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Author Topic: 2010 US Census
Lisa
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsDhkPym01k

Remember, you aren't obligated to give them any information at all. Even if you want to help them count people, you don't need to do more than tell them how many people live there.

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TomDavidson
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But, of course, it's generally helpful to tell them things like how much you're paying for utilities, so that studies which rely on Census Bureau data don't undercount the bizarrely paranoid.
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Lyrhawn
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No, you don't have to tell them.

But that information can be invaluable in a number of ways, from helping government decide what laws and policies to enact in order to better help people, to being a treasure trove of data for historians to use in countless ways.

As someone who has slogged my way through census data in the past, I can tell you that it's full of incomplete information, largely due to the limitations of collection efforts, and the refusal of people to answer questions. What IS there is often very helpful, depending on the question being asked, but lack of information is a constant thorn in the sides of historians. If people refuse to answer more than just a number of people in the house, it becomes very hard to determine shifts in population or income levels, or a number of other valuable things.

It also can have detrimental effects on funding levels for social welfare programs, and in the case of race, could potentially (though this is a rare instance) have an effect on the outcome of a gerrymandering case.

Are you afraid of something specific Lisa, or is a principled stand?

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katharina
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If you want to be ignored, discounted, and treated as if you don't exist, by all means, give as little information as possible.

The people who do give information - which is not attached to your name - will thank you.

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Xann.
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When I worker doing surveys over the phone I was amazed by how many people would not answer simple questions when I told them we had no way of knowing who they were, just gathering information.

"I don't think I want to tell you that"
"that's alright, but I would like to remind you we have no way of linking the information to you, we don't even record your number"
"Oh well my number is .......!"
"Well that's fine, but I just needed to know if you have been fishing in the past month."

That was straight from a notebook I have labeled, "Why I couldn't take it anymore."

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Ace of Spades
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
If you want to be ignored, discounted, and treated as if you don't exist...

I'm a white, male Republican. I'm used to it.
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The White Whale
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[Roll Eyes]
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Lyrhawn
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::snort::
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But that information can be invaluable in a number of ways, from helping government decide what laws and policies to enact in order to better help people, to being a treasure trove of data for historians to use in countless ways.

...

It also can have detrimental effects on funding levels for social welfare programs...

I just want to observe that the quoted text demonstrates a fundamental difference between your outlook and the outlook of the fellow in the video (and, I suspect, Lisa). Your argument isn't going to carry much weight if the people you're talking to think that government shouldn't be enacting laws and policies in an attempt to help people in the first place.
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Lyrhawn
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Well, two things there.

1. I'm actually equally invested in the historical argument. Census data is invaluable in historical studies, and the less of it there is, the more incomplete the picture, the harder it is for us to understand our own past, and the fewer tools we have moving forward in understanding the consequences of our actions. By itself I find that a valuable enough reason to give generously of personal information. It's not like they're asking for credit card passwords.

2. Yes, I recognize that, but I'm not necessarily arguing against Lisa and YouTube Man, I'm presenting another argument to the people they might be addressing. If someone comes along and says "Oy, you there, don't give the Census any information, the government is out to steal your private info and they don't have the right!" The person might thing "Well gee, I guess they don't have the right, and it's no skin off my nose, so why not?" Then my arguing "Well actually, if you fall into a number of different categories, it could actually do any number of harms and injustices to you," is very much of value.

Arguing in a public forum, I'm okay with this line of argument. In a one on one conversation with Lisa or YouTube Man, I'd probably shy away from that argument, or I might ask what value they think there is in convincing people to shortchange themselves when the programs they're basically withdrawing themselves from aren't going anywhere as a result of refusing to give their information. It strikes me as a pretty cruel exhortation that might prey on the ignorance of some who are most in need.

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Rakeesh
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Lisa, do you imagine the people who you're afraid of having the information you wouldn't give on the census don't have it already? In your view of government, is there even a chance of that?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Ace of Spades:
quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
If you want to be ignored, discounted, and treated as if you don't exist...

I'm a white, male Republican. I'm used to it.
yes, we all know that the statuses 'white' and 'male' definitely come with their fair share of cultural disposession and create additional hurdles for anyone so afflicted with these beneficial cultural majority statuses oh wait
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Lyrhawn
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Samp, you're a liberal, how would you know what those poor conservative white males go through on a daily basis?
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Well, two things there.

1. I'm actually equally invested in the historical argument. Census data is invaluable in historical studies, and the less of it there is, the more incomplete the picture, the harder it is for us to understand our own past, and the fewer tools we have moving forward in understanding the consequences of our actions. By itself I find that a valuable enough reason to give generously of personal information. It's not like they're asking for credit card passwords.

2. Yes, I recognize that, but I'm not necessarily arguing against Lisa and YouTube Man, I'm presenting another argument to the people they might be addressing. If someone comes along and says "Oy, you there, don't give the Census any information, the government is out to steal your private info and they don't have the right!" The person might thing "Well gee, I guess they don't have the right, and it's no skin off my nose, so why not?" Then my arguing "Well actually, if you fall into a number of different categories, it could actually do any number of harms and injustices to you," is very much of value.

Arguing in a public forum, I'm okay with this line of argument. In a one on one conversation with Lisa or YouTube Man, I'd probably shy away from that argument, or I might ask what value they think there is in convincing people to shortchange themselves when the programs they're basically withdrawing themselves from aren't going anywhere as a result of refusing to give their information. It strikes me as a pretty cruel exhortation that might prey on the ignorance of some who are most in need.

To your first point, I realized that. That's why I tried to excise most of that from my quote (I realize I left part of it in, in the interest of not butchering a sentence halfway through). I felt you made two valid points, but one of them clearly would have no effect on Lisa/the Youtube guy. Or, I suppose, me. The historical angle was a separate issue, and one I definitely think has merit. I don't know if Lisa would care, but at the very least I don't know she wouldn't. If that makes sense. Double negatives. Yikes.

To your second point... I'll grant you that there's merit in providing arguments that could be persuasive to third-party observers.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
When I worker doing surveys over the phone I was amazed by how many people would not answer simple questions when I told them we had no way of knowing who they were, just gathering information.
If you send me your bank, credit card, and social security numbers, I won't record them. I promise. [Wink]
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But that information can be invaluable in a number of ways, from helping government decide what laws and policies to enact in order to better help people, to being a treasure trove of data for historians to use in countless ways.

And if you don't want the government to be in the business of helping people?

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As someone who has slogged my way through census data in the past, I can tell you that it's full of incomplete information, largely due to the limitations of collection efforts, and the refusal of people to answer questions. What IS there is often very helpful, depending on the question being asked, but lack of information is a constant thorn in the sides of historians. If people refuse to answer more than just a number of people in the house, it becomes very hard to determine shifts in population or income levels, or a number of other valuable things.

Oh, well.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
It also can have detrimental effects on funding levels for social welfare programs,

Lyrhawn, you should adapt your responses to the person you're responding to. Honestly, social welfare programs?

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
and in the case of race, could potentially (though this is a rare instance) have an effect on the outcome of a gerrymandering case.

Actually, the purpose of the census is to determine how many representatives we get in Congress. Except that we don't get the Constitutionally mandated number of representatives anyway, so I'm not sure what the point is.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Are you afraid of something specific Lisa, or is a principled stand?

The latter.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
If you want to be ignored, discounted, and treated as if you don't exist, by all means, give as little information as possible.

The people who do give information - which is not attached to your name - will thank you.

I've been working on my family tree since June. It's gotten ginormous, and a lot of that is due to old census pages. So I can see how they can be useful, but that doesn't justify the government poking into our lives.

And the information on those pages absolutely is attached to your name. Just because they also issue aggregated results without names doesn't mean that the information isn't in the databases by name.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Lisa, do you imagine the people who you're afraid of having the information you wouldn't give on the census don't have it already? In your view of government, is there even a chance of that?

Oh, certainly. I'm sure that most of it exists in separate databases. I just don't feel like helping it be aggregated in a way that's unnecessarily invasive.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Lyrhawn, you should adapt your responses to the person you're responding to. Honestly, social welfare programs?
As I've said in subsequent posts, I wasn't just addressing you. But even if I was just addressing you, I'd say it's mighty callous to tell people not to participate in programs that can help them just because it gives your principles a warm fuzzy feeling. You might not think it is the business of government to help people, but these programs exist, and they do help people, sometimes they're vital to survival, and you want people to act in ways that could be detrimentally harmful, and which doesn't affect you at all (except to save you money I suppose), and in which you only provide them some of information necessary to make an informed decision. I think that's not only dishonest, it's heartless, and selfish.

quote:
Actually, the purpose of the census is to determine how many representatives we get in Congress. Except that we don't get the Constitutionally mandated number of representatives anyway, so I'm not sure what the point is.
Gerrymandering is directly related to proportional Congressional representation, so tell me how it's not related. And I'm curious as to how you don't get the Constitutionally mandated number.

quote:
The latter.
I can respect that as your reason. I have less respect for exhorting others to withhold information without presenting a balance of what positive outcomes there are from giving said information.
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Samprimary
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The video in the OP is .. I can't help but think of it as cute. He seems like the kind of fellow who is also prone to object to the suspicious use of fluoride in the drinking water.
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0Megabyte
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"And if you don't want the government to be in the business of helping people?"

Are there no poor houses? No orphanages?

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AvidReader
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Are there? I mean, I get the quote and its point, but haven't we dropped both in favor of government assistance, temporary shelters, and foster care?

Scrooge today might have to ask that we rebuild the poorhouses and orphanages. [Angst]

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DarkKnight
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quote:
He seems like the kind of fellow who is also prone to object to the suspicious use of fluoride in the drinking water.
A few years ago an older gentleman who was convinced that the fluoride in the water was causing his bad health and refused to drink tap water, even filtered because of the mega-dose of fluoride. He became even more furious a few months later when I showed him the current newspaper article about the city wanting to start putting fluoride in the water...
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School4ever
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Did you actually look at the questions they are going to ask? They are clearly posted online. The questions cover name, race, gender, how many people live in your home and if the home is owned with a loan, owned outright, or rented (no questions on amount of loan). What is your phone number in case of questions. That's it. There is no long form this year.

I was horribly disappointed with the lack of questions. I do genealogical research, and the answers to questions have given me insight and understanding of my ancestors.

Census questions I have no idea where this guy is getting his information from.

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The White Whale
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quote:
He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!

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Ace of Spades
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quote:
God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids.

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The White Whale
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Beat ya! [Big Grin]
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Ace of Spades
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Actually I was responding to your post.
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The White Whale
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Ah, never mind.

*Shakes hands*

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Actually, the purpose of the census is to determine how many representatives we get in Congress. Except that we don't get the Constitutionally mandated number of representatives anyway, so I'm not sure what the point is.
Gerrymandering is directly related to proportional Congressional representation, so tell me how it's not related. And I'm curious as to how you don't get the Constitutionally mandated number.
http://article.nationalreview.com/409138/we-need-a-bigger-house/jonah-goldberg
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TomDavidson
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*nod* In this, I actually agree with Lisa and Goldberg. I think a much larger House would go a long way towards solving many problems. There are a number of logistical hurdles, of course, involved in having a House of over 5,000 people, but I actually think that creative solutions for a few of those might in themselves be answers to some of our problems.
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Lyrhawn
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I don't really see it solving all that much. For the last 30 years or so, and especially in the last 10, gridlock hasn't come from the House, it has come from the Senate.
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Lisa
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You say that like it's a bad thing.
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AvidReader
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I've been working on my family tree since June. It's gotten ginormous, and a lot of that is due to old census pages.

If you don't mind me asking, where did you get the census data? It keeps looking like I have to pay Ancestry.com or go to a library if I want to see the part with the names and not just tables. Is that it, or is there another option I missed?
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Lisa
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I did a free trial at Ancestry first, but then I ponied up. I pulled a huge amount of info when I was just on the free trial. If you're good at searching, 2 weeks is a long time.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I did a free trial at Ancestry first, but then I ponied up. I pulled a huge amount of info when I was just on the free trial. If you're good at searching, 2 weeks is a long time.

I've been quite impressed that you've put so much effort into your genealogy Lisa. It's something I feel like sitting down and getting to work on from time to time, but I'd have to figure out what my aunt (a voracious genealogist) has already done.

Found any particularly interesting family in your work?

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
You say that like it's a bad thing.

The whole "government that governs least governs best thing" only REALLY works when problems are handed off.

Like, if the government says "we're getting out of the retirement business, so here's your social security money back, figure it out yourself."

That probably sounds like something a libertarian would love to hear. But when it doesn't work is when the system is fundamentally flawed, and the government is so gridlocked that they can't solve the problem. So they do nothing. You might think it's a great thing for the government to collapse and for millions of people, mostly the elderly, to slowly sink into poverty and die of starvation (you know, a return to the pre-Social Security glory days that you may long for), but I have to imagine even the most callous Libertarian doesn't want to see a return to less government done that way. If we were to do it, we'd need to divest ourselves from government in a controlled manner.

Having government implode on itself is messy. And it quite literally can kill people. Sometimes gridlock is good because it stops bad legislation from going through. And sometimes it's devastating because it stops absolutely vital, or just plain RIGHT legislation from going through. I can't imagine you were a fan of the intentional gridlock that held back civil rights legislation for so long.

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andi330
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The 10 questions:
1. How many people live here as of 4/1/2010?
2. Were there any other people staying here as of 4/1/2010?
3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home: owned by you or someone else in the household with a mortgage or loan? owned by you or someone else in the household free and clear? Rented? Occupied without payment or rent?
4. What is your phone number incase we don't understand some of your answers.
For each person in the household please provide the following information:
5. Name: First, Last, MI
6. Gender
7. Age as of 4/1/2010 and date of birth.
8. Is person x of hispanic, latino, or spanish origin?
9. What is person x's race?
10. Does person x sometimes live somewhere else?

By the way, regardless of what the guy in the youtube video (edit) and many people in this thread above said, you are required by law to respond to the census.

Here is a link to the FAQ section of the census bureau and a link to the actual census law Title 13, including possible penalties for failing to answer the questions. You can be fined anywhere from $100 to $5000 for failing to answer census questions.

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Omega M.
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I'm just wondering; have people sent their Census forms back already? The form says to give how many people are living in your house on April 1, so I don't know if you're supposed to wait until then to mail it.
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andi330
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I'm sending mine back now because the information isn't going to change for me between now and then, so there's no reason to wait.
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Lisa
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I got mine in the mail. And it says I'm legally required to fill it out and return it. Which of course is making it hard for me to even open it. Screw them.
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andi330
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Just be prepared to pay the fine if you don't.
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Alcon
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Yeah, I'm going to send mine back as soon as I have a chance to get to a mailbox.
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Strider
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Lisa, is this a new disgust you with the census, or have you been rallying against it for years?
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MattP
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I doubt anyone will actually be prosecuted for not filling in their census. Still, it seems like a silly place to make a stand. The information being gathered is already readily available to the government agencies that you might be paranoid about having it. With $15-$20 and your home address I can gather all of the information requested in the census form and much much more. Government agencies have unlimited access to these same databases. Heck, 15 years ago when I was taking orders for Sears Catalog for not much more than minimum wage, *I* had unlimited access to those databases.

The census collects it separately because they are insulated from those other agencies and because they are currently required to do a direct count rather than merely assembling data from existing databases.

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katharina
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I mailed mine yesterday morning.

As for refusing to fill it out: Everyone has a right to be stupid.

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andi330
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I don't think anyone will be prosecuted either, nothing in the documents I linked to indicated that. However, it is a possibility, and perhaps even likely, that if you fail to respond you will be fined. That is in the title 13 information. You don't have to be prosecuted to be fined for something.
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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by andi330:
I don't think anyone will be prosecuted either, nothing in the documents I linked to indicated that. However, it is a possibility, and perhaps even likely, that if you fail to respond you will be fined. That is in the title 13 information. You don't have to be prosecuted to be fined for something.

I meant "prosecuted" in a broad sense that included levying fines.
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MattP
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If you don't send it back or fill it out completely, that will prompt a personal visit from census takers. If you dodge them, they will come back multiple times. If you object to government waste, the prudent thing to do would be to send it in the mail before these expensive follow-up procedures are invoked.
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Rakeesh
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Yeah! Why should a representative form of government do things such as make note of where its people are so it can determine which regions get more representatives, or have some idea what the racial background of people across the country is?!

It's a conspiracy is what it is!

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