American Community Survey, let's discuss

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
American Community Survey, let's discuss
143
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 12:31am

Hi. I lurk a bit here, I'm more active in other parts of ivillage, but I thought this might be the place for my debate.

Like other Americans, I filled out my census this year. Since I find most of the questions intrusive and none of anyone's business, I only filled out what I was required to, by law. Namely, my name and the number of people who live in my home. (Two adults, one child). I was visited by a census worker, 4 times, and had about half a dozen phone calls from her, too. I reiterated that there were 2 adults and one child living here, and that was all the information I was going to give her.

So... a few days ago I received a notice in the mail that I was "randomly selected" to take part in the American Community Survey. Oh, and that BY LAW I HAVE TO take part in it, or I can be fined.

(Upon further research, I have found that over a period of some years, everyone is "randomly selected", and that no one has been fined since either the late 60s or early 70s, depending on the source.)

I don't know if any of you have gotten this FOURTEEN PAGE booklet, but I'll post a link at the bottom of this so you can see the questions. There's stuff in there I wouldn't tell my best friends... "What time does person A leave to go to work", and, "How much is your mortgage", among others... seriously, read the questions.

After doing some more research, I've found that I can be, (and will be), harassed by phone calls and visits and people taking GPS monitoring of my front door. From what I've read, this will go on for at least 90 days.

And there's the threat of the fine if I don't answer questions, or if I answer falsely.

Has anyone else gotten one of these surveys? What did you do?

I'm not filling it out. If someone shows up at my door, I will tell them to leave or I will call the police.

Now, please look at this survey and tell me, would you fill it out? If not, would you pay the fine (I've read it's anywhere from $100 to $5000.)

Here's the survey:
http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS-1%28info%29%282010%29%20Stateside%20English_web.pdf

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 12:48am
I'd fill it out...no problem. Since there are only three of us living in my house, it would be a relatively quick task.

~OPAL~

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:06am

I've read that it goes out to 3 million a year, so I guess while everyone isn't sent one there's a good chance their household will receive one at some point.

We've recently scrapped our long census form here:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/census/article/830206 .

I'm looking forward to reading the thread, thanks :) The privacy vs information-based policy issue is interesting to me.

Kate

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:07am

So you're fine with giving that info? You actually read some of the questions?

Because of a physical, mental, or emotional
condition, does this person have difficulty
doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s
office or shopping?

What time did this person usually leave home
to go to work LAST WEEK?

LAST WEEK, was this person TEMPORARILY
absent from a job or business?

How much is the regular monthly
mortgage payment on THIS property?

IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, what was
the cost of water and sewer for this
house, apartment, or mobile home?

SERIOUSLY? That's not anyone's business. I'm not filling out that form. Three people live here. One is a minor. Any other information is not anything anyone needs to know. For ANY reason.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:10am

I think it's pretty interesting, too. I don't know ANYONE who would be comfortable giving out that amount of information.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:22am
Some of it I can understand why they ask, for ex., in re: to if many in an area would benefit from homecare or meals-on-wheels assistance, or other policy/demographically based program decisions. But the questions on that form seem more detailed than what I recall answering here (I'll have to check though).
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:34am
No...I have no problem answering those questions. Like I said, there are only three of us here in my house, so it would be really easy for me. If you don't want to answer, just don't. My feeling is that the people on Facebook probably know more about their clientele than could be garnered by the census.

~OPAL~

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:36am
Yes...and demographic information about a geographic area helps to determine need/distance for highway calculations as well as the type of potential patient loads for hospitals, etc.

~OPAL~

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2003
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:38am

I had a good chuckle when a relative went on a tirade about the census on Facebook last year, a relative who regularly post details about her children and blogs about her life.

Anne

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 1:45am

I think it's an invasion of privacy. Actually, if you get right down to the nitty gritty, I think it's a violation of the 4th Amendment... "prohibits government search and seizure of private information without a court warrant based on probable cause..."

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I an anarchist, or even all that private, but MANDATING I give this information over to the government is just a little too much.

I was counted, I sent in my census form and I filled it out accurately. Three people, one a minor, live in this home. And that's all anyone needs to know.

I'm not scared of a fine, nor will I pay it, but the government doesn't have a very good track record as far as keeping private information private. Heck, didn't a bunch of census laptops go missing a few years ago?

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Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 4:54am
So don't answer it, and if the government hassles you, call the ACLU for legal assistance.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell

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