Friday June 3, 2016
The Census Bureau is sending its hefty American Community Survey to more than three million households a year. I recently received this 28-page tsunami of questions about everything from my plumbing to my profession to my ethnicity and income. But as a former Census taker who has written about Census controversies for more than 25 years, I distrust this blunderbuss.
In 2005, the American Community Survey replaced the long Census form that was sent to a minority of respondents as part of the once-a-decade population count. Many congressmen are irate that the Census Bureau threatens $5,000 fines against anyone who refuses to answer all the questions. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) denounced it as an “unnecessary and completely unwarranted government intrusion.”
Unfortunately, citizens’ compliance with Census demands does nothing to ensure that the government itself will respect their privacy or obey the law.