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2010 Census Q's contradictory?
Old 03-15-2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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2010 Census Q's contradictory?

Maybe it is my own mental block when it comes to legal-eze and/or the wording in Government forms, but I got my census today, and 2010 Census Q's appear contradictory to me. Am I missing something?

The block for Q1 includes this (bold mine):

Quote:
Before you answer Question 1, count the people living in
this house, apartment, or mobile home using our guidelines.

• Count all people, including babies, who live and sleep here
most of the time.

The Census Bureau also conducts counts in institutions
and other places, so:

• Do not count anyone living away either at college or in the
Armed Forces.

• Do not count anyone in a nursing home, jail, prison,
detention facility, etc., on April 1, 2010.

• Leave these people off your form, even if they will return to
live here after they leave college, the nursing home, the
military, jail, etc. Otherwise, they may be counted twice.
1. How many people were living or staying in this house,
apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?

Number of people = [ ]
OK, I follow them so far. They don't want to double-count. But then Q2 (again, bold mine):


Quote:
2. Were there any additional people staying here
April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?
Mark [X] all that apply.

[ ] Children, such as newborn babies or foster children
[ ] Relatives, such as adult children, cousins, or in-laws
[ ] Nonrelatives, such as roommates or live-in baby sitters
[ ] People staying here temporarily
[ ] No additional people
Then sub-Q's 7 for each person:

Quote:
7. Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?
No Yes — Mark [X] all that apply.

[ ] In college housing
[ ] In the military
[ ] At a seasonal or second residence
[ ] For child custody
[ ] In jail or prison
[ ] In a nursing home
[ ] For another reason
So if Q 1 says "• Count all people, including babies,", why would Q 2 ask you to include "Children, such as newborn babies" that you did not include in Q1 Isn't everyone on that Q2 list 'people'? Aren't they really saying "did you forget someone?, go back and fix Q1." This makes no sense to me.

And Q1 says do not count anyone living away either at college ... Do not count anyone in a nursing home, jail, prison,, so why would Q7 ask if the person you list on the form is In college housing, or In jail or prison, or In a nursing home

I'm not getting it, don't include these people, but then check if they meet the requirement that disqualifies them?


They spend millions telling us how important it is to fill out the form, and then they make it like a strange puzzle? Or am I gonna look silly after re-reading this tomorrow?

-ERD50
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:47 PM   #2
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They aim this at a 3rd grade comphrension level. By asking the same question 2-3 ways, they hope to get at the right number. They know there will be a lot of people who will count the missing people in Q1 so they can then subtract them with the answer to Q2.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:26 AM   #3
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1. Fill in some number.
2. Have a beer.
3. Relax.

Consider calling to request a census taker visit your home, pour him/her a beer, discuss the questions philosophically.

Or, consider that question 2 is asking you to "X" categories of folks that were at your home April 1st that you did not include in question 1 because "they did not live and sleep there most of the time." Think about where that "seasonal or second residence" mentioned in question 3 might be. Hint: It's not north of the USA.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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There is no census police, so answer any which way you want and do not worry about it. If you wish, call them up.

And youbet's advice is only partially right. Have 2 or 3 beers, then fill it out. My teenager filled it out and mailed it for us today ... without drinking beers.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:57 AM   #5
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The government wants to know exactly where everyone sleeps so that when they round "us" up to send to the camps in the Ozarks they won't have to hunt us down.

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Old 03-16-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
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I found it a bit strange myself but not really contradictory. They seemed to say "count everybody." Then: "Did you forget anyone -- newborns count as babies, also include guests who don't live anywhere else so might not otherwise get counted." Finally, "Yeah, we did say most of the time, so did anyone in that category also live part of the time in college or something, we want to know about them just in case."

My guess is they develop statistics based on the detailed interviews that document what percentage of respondents screw up question 1 but also report people who "should" have been counted or excluded in the last question. They probably apply an algorithm to "correct" the data for user error once they have documented the percentage of screw ups.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone - though it may not have seemed like it in my post, I am relaxed, I'm not blowing a gasket over filling this out, and I *did* have a beer (only one though, so I didn't think that was affecting my reading comprehension).

And I kinda understand the points you are making, but it still seems contrary to me. I probably will call the census place, or let the person come to my door, but that would be more 'fun' if I really felt I was getting any satisfaction out of it. But I'd just be wasting more tax dollars. I assume those people essentially get paid by the hour; fewer questions and they are done earlier. So now the conspiracy theories come out - this is govt 'jobs program'!

At a deeper level, and now my gasket is getting stressed a bit, it really bugs me that something so simple cannot be handled in a straightforward manner by our Federal govt who has invested millions in this. Everyone means everyone, people are people (relatives, children, babies, foster children are subsets of 'people'). Rather than making it readable at a third grade level, I think they made it unreadable. I stand by my comment that #2 really should be a part of #1 and say - did you forget anyone, such as blah, blah, blah. It just makes no sense to say include everyone, and them later say, include the people you didn't include. This is increasing the risk of a double count, not decreasing it. If they intended it that way, they should say it that way - at a third grade level would be fine with me, I wouldn't be insulted, I like things clearly, simply stated.

And it is contradictory, #1 says do not include people in jail 4/1/2010, and #7 under people that you are to include in #1 asks if they are in jail. Hmmmm, maybe the only inference I can make is, are they in jail part of the year, but NOT on April 1, 2010, but they live in your house on April 1, 2010? That seems like a stretch, I don't think so.



heh, heh, heh,... I just might have some fun with this after all. I've read that you can be fined for providing false information. So I might go around with someone saying that I CAN'T fill it out, because doing so would REQUIRE false information from me. But then I can be fined for NOT filling it out. Help me Census Person, I don't want to be fined!

Looks like I've already used the ten minutes they say it takes to fill out the form

Oh well, while I'm on this little mini-rant, I'll add that the advertisements that I've heard on the radio really bug me too. They say that w/o the census, we won't know how many teachers to have, or where to put in a stop light etc. That is just BS. I know for a fact that the number of teachers we hire is based on enrollment (and teacher/student ratios that I think are set by union contract), not some possibly 10 year old census numbers. And I know that they estimate future building needs based on building permits, developers plans, and the type of housing (family, versus a retirement home for example). And traffic lights are determined by a traffic study, not a ten year old census. I travel through some very small towns that get a lot of traffic - what does a census tell you? I hate being BS'd, especially by someone using my own money to do it.

-ERD50
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:14 AM   #8
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I filled out our form yesterday and I thought it was odd also about the military. In my case they will count me in the institutional number. In my section I checked military so I assume they will throw my section out on the form.

I also remember getting a letter last week asking me to please do the form when it arrived. The form yesterday said it was the law. So you ask me to participate a week earlier and now its the law.

I wonder what the punishment is for non compliance?

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:21 AM   #9
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The gummint often acts in mysterious ways. That's all I can say.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomcat98 View Post

I wonder what the punishment is for non compliance?

Tomcat98
https://askacs.census.gov/cgi-bin/as...i=&p_topview=1

Quote:
Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:16 AM   #11
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I think everyone received the form yesterday. Mine is already back in the mail. Big deal. There are much more important things in life to stress over if one chooses to.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:17 AM   #12
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ERD50, You don't have an individual like my step-son periodically showing up at the door. (Currently here; against my desire and I don't want to talk about it ... ) I will have to wait until April 1st before I can answer the question about whether anyone is or is not in jail ...

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:19 AM   #13
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1. Fill in some number.
2. Have a beer.
3. Relax.
4. Get back to work on your taxes
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:25 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
I think everyone received the form yesterday. Mine is already back in the mail. Big deal. There are much more important things in life to stress over if one chooses to.
I understand, but you know what - the government is the one who has been stressing about this. I've been bombarded with advertising (paid by my tax dollars) telling me how important it is that we fill this out, that we get correct data. I got a letter mailed to me last week, telling me that I'd get a letter this week (?!).

OK, if it is so important, then make it so that a 3rd grader or a retired engineer can fill it out accurately w/o second guessing what they really meant. It certainly could have and should have been done that way, but it wasn't.

I guess it is the larger picture that I'm looking at. The government keeps wanting to get more and more involved in every aspect of my life, and they can't even do the simple things right, even though they have had ten years to plan out a simple form. It is symbolic of a much larger problem.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
The gummint often acts in mysterious ways.
It turns out that "the gummint asks in mysterious ways".

Quote:
Originally posted by donheff
They probably apply an algorithm to "correct" the data for user error once they have documented the percentage of screw ups.
I'll bet they "fix" the numbers really good.

Here's my favorite part about the advertisements: Count how many times they say "fair share" of resources in each advertisement. Apparently, the function of the census is to fairly apportion the loot seized by the federal government. Before I heard this, I thought the main purpose of the census was to assure citizens were equally represented in Congress. Silly me.

"Ask not what you can do for your country, ask how you can get your share."
-JFK for 2010
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
I think everyone received the form yesterday.
I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever
Mine is already back in the mail.
Mine too. Took me about a minute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever
Big deal. There are much more important things in life to stress over if one chooses to.
I couldn't agree more. There is nothing new, here. Many/most of us have participated in the Census every ten years for our entire lives. And also we have heard ads to encourage participation every ten years for our entire lives. Ho hum...
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:46 AM   #17
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Mine too. Took me about a minute.
You live alone, right? So none of the contradictory questions would apply to your case. So no surprise here.

So maybe you could inform me of the correct way to fill it out for my college kid, with zero theoretical chance of facing a fine? I realize I don't face a real chance of facing a fine, they are not going to chase me down, but the point is, if this is so important, why could they not do this correctly?

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Old 03-16-2010, 12:34 PM   #18
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Oh My, I can't believe I missed this one....

I stand corrected. It is actually impossible for someone, even someone who lives alone to have correctly filled out the census form and returned it already. Unless they have access to a time machine.

A little googling to find others who felt the questions were strange left me with a lot of tin-foil hat links. So I added "who designed" to the search to try to zero in on the design of the questions. I found an unlikely source of support, but with a twist that I totally missed (language edited):

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Quote:
I know the form is short this year but jeez who designed the questions? One question in particular is so strangely worded you have to wonder if someone over at the Census Bureau is dipping into the good stash or something. ...

The question ... see if you agree about how this is badly worded.

Were you living in this residence as of April 1, 2010?

Now I'm not part of the grammar police that hangs out and comments on every nitpicking mistake in anyone's diaries but what the *&^$ kind of question is this? Isn't that an impossibility to say you were living somewhere when the future hasn't happened yet? Hmmmm maybe there is something here I don't know about but it just bugged me and I know that lots of people will be answering this question until after April 1, but that doesn't excuse crappily constructed questions.
Now, if there was just a 15% reward for this fine, I could cash in (just kidding)!

-ERD50
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:45 PM   #19
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Oh Sh**, ERD40, I already put mine in the mail. What if I die before April fools day? Will they fine my estate
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:13 PM   #20
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Oh Sh**, ERD40, I already put mine in the mail. What if I die before April fools day? Will they fine my estate
Print this out and give it to your loved ones, so they know I warned you

-ERD50
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