Skipped 3 census Qs. Will they come knocking on my door?

Haven’t seen this answered anywhere yet, my apologies if it has already been discussed.

I was not comfortable answering 3 of the census questions and left them blank. I filled out the rest. The ones I left blank were: Name, Birth date (I did enter my age) and phone number.

Question: Will I now have a census worker banging on my door demanding answers? Or do they consider a partially filled out census as “good enough, we won’t get more out of him anyway”?

In the last census, I filled out my form and sent it in but the census lady came knocking anyhow. I don’t know what the problem was because she asked all of the questions all over again. She was a tiny little asian lady. I’m all for personal privacy and usually don’t have a problem telling people at my door to f*** off, but for some reason I answered every one of her questions with “yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you ma’am”. Those census folks must be recruited for their mind control capabilities.

My understanding from the Census materials I’ve seen this year is that any unanswered question may lead to a visit from a field staffer. They might have to prioritize, though, so maybe you won’t actually have anyone come to your door.

This thread may also be of interest:

This is an interesting experiement. I do hope you come back here in a few months and let us know. I’d be real interested to see the result. Keep us updated

Wait, why were you uncomfortable?

You think that the government doesn’t already have access to your name, date of birth and (probably) phone number?

Well, that does make the experiment more interesting. If I don’t get a visit from the census people it would support your theory.

So what is the time frame for visits? Meaning, at what date would I be sure that no visit was forthcoming?

I filled out the Communities Survey form a couple of months ago and left blank the question asking about my gas bill. Someone called me to get that info.

Other agencies may be holding incorrect information. It is my understanding the Census Bureau does not obtain missing information from other government agencies. They obtain it directly from the horse’s mouth or they don’t obtain it at all.

I understand this, but my point was, why be “afraid” or “uncomfortable” giving the government this information?

Are we worried about jackboot thugs? Are we worried about stormtroopers, nazis, etc?
Why aren’t we giving out this information, since it’s the kind of stuff that’s pretty much listed in the phone book.

Census data forms the foundation of a lot of good research in the social sciences, including economics, sociology and disease control.

Those with privacy concerns might direct their attention to the rather substantial amount of information accumulated by the credit bureaus.

January 1, 2011

The Census has to be completed (at least the data gathering) in 2010. Actually, the cut-off is before then, but I don’t have an exact date to give you.

Here’s how to handle a census taker.


Thank goodness you didn’t get the long form census.

Are you under the impression the government does not have this information in some file for you? What exactly are you accomplishing by not giving them your name or date of birth?

Theory? Do you really believe the government doesn’t already possess that information? Have you ever heard of Social Security? The Census Bureau doesn’t get its information from other governmental entities; it gets it from you.

As far as not giving them your phone number, you’ve just ensured that they must actually send someone to your house to collect the information, as opposed to simply calling you on the phone. Good thinking. It’s more costly for the government to do so.

Why are you uncomfortable, again?

I left the phone number blank. I fully expect a call from a census taker asking for my phone number.

I grew up in a society where the government felt they had the right and obligation to control every aspect of peoples lives. So I operate under the motto that I give out as little info as possible. Yes, I still do my taxes, I still participate in social security. I know they have vast amounts of information on me. I’m still uncomfortable in giving them even more. I’ll be happy to discuss these philosophical issues in GD. :slight_smile:

But regardless, the question for GQ was not why I didn’t fill out those questions, but rather if there are certain blank answers that will NOT trigger a knock on the door or if ANY blank answers will trigger a visit.

The thinking is probably that they do have your name, birthdate and phone number but they don’t have your name linked with all the other information they are sending.

Not that I care about that but that’s probably the thought process.

Well, ok, if you want to take it to GD, but I have a factual question for you. What additional information are you refusing to provide on your census form that the government doesn’t likely already have via the IRS and social security? The only thing I can think of would be your phone number (and that’s just asked for out of convenience and to reduce costs). They already know your birthday, they already know your name and they can associate both with your address. So, what “more information” would you be providing them via the census?

This kind of census rebellion is nuts to me. First off, it is the government. They have FBI, CIA etc and could write your entire autobiography if they really wanted to.

But the census isn’t trying to do things the hard way. They just want to ask people for simple information. The data is used for no more nefarious purposes than research, planning as well as a base for sampling surveys.

Now, obviously they have your address since they mailed you a form. Unless you are a person very careful to keep yourself off the grid, I could probably find out your name, DOB, phone# etc just from that starting point alone by simply using the myriad of public web based sources. An extremely basic version is right here. But I could also use some on-line pay services and get very detailed info about anyone.