Thursday, April 8, 2010

It Just Doesn't Make "Census"

Has everyone filled out their census forms and returned them? Have you? Have you?

No, I'm not being paid by the Census Bureau to make this public service announcement, but I wouldn't mind dipping in to a little of that cash cow. Have you noticed how much they have spent on advertising alone?! It's unbelievable.

First there were the ads during the SuperBowl. These humorous ads featured, if not A list stars, at least recognizable faces planning a way to contact and count every person in America. Then there were the more serious, boring ads asking questions like "How will we know where to build new hospitals or where to put new roads if we don't know how many people live there?"

Next I started noticing big banners on all of the courthouses in various counties around here. Then the banners started appearing in other places around town. When I dropped my kids off at school there was a poster on the door encouraging me to take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions that would help us for the next 10 years. The doctor's office, grocery store and movie theatre displayed the same flyers.

Next began the mailing campaign. I got a letter in the mail reminding me that my census form would be coming soon and that I should fill it out and send it back in. Well, duh! Finally I got the long awaited, much talked-about census form and I sat down to fill it out. Since they promised it would only take me 10 minutes to fill out the 10 questions I decided to time myself.

It took me 4 minutes and 9 seconds to fill out the entire form. It was way more than 10 questions because after the initial ten I then had to fill out the information for the 4 other members of my household, but still, it wasn't difficult or time consuming or even aggravating. I didn't need a special pen or even a stamp. I stuffed it in the provided envelope, licked it and threw it back in to the mailbox. So simple.

So why are people not filling them out? Why do we have to spend millions of dollars on advertising to convince people that they really need to do this? And the biggest question of all...

Why doesn't the Census Bureau just get all of this information off of our income tax forms?

I don't get it. I guess communication between government agencies is more than we can ever hope for. So please, just fill out the blasted form and send it back in so that in 2020 they won't have to waste a gazillion dollars convincing us to do it again.

1 comment:

Deena said...

Apparently the mailing to remind us is also a test mailing, to see if they go through.

There is a station set up at our school, for census help. If you need help filling it out! Honestly. I thought maybe some folks got harder census questions than mine or something? Probably not.

Soon, there will be LOTS of specially hired employees of the government going out to track down people who didn't fill them out and ask them PERSONALLY.

I think they can't use our tax forms because so many people don't have to fill them out. If your income is low enough, then no tax form. And everyone should be counted. :)

For the record, I think the census is good, but definitely over-hyped. Just that envelope that said it's illegal not to fill it out was enough for me!!