The Neighborhood’s Census

Print This Post Print This Post

Written by: Director Robert Groves

The pace of our lives at the Census Bureau is picking up now. This is the month that it all comes together.

Our partner activities are increasing also. I was in Los Angeles Saturday and visited one of 200 different census events going on simultaneously — at community centers, at local festivals, at neighborhood art shows, athletic events, etc. It was in the town of Temple Hills where, in the midst of a neighborhood carnival, a census booth was educating the local folks about the census. Pacific Islander kickoffs of the census, with dancing and great food; a Latino press conference reminding folks to report the children in the household (a group often undercounted). Many of the events were organized not by the Census Bureau but by our partner organizations, for the benefit of their members.

At each one of these I got the clear message that the organizers were doing this not because they had grand aspirations for a perfect national census, but because they wanted their group counted. Group pride drove them to desire that their place in the society be validated by accurate census counts. It was heartwarming and a wonderful lesson to those of us in Washington who think only nationally.

In a way, the census is one of the most grass-roots thing we all do, despite the fact that it is a creature of the national constitution. Each person, each family, each neighborhood form the building blocks of the national census. While we are painting the portrait of America, we are also updating the portraits of our own group. The national census is really a collection of neighborhood censuses.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to

This entry was posted in Partnerships. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Neighborhood’s Census

  1. Gail says:

    My concern is the the government has simply gone too far. My information is not secure with the census bureau, when they can lose all those laptops with census info on them, and when other government agencies can access census bureau info. I will be more than happy to provide the bureau with the number of people in my home, child or adult and age…and that is all.The type of slant you’re putting on the innocuousness of the census may have worked in the past, but it does not fly for me when I have information at my fingertips from the net.When elected government officials have a lot of qualms about the census.I feel that some of the questions you ask are private, and I have a duty to protect my family and my information.You might get a lot more cooperation if you kept it to the basics….number of people in dwelling, adult or child, and age. Which is all you really need. You do not need to know my race or if I own my own home. The questions that you ask on behalf of other agencies…if they can’t find a legal way to get the info they want, perhaps there is a reason for that. And the census bureau should not be trying to make an end run around my rights and duties as a citizen.Thank you.

  2. Sandi says:

    I agree. The constitution says you only have to count — not all that other stuff. What race I am? None of your business. I am tired of racism and this promotes racism. I don’t believe in Federal stimulus or grant funds. People should be responsible for themselves. This is just further serving the nanny culture the government has pushed on people.

  3. Nick says:

    I am protesting the Census because it excludes my group. I am a gay American and under Federal law we are excluded from any demographic data collection. It’s nothing less than bigotry, discrimination, and hatred.
    The Census Bureau is not a political entity, but the questions have to be approved by Congress. The question pool was approved by the last Congress under the Bush Administration. The Census Bureau wanted to ask more questions about demographics, but were told no by Congress. That hurt America and is why I wil not be participating.

  4. Greg says:

    I will submit number of people in my house. That’s it. I will meet what the Constitution allows and be done with it.

  5. Greg says:

    I will put in the number of people in my house. Period. If you want my race, come visit me and you can take a guess for yourself. The Constitution calls for a headcount for Representation, period, not for handing out my money and other people’s money. It’s gotten old, and enough Americans are tired of the games being played with our lives.

  6. Bob G says:

    You go, Sandi!!

  7. Bob G says:

    Well said, Gail.

  8. Greg,
    The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to carry out the census in “such manner as they shall by Law direct” (Article I, Section 2). Congress has passed numerous laws over the last two centuries governing the conduct of the census and other surveys. These laws are now incorporated in Title 13 of the United States Code. You can learn more at our website,, and there is detailed information on the Census and the Constitution at this link:

  9. jeff says:

    throw the census form in the trash

  10. Have a nice day, y'all says:

    Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the paranoia and hostility of us Mericans?

  11. Joyce says:

    As a genealogist, I am distressed that the census information is only released after 72 years. I understand that it is done this way with the expectation that most people listed would have died. What’s the point of it? What of us who are still alive? I think the need to make the information available to genealogists and other researchers outweighs not wanting living people to see their census information (whatever the logic in that is).
    As a citizen participant in the census and user of census data, I would like to recommend that federal census information be released every 20 or 30 years – certainly much more often than every 72 years. I am looking forward to 2012 when I can see my 1940 census record.

  12. Kevin Costello says:

    Please help me .I have spent an hour trying to find a warm body or site to help.The census form on page one specifically said not to includ my son who attends college but lives away from home.I checked with him and he hasn’treceived anything.I think he therefore will not be counted.He comeshome in a month.I thought this was a bad idea.Now I know it was.Iwant him counted with our family.Can I ammend my census.
    Thank you.Please e-mail me back

  13. Kevin,
    He should be counted where he goes to school. He can request a form by calling 866-872-6868 after April 12

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *