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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.