Our Constitution calls for a Census every ten years to determine how many Representatives each State will have, (Article I, Section 3.) Starting with the 2000 census, under the Clinton administration, the Department of Commerce contracted with the American Community Survey to collect data on our population every three years. The ideal is to collect from a portion of the population during each three year cycle. Over a ten year period they would collect personal data from everyone and therefore replace the normal census count once every ten years.
Sound like a great plan! Then here come the rub, they want more and more information. It used to be just head of household, age, occupation and the number of people living in the home.
The code for the enumeration can be found in 13USC141. In this code, the census is directed to be taken in 1980 and every ten years thereafter, and that the count is to be taken on April 1. The returns must be completed within nine months for use in apportionment of representatives. The code also specifies a mid-decade census be taken in 1985 and every ten years thereafter. This count need not be a head count (sampling may be used) though the data cannot be used for apportionment.
13USC141 Starts out:
TITLE 13–CENSUS CHAPTER 5–CENSUSES SUBCHAPTER II–POPULATION, HOUSING, AND UNEMPLOYMENT
Sec. 141. Population and other census information
(a) The Secretary shall, in the year 1980 and every 10 years thereafter, take a decennial census of population as of the first day of April of such year, which date shall be known as the “decennial census date”, in such form and content as he may determine, including the use of sampling procedures and special surveys. In connection with any such census, the Secretary is authorized to obtain such other census information as necessary.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the use of any statistical method, in connection with a decennial census, for the apportionment or redistricting of Members in Congress.
At what point is you right to privacy violated with census questions?
The Constitution does not specifically mention a right to privacy. However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment. The right to privacy has come to the public’s attention via several controversial Supreme Court rulings, including several dealing with contraception (the Griswold and Eisenstadt cases), interracial marriage (the Loving case), and abortion (the well-known Roe v Wade case). In addition, it is said that a right to privacy is inherent in many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, such as the 3rd, the 4th’s search and seizure limits, and the 5th’s self-incrimination limit.
In this age of non-discrimination why are they asking for origin and race? Question 5 could not be answered by someone of mixed origin and this would include most of the people in the U.S.
Question 6 even uses the "N" word and just how far back are we supposed to go?
Apparently they don’t care about more than 5 people in the household, they only ask for name sex and age. I guess this is to meet the requirement for the number of representatives. And if you have more than 12 living in your household, they don’t want to know about it.
Questions 7 through 48 really get personal and I have to admit that I would be very uneasy placing all that information in one place. Some worker at the American Community Survey Org. Could get very rich selling all this information. What if mandatory health insurance is passed, what better place for the government to go to see how has coverage than this record.
These 21 questions require more information than I even keep. What about the second home? Did they just forget that some people have a second or third home.
After reading the form carefully, I could not find any deadline for competition, as soon as possible does not mean much to people now days. So I will have to study the form a little more before I make a decision.
Not Required to respond:
After reading the statement on the back of the form, and checking out approval number from the Office of Management and Budget, OMB No. 0607-0810 I discovered that it had expired on 5/31/2008.
I usually discard all mail addressed to RESIDENT, I guess I should have discarded this unopened and then I would have not wasted all this time looking into the American Community Survey. Even if they are on the up and up, who is to say that someone within the organization is not. And who even trusts Government now days.
After April 1st I will set down with a census taker and try to answer some of the questions they ask, provided they don’t get too personal.