My Neighbor is Angry at Census Takers (and I’m Perplexed)
My neighbor is apparently really angry at the census takers that have been knocking on doors recently.
So much so that she is now voicing her displeasure via sidewalk chalk.
Which, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen. I'll clarify that statement in a moment.
You know the drill with the census -- everyone in the country has to be counted every ten years. It determines how we're all represented in Congress, it determines how much of our own money we get to spend in our own area, etc. Pretty simple stuff.
Many months ago, you should have received a form in the mail or you can go online and take the census. It only takes a few minutes. Again, pretty simple.
With that said, I filled-out the census back in April; I took a screenshot of my confirmation number just to have record of it for a situation just like the one I find myself in.
That was April. Fast forward now six months later and I have recently been visited by census takers twice in the past few weeks -- both times I have not been home, so they have left little notes stuck in my front door reminding me to take the census.
On these little reminders, there's a code you have to enter on the census website... one of the codes that I got was completely illegible. I tried my best at guessing the letters and numbers and it didn't work -- but it was fun pretending to be James Bond like I was attempting to crack the code on a vault or something.
But, again, I already filled-out the census six months ago. So that led me to try to find a way to tell the Census Bureau that I already took it. In typical big government fashion, there's no easy way to do that (at least none that I found). However, I did find a list of phone numbers for regional offices that I could call (ours is 267/780-2600), but I can only imagine the sheer level of joy that would result in.
Anyway, now that I found myself spending a ridiculous amount of time learning about the census, I discovered I am far from the only person who took the census half-a-year ago and is now getting knocks at the front door. And even if you did fill it out, you can still get a visit from a census taker.
The census website says, "If you respond to the census in March or April, then a census taker will not come to your home. Starting in mid-May, census takers will visit households that have not yet responded to the census."
Now I'm perplexed as to why I'm being visited.
The census website also says you can be visited up to six times by a census taker, however, after the third time, the census taker can speak to one of your neighbors and your neighbor can tell that person whatever they know about you (note to my neighbors: no, the delivery guy from Domino's does not live at my house. You might think that because he's there so much, but he doesn't live there).
That brings us to my neighbor's sidewalk chalk note to the census takers. Apparently, I only have to take one step out of my front door to see that I am not the only person who is frustrated with something that is so simple but is yet so complex. I completely understand the need for the count to be accurate -- and I did my part as soon as I was asked to (my neighbor, too, apparently) -- and I am not bashing the census takers, but c'mon. If we're going to be asked to participate in this song and dance, then at least make an effort to make it work. They want everyone to be counted, so I counted myself, and now you're asking me to count myself -- all while the state has a pretty good guess at the number of people who have taken and not taken the census (93.4% of the people in New Jersey have responded).
And to clarify, my comment above about my neighbor's sidewalk scribbles being brilliant isn't directed at the individual census takers. They're doing the job they were hired to do. They just happen to be working for a system that isn't very efficient.
Nor can it count.
Anyway, be sure you fill out the census. It is important. If you already did, maybe you'll still get a visit or a reminder to do it (again). And if you are a census taker and you visit my house, you do have a 50/50 chance of being there when Domino's shows-up. Perhaps I'll offer you some pizza.
And, no, I don't want to be ridiculed for eating Domino's. I am well aware of how highly we regard Jersey pizza places and I do my best to support them all.