PDA

View Full Version : Census Worker - Now Retired



Ben Franz
03-20-2010, 1:33 PM
Thought I'd post an update on the temp job I described a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday was the final day of the initial form delivery and address verification operation. I spent three weeks driving around trying to find houses and match up addresses to the computer generated lists and maps. The group I started with finished our area in the first week and a half (east of Albuquerque in a mixed mountain/prairie terrain) and I was asked to go to the Pecos - Las Vegas (NM) area northeast of Santa Fe. A combination of personnel problems, difficult weather and terrain had put that group behind schedule. Workers with 4WD vehicles were given the chance to fill in.

The good news was: no more serious dog encounters, no more firearms displayed, and a chance to visit a beautiful part of the state. The residents tend to be long term, older families rather than the transplant heavy urban areas. I met an older man splitting wood outside his very "rustic" house in a remote valley. He told me that the area used to have 4-500 residents (mostly ranchers, etc.) and that he had been born in the house. I was walking the "road" since the mud was so bad I didn't want to risk driving down the hill - he said if I got stuck he would pull me out. He had the biggest billy goat I've ever seen running around loose - I thought it was a small horse at first. Almost to a person, the people I met were pleasant, helpful and seemed to appreciate the process.

The bad news: MUD!!!! El Nino has delivered a lot of weather to NM this year. Everyone is glad for the moisture but I just wish it would hurry up and soak into aquifers. While it's on the surface, the unpaved roads can become a nightmare. Several workers got stuck (one for 2 days before he could get someone to pull him out). I was only bogged down for 3 hours less than 100' from a packed surface. Many of the roads in higher elevations are closed by the Forest Service or just impassable due to snow.

There were a lot of comments earlier about mail vs. personal distribution of census forms. The in-person operation is used in rural areas where the address system is unreliable. Most urban and suburban areas get their forms by mail. I was amazed at the randomness of property designations - most of the roads I worked were unmarked and few houses had any form of number displayed. How expensive is it to buy some of those red and white numbers for a fence post or gate? The numbering system seems to have been revised several times over and adjacent houses often have numbers that are completely unrelated to each other and even different road names. The GPS mapping project last year was part of a pilot program to evaluate hand-held computer/GPS units for future usage. The current system is very labor intensive and paper based. Most rural areas turned out to be a puzzle - I had to drive the whole area until I found a house number that matched the map and the description (if any) on the list or could find someone home that could verify an address. Then, I could work backwards to match up other houses and figure out which ones weren't listed or which listings were incorrect. It was interesting but somewhat tedious. I don't think I'd sign up again.

Norris Randall
03-20-2010, 1:43 PM
I heard about a Census Worker that had gotten the father's and mother's information and said: "now I need the names and ages of all you children."

Mom said; " Well there's Bill & Bob - the twins they are 18 and there's Mary & Martha the twins they are 16 AND there's Sam & Sally the twins they are 14..."

Census Worker said; "Goodness did you get twins every time?"

Mom said; " Heavens NO hundreds of time we didn't get nothing!"

Bruce Page
03-20-2010, 1:58 PM
Ben, thanks for taking on the task. I remember what a pain it was to find an address up near Mora, NM one time. I canít imagine trying to find multiple addresses.

I filled out ours last night and put it in the mail this morning. It was painless.

Joe Pelonio
03-20-2010, 2:15 PM
Ben, thanks for taking on the task. I remember what a pain it was to find an address up near Mora, NM one time. I can’t imagine trying to find multiple addresses.

I filled out ours last night and put it in the mail this morning. It was painless.
Did you read it? The form ask you how many people were living there on April 10th (at least mine did). That means if you send it in before then it may not be accurate. Even though it also says to fill out and mail back immediately.:confused:

I filled mine out too, but decided to wait to mail it. You'd think someone would have proofed the form.

Bruce Page
03-20-2010, 2:46 PM
Did you read it? The form ask you how many people were living there on April 10th (at least mine did). That means if you send it in before then it may not be accurate. Even though it also says to fill out and mail back immediately.:confused:

I filled mine out too, but decided to wait to mail it. You'd think someone would have proofed the form.

The household isnít going to be changing between now and April 10th, but if I get taken out between now & then I wonít really care about the census anyway..;)

Joe Pelonio
03-20-2010, 2:52 PM
The household isnít going to be changing between now and April 10th, but if I get taken out between now & then I wonít really care about the census anyway..;)

More likely these days, some of the grown kids will be moving back.:rolleyes:

Dave Johnson29
03-20-2010, 4:16 PM
The form ask you how many people were living there on April 10th.

Joe,

Mine says April 1st 2010. I wonder if there is any significance to April Fools Day? ;):)

What happens if I someone is in transit driving through the night on the Cannon ball run?

Joe Cunningham
03-20-2010, 5:59 PM
Ben I worked at Pecos NHP for a number of years, and spring always meant lots of mud. I met some very nice locals up there, and it still one of my favorite parts of the state.

I was in NM about 2 weeks ago visiting my brother and the local news had a story about a northern NM town with a mud bog private road that people were having trouble getting through, even with 4x4s. It looked awful.

Greg Cuetara
03-20-2010, 6:54 PM
Without getting political here why does the census have to know the names and birthdays of everyone who lives in my household? I have no problem telling them how many people live here but it is really none of the gov't business the age of my son or my age and if they communicated at all they already have that information. Also, why does the gov't have to know if I have a mortgage or if I own my house.

Chris Kennedy
03-21-2010, 6:38 AM
Age of children is needed to determine demand for schools and school funding. Age of the general populace is also used to determine what services are going to be needed in an area. While the feds may do the data collection, the data is used by all level of government.

Chris

Pat Germain
03-21-2010, 2:33 PM
I can relate to the confusion with rural addresses. When I was in high school, I lived in a very rural area of Oklahoma. And very rural area of Oklahoma and almost as rural as you can get. We did had electricity and a phone.

My mailing address was "Route 2, Box 84". But only the local postal delivery guy knew what that meant. (He wasn't really a postal worker. He was a part-time contractor in a pickup truck.) So, my actual address was, "Three miles East and two Miles South" from town. My driveway was over 1/4 mile long and the house wasn't visible from the road. I'm sure census workers still have a hard time with that place. (The original house burned down, but I think the knew owner rebuilt.)

Belinda Williamson
03-21-2010, 5:57 PM
I can relate to the confusion with rural addresses. When I was in high school, I lived in a very rural area of Oklahoma. And very rural area of Oklahoma and almost as rural as you can get. We did had electricity and a phone.


I get it Pat. From 1980 to 1985 I lived at the back of a cornfield. Route 2, box 81. I loved it!:) Literally, my driveway went through the cornfield in the summertime. You couldn't tell a house was back there.

Dave Johnson29
03-21-2010, 8:46 PM
Went for a drive around the back roads out here in the sticks and noticed a LOT of census bags still taped to front gates.

I mean this is where the sticks go to get away from the sticks. Some roads were all but goat tracks and the Census people had been through. Unfortunately it seems the owners of the properties had not. We have a lot of Phx (200 miles away) folk with weekend places up here.

The weather in Phx at the moment is perfect so I am guessing those Census packs will not see fingertips until mid Summer. :D

Dennis Peacock
03-22-2010, 11:30 AM
Well, I got my census form in the mail.

I started feeling like they wanted to know way too much information about me, but....being a family tree researcher, I thought back to the early census forms and thought I'd post what the 1930 census form contained. So here is the type of information they were gathering in 1930 and before:

http://www.yoakumco.vibobgen.com/1930CensusForm.htm

Dave Johnson29
03-22-2010, 1:26 PM
I thought back to the early census forms and thought I'd post what the 1930 census form contained.

Dennis,

Doing it with 250,000 samples as the ACS, all year and every year.

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/SBasics/