The other night I noticed some people going door to door. Fortunately, we were out taking the dog for a walk. Turned out, it was our friends from the Census Bureau. They left me this:
Blargh. That means for the next “day or two” while they are trying to re-interview me, I would have to avoid them. And my dog likes barking at strange people knocking on our door. Yesterday, they returned. I just ignored them until they left, and then went outside to tend my garden. Apparently I should’ve waited a little longer, because seeing that I was outside, she returned.
Great. They didn’t like the fact that I responded to only one question on the census form a few months ago.
Although the Census drone said that she was conducting “follow-up” interviews (not unreasonable, as a means of validating the integrity of data – we do it in market research industry all the time), I’m pretty sure she was there to “complete” (as the form indicates) an incomplete interview. Supporting this claim, I noticed that she was not stopping at all houses, but the vacant ones (several old residents have passed or relocated leaving vacant houses behind) and the house across the street where the vagrants lived until a week ago. So, judging by the sample of houses she stopped at, I don’t think she was doing follow-up interviews. Maybe that’s what they told her. Or maybe that’s what they told her to tell people. I don’t know.
I politely declined to answer any questions, stating that I had returned the form earlier this year, listing the number of occupants and that was all the information I was comfortable giving them. As a matter of fact, the only reason I returned even that much information is because I thought it would reduce the odds of them sending someone knocking. I was mistaken.
Fortunately, she was pleasant enough not to press the issue, I get the sense she did not want to have the argument with me, because the first logic bomb I would’ve dropped on her would’ve been something about the atrocities the US government perpetrated against Japanese-Americans during the second world war, largely with information obtained from the Census Bureau.
The fact of the matter is that the government could, if they wanted to, obtain any bit of information that the Census asks for. But it’s easier and cheaper to persuade people to “voluntarily” submit these data. Well, I’m not giving it to them. If they want it, there’s nothing I can do to stop them, really. But I’m not willing to just hand it over.