtless classism mixed with some good-old-knee-jerk-fuck-the-flyover-states attitude mixed in.
posted by kathrineg at 6:57 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh and I forgot the other group pushing the anti-census bullshit:

The Republican party. If I'm not mistaken, they're not exactly run by your average dude from Owsley County, Kentucky.
posted by kathrineg at 7:00 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The census also provides the data necessary to calculate how funding for low-income housing will be distributed. HUD and state housing finance authorities are bound by incredibly draconian measures to try and ensure that Low Income Housing Tax Credits are allocated to areas of greatest need nationwide. For those who live in substandard housing, refusing to participate in the census does not mean that federal housing programs go away, but rather that funding is allocated to less needy people elsewhere in the country.
posted by jefficator at 7:03 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not sure where the "destitute people are evading the census, shame on them" meme is coming from myself, either. Those who are advocating evading the census are folks like Michele Bachmann, who does not exactly represent a destitute Congressional district. Their reasons for evading the census have less to do with fear of bad nasty censustakers and their Acorn-like suspicious behavior than it does to do with the political reality that the 2010 Census will probably result in a loss of Republican House districts.
posted by blucevalo at 7:19 AM on October 20, 2009


Blah, need more coffee: "Their reasons for evading the census have less to do with fear of bad nasty censustakers and their Acorn-like suspicious behavior than it does to do with the political reality that the 2010 Census will probably result in a loss of Republican House districts."
posted by blucevalo at 7:21 AM on October 20, 2009


From here, that conclusion looks like thoughtless classism mixed with some good-old-knee-jerk-fuck-the-flyover-states attitude mixed in.

Well, let's look at what you said:

Do you really think ignorance is willful in the most destitute areas of the nation? Poverty and poor public education go hand-in-hand.

This was in response to:

"It's hard to feel bad for the more destitute parts of my country sometimes, when it appears to be the result of such active and willful ignorance as evading and resisting the Census."

You're saying that if a poor, rural person shoots their own foot by willfully avoiding the census (in which the government is taking huge pains to make sure they get counted) that the blame ultimately lies with someone else. It's only "thoughtless classism mixed with some good-old-knee-jerk-fuck-the-flyover-states attitude" if you believe that poverty absolves people of the need for common sense.

If a media personality whom I admire tells me to do something stupid, it's my fault if I follow their urging and get hurt, whether I went to college or not.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:25 AM on October 20, 2009


We have more than enough fingers on hand to point.

First off, the Census is paying for its actions during World War II. "Hey guys here's this whole truckload of data on Japanese Americans! Let's go to camp!" will haunt any census effort in America for a long, long time. They don't get to take that back. We know that data is not held sacred and inviolable because we can remember history. If you're "scared of the government" (and since the Republicans are not in power now, they are scared), then of course they do not want to hand that data over to the census, knowing that it could be misused, as it has been in the past. You may or may not agree with the conclusion, but that suspicion has been at least partially earned.

Second, with regards to education, a cycle of indirection exists. If I become a Dittohead and engage in some action which reduces the money to education, I'm not feeling the effects, a kid a few districts down does. And that kid's father is the one who does it to my kid. If I am a faithful Red Stater, the elaborate indirections (plus a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance) make it very difficult for me to see how my actions result in harm which eventually boomerangs back to me, or, more likely, someone else just like me. It's like "Button, Button" or a circular firing squad.
posted by adipocere at 7:54 AM on October 20, 2009


I'm not sure how any of this relates to anything the Census did or did not do during World War II. Especially in terms of "payback." "They don't get to take that back"? What does that even mean?
posted by blucevalo at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2009


"Take this into consideration. If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps. I'm not saying that that's what the Administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps." -- Michele Bachmann, June 25, 2009
posted by blucevalo at 8:12 AM on October 20, 2009


More people = more representatives = less power and influence for individual representatives.

More people = more Democrats* = less power and influence for individual Republicans.
* More accurate counting of minorities, who are more likely to elect Democrats.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:25 AM on October 20, 2009


No, not since day one. See: the three-fifths compromise.

Even then, the slaves were all counted. You can't find 3/5 X without first finding X.

And even in 1789, whole rafts of people who could not vote were fully counted in the census. Women. Poor white men, at the time. Immigrants and other noncitizens. Children.

It has been the case, from day one, that representation in the House was determined by the number of inhabitants, and not in any way the number of voters.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:31 AM on October 20, 2009


Without the data compiled by the census, surely Japanese Americans could have blended invisibly into the general population of 1940s America at large.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:52 AM on October 20, 2009


Stopped clock Michele Bachmann is a crazypants who objects to the census solely because it's being run while a Democrat is president, but the census bureau really did give data on Japanese-Americans to the government to aid in rounding them up. They also provided zip-code level data on Arab-Americans to DHS during Bush's reign. It's unfortunate when the government gives crazy people justification for their Crusade for Craziness.

The irony is that middle-class white Republicans historically have the least to fear and the most to gain from participating in the census.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:54 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Many residents can't vote, but do pay taxes and require public services. The census isn't to count voters, it's to count how many people live in a given area.

A side effect of this is those people getting more representation, but it is not the core purpose.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:59 AM on October 20, 2009


More people = more representatives = less power and influence for individual representatives.

Unlikely. It has been some time since seats were added to the House. This is under review, but I don't anticipate change anytime soon. More like:

More people = redistricting = less power and influence for existing representatives
posted by jefficator at 8:59 AM on October 20, 2009


More people = redistricting = less power and influence for existing in many cases Republican representatives = Republican hue and cry about Census being Armageddon incarnate
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 AM on October 20, 2009


More people = redistricting = less power and influence for existing in many cases Republican representatives = Republican hue and cry about Census being Armageddon incarnate

Rarely that partisan.

Let's say City "X" is large and has two representatives in Congress. Because cities tend to vote "bluer" than rural districts, these two representatives are likely to be Democrats. But because of various demographic trends--whites moving to suburban communities, Hispanics creating distinct population areas--you find that the largest conflict today is not across party lines, but rather intra-party. Will a "black" district suddenly become Hispanic, loosing a "black seat" in the House? Will a traditionally rural district become populated by wealthy whites who vote for a Republican who is not beholden to agricultural interests?

An emerging disagreement that will be interesting to watch is the effect of gentrification. As increasing numbers of whites move in to inner-city areas, you find that minorities are not able to enjoy the control over politics that has characterized the previous generation. Atlanta may have its first white mayor in decades. The school board in Washington, D.C. has white members for the first time in memory. As population shift becomes evident, representatives are changed. People hate that.
posted by jefficator at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2009


While law enforcement conducts its investigation of the death, the United States Census Bureau has suspended its work in Clay County.
You'd think they would have worded that a little more tactfully.
posted by Flashman at 9:17 AM on October 20, 2009


Stopped clock Michele Bachmann is a crazypants who objects to the census solely because it's being run while a Democrat is president

adipocere and dirigbleman make a good point -- if Census data were used as recently as 2000 to give zip-code level data on Arab-American citizens to the Department of Homeland Security, it makes you worry about some uses that 2010 data will be put to. The Census Bureau has probably not been as forthcoming as it needs to have been about its historical role in the Japanese-American internment system and other uses of its data.

My sense, though, is that folks like Michele Bachmann are being concern trolls about the census not because they actually object to data being collected and used by government agencies, but because they object to that data being used and collected to ends that may be deterimental to their party's particular political fortunes. Fueling anti-Census hysteria also feeds into the general "tea party" anti-Obama-socialist-data-collector-he's-taking-over-your-life storyline.
posted by blucevalo at 9:30 AM on October 20, 2009


Another issue has been that until now, same-sex couples could not list themselves in the census as married, and if they did so, their data would be changed or found invalid. There is a stated new policy that will allow people to list themselves as married no matter the gender of the person they are married to, but we haven't seen that in practice yet to know how it will pan out.

I personally have very mixed feelings about the census. If I were a member of an ethnic group that has historically been or is currently targeted as a group by law enforcement, I believe I would be very hesitant to participate (even knowing that theoretically, my participation could increase services to my community). And knowing that members of other ethnic groups may have this data used against them makes me very hesitant to participate even as a white person.
posted by serazin at 9:50 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stopped clock Michele Bachmann is a crazypants who objects to the census solely because it's being run while a Democrat is president, but the census bureau really did give data on Japanese-Americans to the government to aid in rounding them up. They also provided zip-code level data on Arab-Americans to DHS during Bush's reign. It's unfortunate when the government gives crazy people justification for their Crusade for Craziness.

All of which is blatantly illegal, and were we bothering to enforce out laws, the perpetrators should be imprisoned for a long, long time. The problem is that all these hypocritical right wingers don't give a damn about upholding U.S. law.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:55 AM on October 20, 2009


50 Ways Census Data Are Used, courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:58 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I personally have very mixed feelings about the census. If I were a member of an ethnic group that has historically been or is currently targeted as a group by law enforcement, I believe I would be very hesitant to participate (even knowing that theoretically, my participation could increase services to my community). And knowing that members of other ethnic groups may have this data used against them makes me very hesitant to participate even as a white person.

Unless you're fearing community-wide riots, you shouldn't worry. Check the data for yourself, and you'll see the finest grain is per 5-digit ZIP code (I believe).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:06 AM on October 20, 2009


if Census data were used as recently as 2000 to give zip-code level data on Arab-American citizens to the Department of Homeland Security

Providing zip-code level data is hardly an indictment; they give that away for free to anyone who wants it. I don't know when it came online, but just using the American Factfinder web interface I can tell you that as of 2000 there were 262 people who reported Arab ancestry in my zip code, most of whom (206) had Lebanese ancestry. I can also tell you that my zip code had 1206 high school students, that 43 households were linguistically-isolated hispanohablantes, that 806 people held PhDs, that 1793 households earned $100K or more, and so on.

Likewise, anyone who wants to can download the entire short form or long-form (sample) datasets that go down to block groups or census tracts depending on the variable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:09 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Providing zip-code level data is hardly an indictment; they give that away for free to anyone who wants it.

True, and I didn't mean to imply an indictment. I'm going to participate in the census, even though I have some of the same concerns that serazin cites. And I really do not buy the argument that the only valid questionnaire is one that asks me for my name, address, and how many people live in the domicile.
posted by blucevalo at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2009


Stopped clock Michele Bachmann is a crazypants who objects to the census solely because it's being run while a Democrat is president, but the census bureau really did give data on Japanese-Americans to the government to aid in rounding them up. They also provided zip-code level data on Arab-Americans to DHS during Bush's reign. It's unfortunate when the government gives crazy people justification for their Crusade for Craziness.

Irony is that these same folks vote for congresscritters who also feel that suspension of civil liberties is justified by the 9/11 attacks.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2009


> at the time the statements by the local cops mainly seemed defensive and concerned with media perception of their county, I'm suspecting they have no real interest in finding out who did it whatsoever.
Wouldn't this be an FBI matter?
posted by cj_ at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2009


I think they sent Mulder and Scully, so they can check on the most likely theory of it being Meth Bigfoot.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on October 20, 2009


It just doesn't track.
posted by cj_ at 12:12 PM on October 20, 2009


Despite Rep. Bachmann's best efforts, Minnesota Looks to Snowbirds to Preserve House Seat.
posted by gimonca at 1:36 PM on October 20, 2009


Is it that hard to go uncounted? In 1980, I was living alone in West L.A. and got the Long Form Census in the mail. Dropping it in the wrong pile in my filingpiling system, I forgot about it until Spring Cleaning 1981 and never got a knock on the door or even a 2nd Notice in the mail.

I was slow in the 2000 census, incredibly busy, and they just would not leave me the heck alone. I don't remember whether I got reminder notices in the mail, but they stopped by the apartment at least three times, leaving notes on the door. I saw the person the last time, and she had clipboard in hand, and was ready to fill out the form right there and then.

I just assumed that they were that proactive everywhere, but perhaps that was a local feature, rather than a national one. I was living in a very upscale area in Northern California at the time, and it's quite possible that they were just highly motivated in that branch of the Census Bureau.
posted by Malor at 4:23 PM on October 20, 2009


Death investigation of Census worker expected to be resolved within weeks
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on October 29, 2009


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