Sunday, December 13, 2009

American Community Survey

I received my survey in the mail a few days ago and have been mulling it over ever since. At this point I am leaning towards not filling it out. The questionnaire comes with a little pamphlet that portends to tell you why it is so important that you don't simply throw it in the trash. For instance it is used to determine your representation in the House of Representatives and is used for State redistricting purposes. This by the way is the only use outlined by law. It then goes on to say that it is used for the purposes of deciding where new schools and hospitals will be built. No it doesn't. First of all schools are decided on by the local school boards and hospitals are built by private entities. Unless of course our government is planning to take over both sectors of our workforce.

All that is fine and dandy, but all they really need to know is number of people in the house. Perhaps the sex of those living in the house and the ages. That is all, perhaps it would be good to know ethnicity, but I don't see the need.

Question to which I take exception:
House Hold Info:
#1 First and Last Name
Housing:
#1 What best describes this building? (mobile home, single family, apartment, etc)
#2 When was it built?
#3 When did you move in?
#4 How many acres?
#5 What were last year's agricultural sales from the land?
#6 How many rooms?
#8 Is there; hot water, flush toilet, tub or shower, stove, refrigerator, telephone?
#9 How many vehicles are kept at this home?
#10 What fuel do you use for heating?
#11 What is your electric/gas/water/other heating bills?
#12 Did anyone in your house receive food assistance last year?
#13 How much is your condominium fee?
#14 Do you own your home?
#15 How much is your rent?
#16 What is your dwelling worth?
#17 What are your property taxes?
#18 How much is your home owners insurance?
#19 Do you have a mortgage?
#20 Do you have a second mortgage?
PERSON 1:
#7 Where were you born?
#8 Are you a citizen?
#10 Have you attended school or college in the past 3 months?
#11 Education level?
#14 Does this person speak a language other than English?
#15 Previous address?
#16 Does this person have health insurance?
#17 Difficulty hearing or seeing?
#18 Have any physical, emotional, or mental conditions?
#19 Marital status?
#29 Last week did this person work for pay at a job?
#30 Where?
#31 How does this person get to work?
#32 How many people ride to work in the same vehicle?
#33 What time did this person leave for work?
#34 How long does it take to get there?
#41 What type of business did this person work in? (private, non-profit, Gov't, self)
#46 What were this persons duties at work?
#47 What was your income last year?

These are certainly not all the questions that are no business of the government, only the most egregious. A single individual would answer 72 very personal questions if they filled out this questionnaire. Am I the only whack job that has a problem with this? These questions do not serve the purpose of the census as described in the constitution.

Article 1; Section 2; Clause three of the constitution outlines that the census be taken every ten years for the purpose of determining the number of people living in each state. Here is the text if you wish to read it.

5 comments:

Mookie said...

#5: $3.2 billion
#6: no to all but stove, which is dung burning
#10: see answer to #6
#12: Old Lady McCracken from down the road brought over some fresh veggies in the early part of fall
#13: Which condo, the one on 13th st, or the one on Intrusion avenue?
Person 1
#8: Probably not...never bothered to look into that stuff after hiking down from Canada
#11: Just learned to read and write on a chalkboard this year.
#17: Depends on how far away I am
#19: Depends on the day, somedays the status is good, other days, I'm in the doghouse
#29: I paid for the privilege to work on some projects
#30: Not sure, I was blindfolded after being picked up by a guy in a truck at the local Lowe's, and also on the way back.
#32: I could make out about 15 voices, but it sounded like spanish.
#47: I paid my employer $47,000 so I could do labor for him, all in cash.

renaissanceguy said...

My wife has the exact same view as you.

I, on the other hand, have a slightly different view. As a family history researcher, I consider some of the personal information that you eschew very helpful data for future researchers. I have been very glad for such personal information on census reports, because it has helped me pin down the identity of a particular ancestor or learn some interesting things about them.

Do I think that the current census has too many questions? Yes. Would I limit it to just the number of people living in each house, no. I would accept something in between the two extremes.

All In said...

Rguy. If the census were optional I wouldn't care what they put on it. However, since it is mandated by law, don't you think we should follow the spirit of the law.

American Elephant said...

I'm with Jay. Fortunately I haven't gotten one yet.

Democrats are also spending heinous amounts of money to advertise the census. (I think 140 million or something in that order) They are spending something like 80 million on advertisements in Spanish and other languages and only 60 million on ads in English.

Thats the one number I am sure of -- they are spending 20 million MORE on non-english ads than on ads in English.

Oh, did I mention that Democrats blocked all Republican attempts to have census workers ask if people were legal residents?

Mookie said...

So, in my security work, some of the buildings we cover have multiple businesses within them. One particular building holds the local census 2010 office in it.

It is way out on the edge of town, it is alarmed, but relatively little police presence. Any particular requests for a lowly security guard's childish antics?