Census Mailer Says Look for Census in Mail

Do we really need our tax dollars spent by the US Census Bureau to remind us to look for the Census coming soon in the mail? How much is that pre-mailer costing taxpayers, alone? :mad:

Check out the other census threads: it’s about maximizing initial response which saves money overall.

Well, based on some experience doing political mass mailings, I would estimate somewhere around 20¢ per household. The piece itself was black on white paper, in quantity that would have cost less than a penny to print, and the cheapest bulk rate postage is about 19¢ apiece.

But in reality it probably cost nothing – in fact, it probably made money.

The purpose of this was to increase the number of people who filed their Census form without needing any follow-up visit from Census employees. Just guessing, but I would say that such a follow-up visit would cost at least $10. So if that mailer causes merely a 2% increase in Census reporting, it saved us taxpayers money. And the Census people, who are the experts in this, decided to do it. Presumably they have reason to believe it works.

Manufactured outrage. Christ, the tinfoil hattery in regards to the Census is THICK this year.

Accurate Census data is critical for my work, much of which involves very detailed demographic analysis, and research into how neighborhoods and cities evolve and change through the years.

I want to know where you buy your ink. I figured out how much it costs me to print a black and white page using the proprietary liquid gold on my ink-guzzling printer, and it’s between $0.08-$0.09 a page.

I’ve been looking into third-party knockoff inks and I’m going to give them a shot. That must be what the government is using anyway if they can print for less than a cent per page. :stuck_out_tongue:

Er…you don’t honestly believe the government is using an inkjet printer to fire off how ever many millions of letters they mailed, do you?

When you print 100 million or so at a time, you’re getting an efficiency of scale. Also, count on them not using an inkjet printer…

I heard on the radio this morning that the Census Bureau estimates that following up on an unreturned Census form will cost an average of $57. So, this is exactly why they’re willing to spend a few more cents for reminder letters to everyone.

Err, duh. :smack: I just have ink on my mind lately. I guess toner is much cheaper, I’ve never bought it or even used a laser printer for that matter so I’m not used to thinking in those terms.

They’re probably not even using a laser printer for these…they’re likely being done on an offset printer, which is cheaper still, once you get into huge quantities like this.

Absolutely. Indeed, this is how any advertising is meant to work. One sometimes sees people asking, “why do companies waste so much money on advertising?” but the companies just don’t see it as a waste, because it’s supposed to increase sales overall.

Perhaps I can see this logic. However, opening an envelope from the Census Bureau only to find it was a letter informing me of…another letter, was reason for me to raise my eyebrow. Had I received the actual survey, I would have just filled it out and sent it in (which I plan to do this weekend with the one I received in the mail yesterday). If it does indeed increase the number of people who will actually send the surveys in, then so be it, but it’s not that much of a stretch to see why it makes those of us who would fill it out anyway see this as a waste of resources.

I bet the goobermint bought a separate inkjet printer for each letter.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke was just on The Daily Show. He explained that research showed them that the advance mailings increase mail-back response rates by 6-12%. He later said that each 1% increase saves them $85 million. I highly doubt that the printing and mailing costs totaled $510 million.

Whoa there big guy. There’s a big difference between asking “Is it cost effective to send a letter saying ‘Look for another letter coming’ ?” and saying “The census only exists so Barack Hussein Obama has accurate information when the fasco-Islamic death panels get rolling.” I’ve already happily filled in my census form, but I’m curious to the first question myself - how many people who would have ignored the census otherwise will actually fill it in just because of that letter?

Apparently the pre-letters cost $57 million to mail.

I’ve been pondering that myself…ever since I went to catch a train and snagged some cool census fridge magnets and a census pen from someone that was just handing them out to increase census awareness.

Then there’s the TV ad campaigns, too as well as the mailer telling me to look out for the census form. I thought it was all too much…
…then I started reading the threads complaining about privacy invasion, etc…then I asked my business partner ( who’s usually a very intelligent man) if he filled out his census form and he told me he and his wife threw it away when it came in.

So maybe all this stuff is necessary but I agree it shouldn’t be.

Look, people are stupid. There are people who don’t know what the Census is. There are people who would assume it’s junk mail. There are people who just throw everything out. There are people who are suspicious of you “getting their address” somehow. I know somebody who burns every single thing with her address on it, EVEN THOUGH IT’S IN THE PHONE BOOK.

If a letter makes people say, hey, that thing probably isn’t junk and I guess it’s from the government, then it works. But my first reaction was, yeah, “How much did this cost?” I thought, hey, it could have been a postcard, you know - but if you have to open it, maybe people are more likely to read it.

Like most people, I got the census mailer about a week before in the mail.

What’s more interesting is that the exact same day I got the actual census form in the mail, I also got a postcard from the census bureau telling me, in several languagues, that if I had any questions about the census I should call a certain telephone number.

Mom?! Why didn’t you ever tell me that you posted here too? :stuck_out_tongue: Sorry, I’ve already heard this rant in-person this week, so it’s a bit surprising to see that my mom isn’t the only one het up about it.