Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Confused about the 2010 Census

Everywhere you look there's someone telling us to mail back our Census form. The official Census website says to "mail it back TODAY" so it seems like they want it now. They even have a map showing current participation rates. As of today, March 25th, the national participation rate is 20%.

Here's where I get confused.

The Census form actually says: "The Census must count every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010." The first question asks "How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?" The second question asks "Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2020 that you did not include in Question 1?"

So, can 20% of households predict the future?

It appears that the Census Bureau is happy to have those forms already submitted but how can they possibly all be accurate come April 1st? The form says not to include anyone in a nursing home, jail, prison, etc. I guess we can all assume no one in our household will be in one of those facilities any time soon but can we know that for sure? Can we be absolutely sure that no one will have to move in with us between now and April 1st? For that matter, how many people die in this country everyday? How can we guarantee someone will be alive on April 1st?

I've often had to wonder if an ancestor's Census record really reflected the household composition as of the Census date so maybe I'm just a stickler for details. Regardless, I'm waiting until April 2nd to complete my form and mail it back.


  1. My thoughts exactly Linda. What if a baby just pops out tomorrow (no matter how unlikely). It wouldn't be recorded if I had already sent in my census form.

  2. I'm with you, too! Mine is sitting on my desk, waiting to be filled out on April 2nd.

  3. I'm also waiting until the 1st comes! Not only that, but my college daughter is coming home for Easter weekend that day. So I'm counting her, even if she is returning to school after the weekend.

  4. An actual possibility, because it has happened to me in the past:

    What if there is a storm in the community, and a relative's power goes out, but the power remains on where I am, so I offer them shelter, or vice versa?

  5. I turned mine in already. I'm keeping the doors locked until April 1st so nobody can get in and invalidate my census. :)