Census: they're gonna come and getcha

Census BureauThe return rate of census forms in Texas this year matches the compliance rate in 2000 of 68 percent. The Dallas and Fort Worth return rate also matches the 2000 rates of 64 and 69 percent respectively. El Paso had the best return rate of any major Texas city at 72 percent.

If you haven’t returned your form, you can still do so. However, now it’s time for enumerators to get to work, but returning the form now may eliminate the visit.

Each home that did not return a form will get up to seven visits until the Census Bureau gets its information. That count will occur through July and will take 600,000 census workers.

Seem like a big waste of money? It is and could have been avoided by returning the constitutionally mandated census form.

Census figures are used to allocate congressional seats among the states and are a factor in the disbursement of more than $400 billion annually for schools, highways and other public services.

The Census Bureau likes to say that it’s only 10 questions and takes 10 minutes to complete, but it’s really much easier than that. It doesn’t take a full minute to answer each question. If you know your name and sex, you can answer each in less than a minute. Probably those who are objecting loudest to the constitutionally mandated census would have trouble with those questions.

—  David Taffet

Four days to send in your census

Want to avoid a visit from your local, friendly enumerator and save the government money? Send in your damn census form.

Census BureauIt’s fast. (10 simple questions like … your name)

It’s easy. (10 simple questions like … your name)

It’s mandated by the constitution (for all you conspiracy theorists who are sure there are ulterior motives. If there are, Jefferson and Madison are the enemies of homeland security in this case)

It’s going to happen, whether you decide to participate or not. If you decide not to, an enumerator will come knocking at your door. And when you don’t answer, he or she will come again and again and again and again and again and again. Seven times. And then start knocking on your neighbors’ doors and ask questions about your household. Now THAT’S annoying and invasive and intrusive and a waste of time and money.

So send it in by this weekend and comply with the U.S. constitution. No information about individuals can be shared with other agencies. Not immigration. Not the IRS. No one. Just raw data will be released.

Oh, and if you want to be counted as a gay or lesbian couple, mark “married” or “unmarried partners.” You’ll be counted when both of you answer one of those difficult questions (Sex: __M or __F) as both the same.

—  David Taffet

Bring your Census out of the closet

queer_the_census_sticker

If you’re like me and haven’t yet sent in your Census, that might be OK — for now. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Queer the Census campaign is providing a sticker to seal your return envelope that makes a pretty hefty statement. The campaign’s efforts are “to push for an LGBT-inclusive question on the Census.”All you have to do is go to the site, print out the above sticker and affix it if you want a bit more inclusion in 2020.

Read more about the Task Force’s initiative after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Happy Census Day

2010 Census Logo

About half of all census forms have been returned nationwide.

And who’s lagging the country in complying? Texas, of course, Dallas is particularly bad. Yes, our bitch-about-federal-spending culture will help cost the federal government $1.5 billion when enumerators are sent out to count those who refuse to send in their forms.

So if you haven’t done so yet, send in your damn form. It takes about 3 minutes to fill out. Postage is paid. And for you Tea Party-Glenn Beck protesters, it IS in the constitution. And they’re due today.

The census is easy this year. It’s the shortest census form in more than 100 years. The questions are easy. No research required. But here are some examples of what has been asked in the past:

In 2000, if you got the “long form” it was 38 pages with questions that required some research. Like how much did you spend on electricity last year? And gas? You had to go through your bills and checkbook to figure it out. And they wanted the answer to the exact dollar.

This year — no long forms.

—  David Taffet

Sounds like you can check 'Husband or wife' on the 2010 Census

Back in June, we mentioned Obama wanted the census to include LGBT couples. I saw a sample preview of the 2010 Census Dallas questionnaire and got a little nervous. I was a bit unclear on how they translated gay couples into their options. The options for Persons 2 and up, living with Person 1 were “Husband or wife,” “Roomer or boarder,” “Housemate or roommate,” “Unmarried partner,” and “Other nonrelative” minus familial terms like parents, children, etc.

I asked Richard Hill, the senior public information officer of Marketing and Media Relations at the city of Dallas, what would same-sex couples living together check here. His response referred me to the Census Bureau and admittedly, I thought “runaround.”

But I was gladdened by Jenna Steormann Arnold’s official response. She’s the media specialist over at the Dallas Regional Census Center. This was her response:

The 2010 Census’ portrayal of household relationship must accurately represent existing circumstances brought about by societal, cultural, and in some cases, legal changes.  The General Counsel of the Department of Commerce recently reached a legal conclusion that reversed the policy of the previous Administration and clarified how the Census Bureau can report the growing number of same sex marriages in the United States.  The Census Bureau will release the raw relationship data from the 2010 Census that will not recode same-sex marriage as unmarried partners.

In Instant Tea’s previous post, Tammye Nash mentioned “Last summer, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Bush Administration announced that lawfully married same-sex couples that truthfully mark ‘married’ on their census forms would have their answers switched to ‘unmarried partners.’” Arnold’s response clearly says things have changed.

—  Rich Lopez