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Ben Franz
03-06-2010, 11:08 PM
So, I decided to apply for one of the temporary census jobs - maybe pay for a new machine or two or, more likely, household bills. I'm semi-retired so it will keep me from irritating my wife for a few weeks. Last week was training and this week started the real work. In rural areas, the forms are distributed in person as the address lists are verified and corrected. The first week is over and these are some of my experiences:

At the the VERY FIRST HOUSE Monday AM, I got yelled at, cursed and told about everything wrong with the government by a truly lovely lady. She then called the county sheriff to complain. They sent a deputy who caught up with me about 15 minutes later and wanted to verify my ID etc.

Later that day, I drove up a hill to a new house (not on the map and no number posted) to get some info to add the house to the lists. No answer at the door but as I was driving out, the resident came out to find out who I was carrying a rifle. He wasn't threatening me with it and turned out to be an okay sort.

I absolutely love dogs but some of them are a little hard to appreciate. We're expected to use our judgement when it comes to dogs - at one house, the fenced front yard had four dogs, all on chains. Cujo, closest to the gate, made it clear that I wasn't coming into HIS yard. Fine, I left the form on the gate and as I was walking back to the car, I heard snarling from what seemed to be uncomfortably near my posterior. Cujo had come over a four foot fence and if his chain was one foot longer I'd be telling a different story. One other, much smaller dog did nip my ankle on my boot cuff as I turned to straddle a snow drift.

We've had a fair amount of snow this year (for NM) and of course there was a storm Sunday night. Many roads are just graded earth or poorly maintained gravel and I had lots of fun driving in the mud. Even with 4WD and good tires I flirted with a few ditches. There were a few places I wouldn't even try until things dried out later in the week. Next week I'm working a very remote area with almost no housing and lots of "roads". As expected, we have rain/snow forecast for two or three days.

Nearly everyone I've talked to has been cordial and a few have been real delights to meet. New Mexicans tend to be friendlier than other places I've lived, especially outside the cities. I've run into a few grumps that were "too busy" to fill out the form in the next three or four weeks (it literally takes about 5 minutes) and an assortment of anti-government types that don't want anything to do with "uncle". I'm not complaining about any of this - it comes with the job and it's an interesting process. Just wanted to let you know what goes on.

Van Huskey
03-06-2010, 11:18 PM
Sounds interesting. Thats the kind of job I would lke to remember but never have to live. :D

Randal Stevenson
03-07-2010, 2:42 AM
When did the census, OFFICIALLY start? The reason I ask, there was a news story (locally) that a census worker, went into a womans house, and when it was done, well, it was just short of sexual asault. After that, I really expect people to be hesitant to talk to workers.

Archie Hendrick
03-07-2010, 7:33 AM
Ben,

Thanks for doing this. It's an important job and not everyone is willing to put up with the grief they'll certainly get from some disgruntled citizens.

The census worker showed up here last week and had to snowshoe in. My 800 foot drive was drifted waist deep and I wasn't planning on firing up the tractor to blow out until the following day. We had a good talk and I met a new neighbor (lives about 4 miles away as the crow flies).

Poor guy - his next stop was the next property to my north west. Unfortunately for him, it's a 3/4 mile hike through the forest in deep snow or, alternatively a 23 mile drive around the forest to get to the place. We had high winds and blowing snow, but he decided to hoof it anyway.

You're right. Takes 5 minutes to fill out the survey.

Archie

Phil Thien
03-07-2010, 8:49 AM
Are you allowed to carry pepper spray? I think I'd have some on-hand in the event that the next Cujo was on a longer chain.

Rick Moyer
03-07-2010, 8:54 AM
Are you allowed to carry pepper spray? I think I'd have some on-hand in the event that the next Cujo was on a longer chain.
Maybe for some of the residents,too! :D:D

Mike Henderson
03-07-2010, 10:03 AM
Thanks for the interesting look at a census worker. Please post more stories as you experience them.

Mike

Mitchell Andrus
03-07-2010, 10:50 AM
20 years ago a few church members and I did the homeless count for the census in our county. The police and sheriff offices told us the best places to look but not one of us found any. It was one long day that ended about 4:00am. The cops could have filled in the forms but aren't allowed to. We ended up with zeros, but we knew better.... we just can't assume that we missed them and put a 1 on the form. Kinda dumb when you think about it. The cops know some hard luck cases on a first name basis but they didn't get counted because we didn't see them. Makes you wonder....
.

Dave Johnson29
03-07-2010, 10:52 AM
Hi Ben,

Your local counterpart visited last Thursday. The front gate is about 300 feet from the house but I guess she decided discretion is the greater part of valor and hooked the form on the front gate. Pretty flakey actually as the wind was gusting to about 40-mph.

I guess with the BBD (Big Black Dog) on the loose and barking loudly up at the house and the "Beware of Dog" sign on the gate caused her to pause where she was. Smart move. It is not about loving dogs, it is about the dog loving you. :D:D

The BBD takes his security role very seriously and I suggest you be a little more cautious with unknown dogs. The BBD will let someone climb over the gate before he asserts his authority. In fact, he wags his tail, barks and almost grins in between barks to encourage climbing over the gate. :eek::D:D

Bonnie Campbell
03-07-2010, 12:43 PM
I worked the census in '90. I got bit by a 'sneak attack' German Shepard. Only good thing was that my supervisor was with as it was an 'evaluation' day for me. I DID end up getting the dog owners census filled out (LONG form to boot! :rolleyes:). Don't think he dared turn me down after his dog bit me lol

John Harden
03-07-2010, 1:58 PM
I absolutely love dogs but some of them are a little hard to appreciate.

Hilarious!!!!!!

Mark Carlson
03-07-2010, 2:37 PM
Great stories.

Zach England
03-07-2010, 3:26 PM
Can't they just mail me the form? Do I honestly have to talk to someone? Mine is pretty simple:

1 person
2 cats
4 chickens

Logan William
03-07-2010, 11:15 PM
Can't they just mail me the form? Do I honestly have to talk to someone? Mine is pretty simple:

1 person
2 cats
4 chickens


Very close to mine:

1 person
2 cats that I claim, 1 that showed up
Assorted other wildlife

Ken Fitzgerald
03-08-2010, 3:14 PM
Political discussions and comments are not allowed as per the TOSs.

Rod Sheridan
03-08-2010, 3:57 PM
Is this a Federal census or a State census?

Those were some interesting stories, it sounds like a job that leave you with some pretty long lived memories, both positive and negative.

Regards, Rod.

Ken Fitzgerald
03-08-2010, 4:06 PM
Rod,

It's a federal census that is performed every 10 years IIRC.

Greg Peterson
03-08-2010, 4:08 PM
If some guy came out of his house carrying a firearm, that would be my last day on that job. Some of these whackos get enough encouragement as it is, no point feeding their paranoia further.

Pat Germain
03-08-2010, 4:55 PM
Political discussions and comments are not allowed as per the TOSs.

I don't recall saying anything political. But, no problem. You're the moderator, Ken. :)

Glenn Clabo
03-08-2010, 5:07 PM
Pat...you simply responded to a now deleted post. It wasn't you who caused the issue...it just doesn't make sense when you leave it.

Pat Germain
03-08-2010, 5:08 PM
Pat...you simple responded to a now deleted post. It wasn't you who caused the issue.

OK. Thanks, Glenn.

Matt Ranum
03-08-2010, 6:19 PM
Around here the forms were always mailed out and if there wasn't a response from an address then people were sent out, like when I was younger and driving over the road and never home.

Isn't that how its still done?

Rick Potter
03-08-2010, 7:39 PM
I just got a letter in the mail, saying I would get another letter and form in the mail and giving me websites to go to for help.

Rick Potter

Brian Ashton
03-08-2010, 7:47 PM
Snip



Hope they give you a anti-stab and bullet proof vest for the job.

Rod Sheridan
03-09-2010, 8:38 AM
Rod,

It's a federal census that is performed every 10 years IIRC.

Thanks Ken, sounds like the one we have on about that frequency.......Rod.

Belinda Williamson
03-09-2010, 9:09 AM
I just got a letter in the mail, saying I would get another letter and form in the mail and giving me websites to go to for help.

Rick Potter

Same here. Sort of seems like a waste of money to send me a letter telling me I'm going to get a form. :rolleyes:

Dave Johnson29
03-09-2010, 10:20 AM
It's the Government Belinda, they were weaned on wasting money. :)

My letter (yes I file everything) says, "In a few days, you will receive a 2010 Census form, please fill it out and mail it in promptly."

The thing missing from the wording is "in the mail," as they are hand delivering them. They like to check on what it looks like for the number of people living in the house. I have a neighbor who is working for them. A person could get quite paranoid if one was into conspiracy theories. :)

Due to my active security, (BBD :eek: Big Black Dog :D) my form was wisely left hanging on the gate. Nothing too onerous to answer so I will be counted.

I guess you all know they are taking GPS fixes on your front door. In my case I am guessing my front gate. :D;)

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5590541
and for balance
http://2010.census.gov/2010census/privacy/common-privacy-questions.php

My form delivery was about two weeks after the letter.

Rod Sheridan
03-09-2010, 11:03 AM
I was selected for the 2006 long form census in Canada.

The long form is given to 20% of Canadians.

Here's a link to the form, I presume most of these questions are similar to the US survey under discussion.

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/ref/about-apropos/pdf/English_2B.pdf

Regards, Rod.

Chris Padilla
03-09-2010, 11:05 AM
Same here. Sort of seems like a waste of money to send me a letter telling me I'm going to get a form. :rolleyes:

Good grief! Mr. Robert M. Groves needs a lesson in wasting money...oh wait, he's got it down pat. :rolleyes:

Below his sig there we have:

Go to 2010census.gov for help completing your 2010 Census form when it arrives.

And then that is translated into: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian....

Jeff Bratt
03-09-2010, 11:31 AM
I was selected for the 2006 long form census in Canada.

The long form is given to 20% of Canadians.

There is no "long form" in the current US 10-year census. An example of the census form can be seen at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php

As many census forms as possible are delivered by mail - the cost of mailing (even two or more) letters is insignificant compared to sending a person to an address. The best way to save the census bureau money (your money) is to fill out and mail back your census form promptly.

Most any question about the 2010 US census operations can be answered at http://2010.census.gov/.

Randal Stevenson
03-09-2010, 11:34 AM
Same here. Sort of seems like a waste of money to send me a letter telling me I'm going to get a form. :rolleyes:


+1,000,000

But then again, maybe they are using the excuse "we are mailing $x" to the post office to fight off the Saturday closure thing again.

One friend of mine laughed and said, He was thinking of sending the IRS a note, stating in a few days, he will be sending in his tax return.

Rob Robinson VT
03-09-2010, 11:47 AM
One friend of mine laughed and said, He was thinking of sending the IRS a note, stating in a few days, he will be sending in his tax return.
I like the way your friend's mind works! I was nearly speechless when I opened my envelope from the Census Bureau yesterday and remain dumbfounded at the stupidity of it all . . .

Pat Germain
03-09-2010, 11:49 AM
A lot of people are completely unaware of the census. Therefore, we're all getting a letter letting us know it's coming. This makes it less likely people will get the actual census form and just throw it away. I agree it seems wasteful. But if the letter increases participation in the census even slightly, I think it's worthwhile.

Such mass mailings are very inexpensive per unit. That's why we get so much junk mail. It's cheap. :p

Paul Ryan
03-09-2010, 11:51 AM
Thanks for the interesting look at a census worker. Please post more stories as you experience them.

Mike

I would like to hear more stories as well. If you have hillbillies in NM like we do in MN it could be interesting.

I got a letter in the mail 3 weeks ago telling me to expect the census to come in the mail in about 5-10 days. Well at this point still no census.

My house security is actually a BBD dog as well. But mine is a Big Blond Dog. He will scare the heck out of you barking, but the only harm he will do is lick you to death. As soon as someone gets out of the car his tail starts wagging and is as friendly as can be. Don't know if he would be any good if it was someone that shouldn't be here.

Dave Johnson29
03-09-2010, 11:56 AM
compared to sending a person to an address. The best way to save the census bureau money (your money) is to fill out and mail back your census form promptly.


Jeff,

Not saying you are incorrect about mailing, but they ARE taking GPS readings of every house in the US. That means a person to your door so they may as well hand over the form and save the postage.

And, you can read here why there is no long form this year. :eek:

http://www.prb.org/Articles/2009/acs.aspx

Rob Robinson VT
03-09-2010, 12:07 PM
A lot of people are completely unaware of the census. Therefore, we're all getting a letter letting us know it's coming. This makes it less likely people will get the actual census form and just throw it away. I agree it seems wasteful. But if the letter increases participation in the census even slightly, I think it's worthwhile.

Such mass mailings are very inexpensive per unit. That's why we get so much junk mail. It's cheap. :p
Makes sense and I suppose it's less expensive that billboards and radio & TV advertising (which they're also doing). :rolleyes:

However, the low cost of mass mailings is a primary reason that the post office is going broke! We must get at least 30-40 pounds of catalogs and other "junk mail" every month at a cost that I can't even begin to grasp. And, unlike the "Do Not Call" registry (very effective), there doesn't seem to be any simple, convenient way to stop it. Writing to the mail order companies appears to only result in your getting on even more lists! :(

Pat Germain
03-09-2010, 12:09 PM
And, you can read here why there is no long form this year. :eek:

I remember in the last census, the long form included a question about how many toilets were in the household. Boy, did that get people steamed! Apparently, many were concerned there would be a "toilet tax" and refused to answer. I heard a census rep on the radio talking about how much trouble that toilet question caused.

Greg Peterson
03-09-2010, 12:25 PM
Yawn.

Much ado about nothing. Buy some tin foil and they won't be able to read your mind.

Google Earth already provides GPS mapping. Matching these up to street addresses will simply make GPS mapping more accurate. Countless delivery services as well as consumers will benefit from accurate mapping.

If they want to know something about you, chances are better than even they already know what they want. Privacy is a myth.

No way I would want to knock on strangers doors in the current climate. Especially in rural settings. Hats off to the brave souls willing to do this.

Dave Johnson29
03-09-2010, 12:43 PM
Countless delivery services as well as consumers will benefit from accurate mapping.

Hmmm, I thought the information gathered was to be confidential. How would the delivery services get the GPS fixes?

A lot of the mapping on Google Earth is very low resolution and worthless for locating places. I know, as my place looks like a big old dark hole in the ground. If I hadn't been able to place it relative to the highways, I would not have been able to find it. The Google road overlays are not even close to the dirt roads.

I am not worried about the Census, the GPS or the Government and I will be mailing in my form after April first. I just don't like learning of stuff that has been cloaked.

Greg Peterson
03-09-2010, 12:57 PM
Hmmm, I thought the information gathered was to be confidential. How would the delivery services get the GPS fixes?

A lot of the mapping on Google Earth is very low resolution and worthless for locating places. I know, as my place looks like a big old dark hole in the ground. If I hadn't been able to place it relative to the highways, I would not have been able to find it. The Google road overlays are not even close to the dirt roads.

I fail to see how associating a physical address with a GPS coordinate is conspiratorial, or even a private matter.

Rural areas are behind the curve on Google Earth. But for us city folk, it's a pretty valuable resource. And since most of us live in cities and towns anyway, it stands to reason out lying, rural areas are behind the curve.

Dave Johnson29
03-09-2010, 1:31 PM
I fail to see how associating a physical address with a GPS coordinate is conspiratorial

Cloaked: I was referring to the long form and the ACS. I had already stated I had no problem with the GPS and short form.

Zach England
03-09-2010, 4:09 PM
A lot of people are completely unaware of the census. Therefore, we're all getting a letter letting us know it's coming. This makes it less likely people will get the actual census form and just throw it away. I agree it seems wasteful. But if the letter increases participation in the census even slightly, I think it's worthwhile.

Such mass mailings are very inexpensive per unit. That's why we get so much junk mail. It's cheap. :p

...and there was that superbowl commercial...that was money well spent

Rob Robinson VT
03-09-2010, 5:25 PM
...and there was that superbowl commercial...that was money well spent
Hopefully (for our sake, since we ultimately paid the bill) they got a remnant deal on it as there was an awful lot of unsold time slots on the stuporbowl this year. My better half is in the large scale media buying biz and there were tons of bargains for those folks who had ads ready and the money to place them.

Bonnie Campbell
03-09-2010, 6:53 PM
If you chuck it in the trash instead of mailing it in, I guarantee you'll be having visitors knocking to try getting it (over and over and over). I don't think when I did the census work back in 90 that everyone got one in the mail, even known addresses. Our main visits were to ones that didn't return the form. I understand people not wanting to answer all the questions, especially the old form they used to have. I would tell people I had to interview right from the start "If you feel uncomfortable giving me your answer, we'll skip it'. And I did have some questions left blank. Other people wanted to run digging all through their personal papers to make sure they gave me correct responses. To each their own.

After the census I had a person come up to me in a store and say 'Hi'. I had NO idea who they were. Ended up it was someone I'd done a long form on. I'd told them I had a mind like a sieve lol That's the kind of people they should have getting that information..... in one ear, down the pencil and out of mind.

Jim Terrill
03-09-2010, 7:15 PM
However, the low cost of mass mailings is a primary reason that the post office is going broke!

Actually I read something once that if all junk mail and catalogs were out of the mail stream, it would cost close to $4 to send a letter, the junk mail subsidizes the cost of the transportation of "good" mail.

Chris Padilla
03-09-2010, 8:01 PM
Interesting, Jim. I once asked our postlady if she could NOT deliver all the ad papers I immediately chuck once received and she said, "No. We have to deliver these; there is no way to opt out of getting them. Sorry." I think I understand why now!

Heck, if it cost $4 to mail a letter, there wouldn't be many letters mailed I'm pretty sure. There is only so much you can increase the cost of something before you start to lose customers....

Randal Stevenson
03-09-2010, 9:11 PM
Interesting, Jim. I once asked our postlady if she could NOT deliver all the ad papers I immediately chuck once received and she said, "No. We have to deliver these; there is no way to opt out of getting them. Sorry." I think I understand why now!


There is a junk mail opt out, like the do not call list, but it won't get everything (by a longshot). It has been YEARS since I used it (now get mostly local ads, like neighborhood hardware stores and restaurants).

That said, I joked with an old letter carrier, that I wanted to add a second "mailbox", for junk mail. A trash can with a lid at the base of the mailbox. He said it was a good idea.

Neal Clayton
03-09-2010, 9:12 PM
In rural areas, the forms are distributed in person as the address lists are verified and corrected. The first week is over and these are some of my experiences:

At the the VERY FIRST HOUSE Monday AM, I got yelled at, cursed and told about everything wrong with the government by a truly lovely lady. She then called the county sheriff to complain. They sent a deputy who caught up with me about 15 minutes later and wanted to verify my ID etc.

Later that day, I drove up a hill to a new house (not on the map and no number posted) to get some info to add the house to the lists. No answer at the door but as I was driving out, the resident came out to find out who I was carrying a rifle. He wasn't threatening me with it and turned out to be an okay sort.



i always find it quite funny that the people who have seen the least of the world are the foremost experts on everything they think is wrong with it.

Jeff Bratt
03-09-2010, 10:59 PM
Google Earth already provides GPS mapping. Matching these up to street addresses will simply make GPS mapping more accurate. Countless delivery services as well as consumers will benefit from accurate mapping.

Personal census data - including mapping information - is not shared with any other government agency. Only aggregate totals are released. If you want to be paranoid about government agencies, the Census Bureau is the last one you should worry about. There are Supreme Court rulings that back up their strict "Don't Tell" policy.


Not saying you are incorrect about mailing, but they ARE taking GPS readings of every house in the US.

The census mapping operations are long over - completed in 2009.

Greg Pavlov
03-10-2010, 1:31 AM
.....However, the low cost of mass mailings is a primary reason that the post office is going broke! .....
Mass mailings have been the postal service's bread and butter for a long time and the drop in the volume of that mail that is one of the bigger revenue problems it is having now.

Greg Pavlov
03-10-2010, 1:33 AM
Hopefully (for our sake, since we ultimately paid the bill) they got a remnant deal on it as there was an awful lot of unsold time slots on the stuporbowl this year. My better half is in the large scale media buying biz and there were tons of bargains for those folks who had ads ready and the money to place them.
How do we ultimately pay the bill any more than we pay for *every* advertisers' bill? If you are saying that the post office is funded by the federal gov't, do you know how much federal money it gets each year?

Glenn Clabo
03-10-2010, 5:08 AM
First of all...
Taxpayers covered 23.3% of postal costs in 1971. A subsidy of that level in 2007 would have been approximately $16.9 billion. But direct subsidies to the USPS were phased out between 1972 and 1982. Today the USPS is funded entirely by revenues from postage.

Also...
CBS Corp. said it sold out of ads for the Super Bowl on Monday at average prices that are better than last year, with some 30-second spots topping $3 million apiece.

CBS said the final spot sold Monday morning, six days before kickoff.

That's a few days ahead of schedule. Last year, NBC still had two 30-second spots remaining two days before the game as the economy was mired in a recession, and announced only on the eve of the game that it sold out a total 69 spots.

CBS said last month it was selling 62 spots, but that grew over time and the final number of spots is "very close" to what NBC sold last year, said spokesman Dana McClintock. The network provided no further details on prices.

"We're happy campers over here," said Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales at CBS.

Belinda Williamson
03-10-2010, 8:34 AM
There is no "long form" in the current US 10-year census. An example of the census form can be seen at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php


Actually there is a long form, with fines up to $5,000 for not answering all the questions. The ACS is part of the 2010 census program.

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/CT_%20answers.pdf

Ken Fitzgerald
03-10-2010, 9:27 AM
Received a PM from the OP. This thread has really drifted off topic and as suggested to me...I've closed it.

Chris Padilla
03-10-2010, 3:39 PM
Imagine that...a topic in the Off-Topic Forum...drifting.........off topic!! ;)