Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Question About the Census--A Short Take for Monday

U.S. 309,148,017
World 6,817,346,883

Something funny has been on my mind:

If the census Bureau knows how many households have or have not returned their census forms, then why do we even need to do the census?

I also wondered what happens to the census forms that are sent to foreclosed or abandoned homes.  Are the forms automatically forwarded? 

And can the census cross-check data with the IRS and Social Security?

My rhetorical questions aside, I did find a few articles that addressed the issue, especially one on a site about Bank Foreclosures:

According to census officials, they expect that many of their mailed census forms would not be returned by households who have abandoned their foreclosed homes and by immigrants who have concerns about their immigration status. Officials also added that sending personnel to make personal follow-ups on unreturned mailed census forms is expensive.
The constitution mandates the counting of citizens in order to assure electoral votes are distributed fairly, communities that qualify can get the government funding they need, and districts can be drawn properly.  The information is supposed to be strictly confidential; many who refuse to respond are afraid that sensitive information will be used against them.

It should be particularly challenging this year. And yet, I ask myself, too, even with 100% participation in the census, in this economy would the money that communities need be available?  And wouldn't we still have districts drawn in outrageous fashion for political reasons?

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