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U.S. Census


Gayle
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I received my U.S. Census form yesterday and I must say, they want answers to questions that are frankly none of their business. Grrrr

1. If you were to sell your house, what would be the asking price? I'm not in the market to sell in the first place so how am I to answer this question? With today's ecomony, no one would want to pay what I think my house is worth.

2. The yearly cost for utilities.

3. The real estate taxes per year.

4. Annual cost for fire, hazard and flood insurance.

5. Does person #1, etc., have difficutly making decisions.

6. Does person #1, etc., have walking or climbing stairs. Are they going to send someone to help?

7. Does person #1, etc., have difficulty dressing or bathing? Won't even go there.

8. During the past 12 months,in the weeks worked, how many hours did this person usually work each week? Get real, I'm a wife and mother, I'm on call 24/7, vacation? What's that?

I can understand some of the questions but why all the personal stuff? Why would they need to know how much my house taxes are or how much for home owners insurance? If we answer these questions, will our existing taxes go up and services go down?

If they want to know our income, check with the IRS.

Doesn't it strike you as odd that the government feels it has the right to ask these questions but when we ask the government for answers, they refuse to answer direct questions or give us the run around. Everything is classified or on a need to know basis and we don't need to know.

Maybe the military has the right idea, name, rank, serial number and nothing else.

Okay, I'll get off the soap box now. Thanks for listening.

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What happens if you just don't answer? Or answer like you said that you aren't selling, or does not apply, etc.

There isn't an option for those answers. I don't have any idea what would happen if I didn't answer but I doubt they will call the National Guard.

Should anyone call or show up at the door, I'll tell them the questions are too personal and the answers are classified. :violin:

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gayle, the u s census isn't interested in YOU; they just want a picture of how the country is doing. the only way to do this is ask questions of a % of the people. this isn't even the real census-- that is next year.

btw, people who do family research LOVE the census.

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That doesn't even sound like a real census questionnarire. During one of the censuses (I forget which one) we got a special form that did ask for some generalized personal info, it was like an attachment to the form and came the year of the census. What you're describing sounds like a marketing research questionnaire, and if they're making it look like a census document it may evven be bogus, a scam. I'd call the Census folks and ask about it, and then tell them why you aren't comfortable answering any of the questions.

I've also done plhone surveys with census folks and qualified each & every answer.

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Turns out, I was partially right. It's called "The American Community Survey" and it has been sent by the US Census Bureau, complete with the notation on the envelope "Your Response is Required By Law". The postage paid return envelope goes back to the Census Bureau.

I'm still not inclined to give them all the information they're asking for either. What I pay for home owner's insurance, property taxes, utilities or whether I need assistance climbing stairs won't help someone else and they don't need to know.

There is a note on the back that reads:

The Census Bureau estimates that, for the average household, this form will take 38 minutes to complete, including the time for reviewing the instructions and answers. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of the collection of information, incuding suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Paperwork Project 0607-0810, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, AMSD-3K136, Washington, D.C. 20233. You may e-mail comments to Paperwork@census.gov; use "Paperwork Project 0607-0810" as the subject.

I don't know if this is a scam or not but I'm not happy about it either way.

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Your reply will go ANONYMOUSLY into the pool with everyone else's reply, and become a set of ANONYMOUS numbers to describe the population of the US. Nobody will know that YOU filled out the form, nobody will know that YOU answered in any particular way. And nobody will come and raid your house if you choose to NOT answer. But they will come back several times asking for you to comply..and then eventually give up.

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hmm. i worked as a follow-up enumerator for the 2000 census, visiting personally those households that had not responded to the postal questionnaire or later phone calls. for some houses i went back again & again, even contacting the neighbors. my "failures" i turned over to a super team. who knows what they did. it's the law. the census bureau takes this seriously.

i also worked on the 1970 census. very interesting work.

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Sorry Gayle, most of the residential tax info they ask for is already easily found online. If you go to your county government online site, type in your address, you can see many details of your personal info. You can 'opt out' of having some of that made public. Type in something like (your county name)online.gov

My own feeling is the census is a good thing, but yes it does get personal

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From the US Census website re The American Community Survey (emphasis added):

The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory.

According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.

The U.S. Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential. Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years, or both.

Gayle, these questions may not be bandied about in polite society, but this is an effort to amass information that can inform communities on how they are changing. Governments notoriously lag behind need, but this tool can help them examine trends. As Ann said, your information will go into an anonymous pool. See quote above for what can happen should someone within the census bureau let any of it slip out. You could be hit with a hefty fine for not answering, but they would be hit with one 50 times higher and look at jail time if they leak your answers.

As for personal information relating to physical abilities, do you think it might influence the support of services if it is discovered that there are a number of people in an area who could use some help with transportation, home health services, etc.? As Irmo Gayle said, much of this information is available elsewhere, but this tool lets the statisticians compare apples and apples, whereas information gathered from many places often is a matter of apples and oranges, as the collection/reporting methods vary from place to place.

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it's one of the rare times your personal statistics are historically really counted. I encourage you to answer to the best of your ability and hope the statistics help bring in to focus some public problems. It IS flawed, but I HOPE the good will outweigh the bad.

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I refused to answer any of them. These are not anonymous because they know exactly what address they sent these to. There was a lady on Glen Beck a couple of weeks ago that called the Census number and they told her they she could be fined but that they were not going to really do it. I figured they would just have to come get the money if they want it, they aren't getting any information than how many live in the household and ages. This survey asks way more than what is on the census and is not of their business and if they really want it, let them go find it themselves.

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One of these days when your great-great-great grandchildren are researching their family, these census reports will be invaluable to them. As someone who has done genealogy for over 30 years and researched my family back to the 1200's, I've grown to almost know my ancestors through census reports; their birth dates, how long they were married, how many living children they had, where their parents were born, what their occupation was, their education level, languages spoken, etc. Also the names of their children, the family members living with them, the neighbors who lived around them, and much more information than anyone could imagine. Through the census reports, you can follow their lives, ten years at a time...like a snapshot in time.

Someday in the distant future, a descendant will be searching for you.....help them to know you through these reports. 

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I fully understand the need for census records when searching for ancestors. I've used them in the past myself and will gladly comply when the census is conducted.

The survey wants to know our names only, not the names of our parents or children, what kind of heat we use, how much we paid for utilities during the last 12 months, how many vehicles we have, how long does it take DH to drive to work each day, what time of day he leaves for work, do either of us have difficulty making decisions, bathing or dressing, climbing stairs, getting to the doctors office or other appointments, how much we pay for home owner's insurance and other information that I consider non-essential for them to know. They can't make me believe that the asking price for my house would be beneficial to any future generations especially if I'm not in the market to sell. Would they believe me if I told them I wanted 1 million for my home? I'm tempted to enter that amount. The area of Spartanburg where I live (a mill village, population less than 300 outside the city limits) has had no growth to speak of since before WWII and isn't likely to have any in the future. There have been attempts to revitalize the area but all have failed miserably.

There are no major interstates in this area to draw businesses in and the ones that currently exist are struggling. The closest interstate (I-85) is several miles from where I live. I-26 and I-85 intersect on the other side of town so that's where everyone wants to be.

There are transportation services available to those who need it just a phone call away. My answers won't change this.

I suppose my problem is they are wanting information that I'm not willing to supply. My own children don't know the answers to these questions nor is it any of their business, why should I tell them to someone I don't know. My own mother would have asked me these kinds of questions and I wouldn't have told her either.

I may have to answer the questions but will I be fined for making up the answers? They didn't specify that the answers had to be the truth or require verification. It would serve them right for being so invasive.

Don't mind me, I'm just blowing off steam.

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In regards to the census, the 2010 census is going to be controlled by ACORN and the Government instead of a neutral agency, and may not be fair (Depending on who you ask). However, here is an article where a Senator refuses to fill out the census and she explains why: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/06/18/po...ry5095844.shtml

It's an interesting article. When I get our census, I'll be taking the same stance.

Note that it is illegal and a felony if you lie on the census, but there is no requirement that you must answer all the questions.

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rep. bachmann said what she said for political reasons. whatever.

ACORN will not be conducting the census. they will participate-- along with 300 organizations-- in recruiting people to apply for the 1.4 million good-paying temporary census jobs for 2010. anybody can apply. i applied in 2000 after reading a notice in the public library. you apply, take a test, maybe go through a background check. what's so sinister about this?

the first census in 1790 probed for more detail than that strictly mandated by the constitution. every census questionnaire does. big deal. i've filled out a census long form myself. all it took was a little time. the census, voting, jury duty-- all they take is a little time.

sorry to get so heated about this. i've worked for the census bureau twice in my life and my nephew works for it now. it is such a benign organization.

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I don't remember the last survey having such questions. All I remember was that it was very bland. What did they ask? I only remember something like "how many people slept at the address on this date?", maybe age, occupation sex. I'm drawing a complete blank <_<

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lynette, most households get the short form which asks about what you said. it is mostly a head count. some certain percentage of households randomly get the long form which asks more "intrusive" questions like is someone unemployed? how far do you commute? do you own or rent, etc? now, if your attitude is "i'll tell you how many bathrooms i have but then i'll have to kill you" you won't like this.

your census records are private for 70 years. that means in 2010 i can open up a record from my parents' first year of marriage. speaking of bathrooms, i remember them telling me their first house had no inside toilet at all-- just "two rooms and a path."

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