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Census Survey, not political

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  • Census Survey, not political

    I had the pleasure to be required by law to answer the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau, I haven't heard anyone talk about this survey so I must have drawn the short straw.


    The government now knows more about me and my family than anyone else (although supposedly anonymous).  It took over an hour to answer all the in depth personal questions for each member of the house including what time we leave for work, work address, how long it takes to get to work, hours worked.  The size of house with number of rooms and acreage of lot, electricity/gas/water cost, insurance cost, property taxes. Income amounts and sources including interest and dividends. Number of marriages, education, race, ethnic origin (had to do a little guessing there), location of birth/citizenship. The only thing not asked was religion which apparently is illegal to ask.


    I had to make sure this was legit due to the details of the questions. It is, and apparently there can be up to $5000 fine for not completing the survey.


  • #2
    Yep, that sounds like the US Government. You can see a sample form online here - is that what you got?

    Here is the history of the questions since 1790 and here is the purpose of each question!

    And, no, I have not gotten one yet.

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    • #3
      Had a similar survey that I got about 3 years ago.  Did the survey and had phone calls from the people about every three months for a year afterwards. Must say they were persistent about the 'number of hours per week worked', 'did this change from the prior week/month', 'did your hourly wages increase/decrease/remain the same'?

      The fun part was when the in-laws moved in mid-stream, awaiting their home being built.  Threw the survey people off when the ethnic and language demographic zigged on them.  Not my fault the primary language spoken in the home went from English to Hangoul.

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      • #4
        1 hour of detailed personal questions with a hefty fine for non-completion? Defenitely sounds like US government. Was it sent certified mail or regular mail? If regular I think I would just ignore it (but with the disclaimer that I haven’t received one - and it’s possible I would chicken out and actually do it). If certified mail, your ability to ignore drops precipitously.

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        • #5


          Was it sent certified mail or regular mail?
          Click to expand...


          Nope, just regular mail. Received a postcard reminding me to fill it out a couple weeks later. It had an ID number to go to their website to enter all the info or phone number to call and do phone survey.  I spent quite a bit of time investigating the validity before proceeding (site jfox linked).

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          • #6
            Very interesting, definitely learned something new and also refreshed about the Fourth Amendment.

            I'm all about an accurate census, but my inner libertarian balks at a governmental colonoscopy without sedation.

            Are there any questions on there where you can share your opinion about our government?

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            • #7
              Why in the world do they need all this information. What an absolute. Joke

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              • #8
                cant they just ask google for most of this

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                • #9
                  DND, thank you for filling out the ACS survey, as much as you didn't want to.

                  I figured I'd chime in here to let folks reading this that this survey is actually really very helpful. I'm a trained demographer and used data from historical ACS data for a long time. Economists and public policy makers regularly use such data to make policy based on information. Yes, politics do intrude, but it's important to make policy based on sound analysis too. I'm not going to get into politics but you should know this data is used anonymously by tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people in governmental and non-governmental entities to better understand a whole host of socio-cultural and economic issues. I love the ACS!

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                  • #10
                    Policies determined by what time people go to work and utility costs?

                    If your argument is these things are necessary you could make it optional and I'm sure thousands would still respond.

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                    • #11




                      Policies determined by what time people go to work and utility costs?

                      If your argument is these things are necessary you could make it optional and I’m sure thousands would still respond.
                      Click to expand...


                      The bored, unemployed, retired, etc would reply.  Us hard working folk will not.

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