The Kickoff For The Second Half

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

On Friday I accompanied a nonresponse followup census worker in El Segundo, California. She had just completed her training and conducted the very first interview of her 2010 Census experience.

Over my career I have myself been survey interviewer at times and have observed hundreds of interviews. The job is a tough one – knocking on the front door of houses that you may never have visited before. Not knowing exactly what to expect. Is anyone home? Are there dogs in the house? Will I be greeted with a smile or hostility?

The best interviewers find this an opportunity to both fulfill the duties of the census and interact with residents of the area. Those who approach the doors with the anticipation of meeting interesting new people usually do better at getting the cooperating of the households. Many studies show that interviewers with such positive attitudes are more successful.

Like all surveys, the census has instructed interviewers to provide instructions about the confidentiality provisions of the request and with detailed explanation about why we take a census.

In the few households I observed it’s clear that not all were aware of the census and its purposes. Despite all the advertising, they didn’t know that the 2010 Census was being done.

Some had just moved into the apartments and were living elsewhere on April 1. Our job now is to make sure that they’re counted once and only once and in their April 1 residential location. Then we have to contact the landlord to learn who was living at the unit on April 1.

We had a very successful first half of the census. Saturday was the kickoff for the second half – that we will end only when we have counted everyone in the country. We have a ways to go and now and it’s in multiple hands – our 600,000 enumerators and the 48 million households they will visit.

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14 Responses to The Kickoff For The Second Half

  1. Susanne says:

    My first day was very successful as well! I used my spanish skills to help enumerate a spanish speaking household. The person was happy that I came by to help her participate in the census.

  2. Heather says:

    Ya, I’ve found the same that not many know really what it is for. Either they are completely miss informed or thing its just the “start” of some Government “big brother” program. Many are shocked when they learn what its really for and that its been around since the 1700s :). I finished training last week and start my NRFU Assignment today.

  3. Mary A says:

    wow, i’m a crew leader and have had some big wigs observe my leading my team in counting the homeless on Census Day, but that must’ve been an experience having Director Groves observe on the enumerator’s first job!
    I’d agree, people don’t know how important the census is. This is an integral part of our country…figuring out how many people live in each area of the United States to get the proper number of representatives representing our area into Congress and let our voices be heard from every nook and corner of the United States. Residents need to take the time to let our enumerators fill out their sheet for them!

  4. Darlene says:

    I was actually one of the few areas that started a week earlier than the rest of the country, so I have been doing this for a while. I was very hesitant to start this job, but I have really found out that I like it. You get to meet your neighbors!

  5. As I am one of the people who have not yet turned in my census, I will comment that the census needs to move online for future efforts. I have lug my census form around for weeks and have yet to fill it out.
    Our lives are extremely busy now and filling forms out and sending it electronically makes it more likely to get information.

  6. Kim, Providing an option for completing the census is something we explored for 2010. However, earlier in the decade we researched an Internet option for 2010 and found that it didn’t provide enough protection for individual census responses. The Census Bureau is committed to getting an accurate count of the population and doing so in a way that protects the confidentiality of respondents. Also, tests for 2010 found that the Internet option didn’t increase the response rate and didn’t save money.
    We recognize the value of the Internet as a convenient option for completing the census and expect to use it for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau has a long history of using the latest technology to solve the complex challenges of counting the entire population.

  7. Lili says:

    I believe the recent passing of Immigration Law SB1070 will hinder some efforts of the census workers.

  8. Sentmineinlongago says:

    I am soo frustrated! I have received multiple messages on my answering machine asking me to call 866-851-2010 and refer to my case number. When I try to call the number it asks for a pin number, which I do not have, and there is no way to talk to a live person. What to do?????

  9. BILLBO says:

    Did you ask them when they were going to learn the language of the nation they are consuming services, blessings and all around goodness from?
    Did you ask them how many illegal friend and relatives they’ve helped drag through the process of becoming successful illegal aliens in the nation they are taking advantage of?
    Did you ask them to cite the nations PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE? After all, it IS a PLEDGE to the nation that, no doubt they are receiving MANY benefits and UN-earned rewards taken from PLEDGED AMERICAN’S paychecks.
    Say for instance, the welfare program of taking PLEDGED AMERICAN’S hard earned income from their paychecks, to hand over to these UN-pledged people and deceptively calling it the “Earned Income Credit.”
    OR is it the case you’ve been “instructed” to be politically correct,” and not ask such things that could actually lead to arresting MILLIONS of criminals?

  10. Be realistic says:

    She said they were Spanish speaking. She did not say they were illegal.

  11. Pat Wal says:

    I sent in my census paperwork three or four days after receiving it. I KNOW that I filled it out correctly and sent it in promptly. Yesterday I was out, and got a Notice of Visit stuck in my door. Why, I do not know, but I called the telephone number and got a answering machine. The message identified as a real estate appraiser. If I sent my questionaire in, why is this person bothering me? Oops, I know. Could it be, he’s doing some “fishing”?

  12. enumerator says:

    No, it’s just that we use our own phone numbers, not Census Bureau issues phones or numbers. Your enumerator is a real estate agent “in real life”, so that’s his work phone number. As far as why you showed up on the non-response list, I don’t have a clue. I’ve had lots of people tell me the same thing.

  13. Fahmeeda Hameed says:

    My son has been an enumerator since April and he has not gotten paid. He seems to be getting the run around.

  14. justwondering says:

    I’ve heard that some people who are U.S. Citizens do not intend to file their census forms, no matter what, and won’t answer their doors when the census worker visits. I don’t understand their reasons, perhaps they just want to try to remain anonymous but I’m wondering what will happen to them. Will the census takers just give up?

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