As The Nonresponse Followup Proceeds …

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

As of Sunday, we have completed and checked-in about 44 million enumerator forms for this operation of the approximately 47 million; we’re at about 93% complete in this operation. We are somewhat ahead of schedule and certainly under-budget. Again, this is a testament to the fine skills of our field staff for the 2010 Census.

At this point, the work on this phase will start declining and some enumerators will not be given further work. A portion of these enumerators will be re-activated when we begin the next operation, double-checking vacant housing units and those we deleted as non-existent.

However, for many we will have to say our goodbyes. It is to them that this entry is dedicated –

You were among the best labor force for a decennial census in decades; you brought to the census family the strongest set of skills and intelligence, the best work experience, incredible flexibility, and a strong devotion to serving the American public by devoting your talents to the 2010 Census. On behalf of the full Census Bureau family, I thank you for your service to the country, and I wish you well in the next steps in your careers. I hope some of the experiences you had during this massive, complicated, messy effort will provide knowledge that makes you a better employee in your next endeavor. Thank you again.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to ask.census.gov

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43 Responses to As The Nonresponse Followup Proceeds …

  1. Jeff says:

    You never came to my house! According to this website I was supposed to get a visit because I didn’t fill out all my form?

  2. Ron says:

    Who is the missive from?

  3. Ron says:

    Hi Jeff;
    What’s your address? we will be right over!
    Ron

  4. RedDogMama says:

    Don’t know where you live, but I will say, as an enumerator in a Crew District with 1640 enumerations to complete, we had many people who either did not answer the door, or were not home at the time of our visit. We tried to find a knowledgeable proxy to give us at least the minimum amount of information. Like the number of people who live at the location, or whether or not the housing unit was occupied on April 1st.
    We would leave numerous “Notice of Visit” forms with a name and phone number to contact. Even so, I had few people who actually called me back. I also had many people who would refuse to give me any information. That was the tough part of the job….

  5. katie says:

    Words of Wisdom!

  6. J says:

    As a crew leader in SC I and other CLs were required by our FOS to immedietly stop NRFU. We were less than 90% completed. Some households had not been visited at all. We were told only to determine if a house was occupied, and then turn in population unknown. Because of the time limit put on us (one day) we could only drive by a house and make the determination. This was June 4, so that was not Census Day status. I feel that this does not give an accurate and honest count. I do not know why we were stopped so abruptly.

  7. Ellie says:

    I spend 4 to 5 of the winter months in Florida – when the census people came to my house in PA – they informed me because I was not in PA on 4/1 – I am classified as seasonal in PA??? – I don’t consider 7 or 8 months seasonal – especially since I vote in PA – how come?????

  8. Jeff says:

    Oh I would love to give it to you! I was so looking forward to having fun with you guys. I’m in Tennessee!

  9. Maureen says:

    Jeff, do you suppose it’s possible that someone else got the form originally mailed to your address, filled it out & sent it in? If so, the census thinks that your address has already been counted. This happens from time to time, that mail is delivered to the wrong address. I had a few apartment buildings that were mixed up in that way. But, I also know from personal experience that the mail carrier sometimes brings me my neighbor’s mail and vice versa.
    Have you tried calling your local census office? They might be able to let you know whether your address has been counted, yet.

  10. Gilda Avila says:

    Even though I enjoyed working with the Census I’ve had numerous problems with getting paid. The Census still owes me two weeks worth of pay & it’s been over 4 weeks since I’ve tried to fix the problem!!!! Horrible mess!!!
    Gilda

  11. Anon says:

    I wonder why the management style at the census is so dysfunctional. We get threatened to lose our jobs at every meeting. Upper management is rude and discourteous. We were told we were the worst office in the nation, while the group that I was in was 12% above the national average. An upper management person told a group of crew leaders, clas, and enumerators that since he was Chinese, his work ethic was better and his expectations higher. We sent our four best enumerators to his district, to help out, and everyone of them quit due to his abuse. Every day I am told it is my last day, and every nite I get a call to report to work the next day. Last nite I was called and informed that there was a meeting @ 8 am, and if I didn’t attend I would be fired. I joined 18 other clas, and they had 17 EQs to pass out. When I asked for a map (the EQ I received was outside my area) I was snapped at.
    If this were a business, it would never survive. There is no reason to treat people this way. The upper management are obviously very impressed by themselves, but in reality, we are all just people, unemployed and working a temporary job that is well beneath our skill set. This is not rocket science.

  12. Colleen Jane McGrath says:

    Dear Dr.Groves – If we were indeed as you write on your blog: “among the best labor force for a decennial census in decades; you brought to the census family the strongest set of skills and intelligence, the best work experience, incredible flexibility, and a strong devotion to serving the American public by devoting your talents to the 2010 Census.”
    Then why are we allowed to be treated with complete disrespect by the local Census Offices that apparently believe in ruling with negative reinforcement in an environment of fear and maltreatment and protection under the guise of the “chain of command”; summarily dismissing any suggestions from those of us that are working in the field. Not to mention that NOTHING we we received as training was held up once we started in the field. We were woefully under-trained for real field experiences.
    Every thing that we were taught in class was re-written at least once and realistically, several times. Why bother with the training, which, by the way was completely inadequate?? The only reason I have not QUIT although I have wanted to at least twenty times is because, as you stated, I possess ” a strong devotion to serving the American public by devoting your talents to the 2010 Census”. The area I am enumerating in was significantly under-counted in 2000 Census and I do not want that to happen again, but you need to know that management tactics of CENSUS 2010 are insufferable. I will be too old to work 2020 Census, but if that were not the case, there is no way I would work for this organization again. You should be ashamed of the actions of your staff!!! I hope that you or one of your aides read this and I am happy to include my name. If I am contacted by email I would be happy to provide my LCO and ID number. And, I plan to write a letter to my Senators, Congressman and President Obama about my experiences as well once NRFU is completed.
    CENSUS 2010 as an employer leaves much to be desired. And as ANON blogged on 6/16/2010 “If this were a business, it would never survive”. I second his comment.

  13. correy says:

    Only you know which house you classify as HOME.That’s the residence you use and you can say Seasonal if you do not fill it out in the other Florida. The census determines the House of Reps. There for if you vote in PA. You claim residency in PA.

  14. C says:

    I can only say —-don’t stress. Upper management has created the chaos and soon it will all end.

  15. Robin says:

    In some ways this is true – April 1st is “census day” but if you were not counted in Florida, you can be counted in PA. Since PA is your “usual” home and you were simply away vacationing on Census day, then you should be counted in PA.
    These are difficult situations for enumerators and what you say can be easily misinterpreted if you aren’t clear that your “usual” home is in PA. Simply call your local Census office and explain the situation and someone will call or come back to you.

  16. d says:

    we try our best to get to every house that is in our binders as soon as possible

  17. Mary Menot says:

    Its no better in TX. The rules change everyday and whats okay in the AM is no good by PM. I am a CL and have had several good enumerators quit because of this. Shakeup in our LCO left us in the lurch. EQs get processed under rules that are different that the rules that were in place when they were enumerated so POOF here comes 10eqs back a month after the binder was turned in. I have eqs that have been visited 20-30 times and the word is still”DONT ATTEMPT TO TURN THESE IN”. So frustrating. And dont even start about the hours. I started early April and the week following training I was putting in 60-70hrs per week. Since there is NO OT, we all claim 40 and keep our jobs. What a Sham. Oh, well. What can you expect. I hope I get picked for the next batch because 40 sham hours are better than no hours. And I cant even file for unemployment because of a law passed in April even though there was money set aside for it in the Census budget.

  18. Pete says:

    I agree with Anon. The people that I worked with are no dummies. The constant communication from on high is that we are doing so poorly and our LCO is the worst in the region.
    Our CLD is down to less than ten cases, but we can’t get work to help other CLDs. I personally cleared over 170 cases, but this week I’m sitting on my hands. Come on, manage. I don’t even know what our FOS looks like.
    As far as verifying deletes and vacancies, count me out. The look of frustration in people’s faces when they tell me how many times they tried to communicate that stuff to the Census Bureau is more than I care to deal with. People are tired of answering the same questions over and over again.
    Pro Bono Publico

  19. Ticked says:

    My CL wrongfully terminated me, destroyed my last payroll form I gave him, and invaded my privacy by coming to my home and speaking to a stranger about calling out the Federal Marshall if I didn’t turn in my maps by such and such a time. The local management office gave me an Info-Comm form to file the complaint. Stupid! I have not been paid for my last day of work, and the local office today gave me the date was worked which is incorrect. My recourse is to go to the OSC to file the complaint. osc.gov.

  20. What law is preventing you from filing for unemployment? I am curious as to why you think you won’t qualify for it.

  21. jeff says:

    I have enjoyed my 8 weeks and counting with the Census. I have really covered a mex bag of AA’s………farms, 800K plus homes, 20K river shacks, inner city crack houses and college off campus housing…….this job is not for the faint of heart. My worst case was being chased by a bunch of dogs that knew where a hole in the fence was! Actually they were nicer than the owner!
    My worst incident was getting a ticket for a seat belt violation by a state trooper…….I got the sign in the window, badge, veterans ID…..and the guy still would not give me a warning……..don’t these people know by us counting heads they KEEP THEIR JOBS! How sad.
    I have had people offer me coffee, cookies, beer etc……..along with the usual …”I sent that in yesterday”!!!!
    I think I have become a good getting information from others about problem properties/owners………..stuff they don’t tell you in training.
    I think most of us have but a week to go but I would do it again with all the great people I have met working for the census & most people I have interviewed.

  22. OKIE says:

    Frankly, I am sick of being yelled at and insulted every time I go up to a door, because I am the 3rd, 4th, and sometimes 5th! person to visit. Yesterday a man tried to take my forms out of my hand and I had to wrestle em back out of his hands. He was simply tired of being asked the same questions over and over and over again. In our manual we are supposed to be trained for 2 days for the next phase, and now they are telling us we have to learn everything in 1 hour!!! My Crew Leader does an excellent job, and does the best she can…its totally all of the “upper management” in the LCO.

  23. minn cl says:

    Enumerators quit because the rules changed???? If they’re not capable of learning new rules or that inflexible, the census is better off without them.

  24. Donald says:

    Hello Robert Groves:
    I’ve read some of the comments that follow your blog statements, and as a Census Enumerator myself since 1990, those comments don’t merely sound like something coming from disgruntled current nor former employees. Yet much what they write could be true and many of their experiences sound like some of what I’ve witnessed, too. From the LCO that I would often describe as organized chaos, to the often ineptness of some of the FOS’s we’d seldom if ever see, to some of the Crew Leaders who often had little or no leadership abilities…to some of the enumerators who showed little if an true ability for what they were doing…to a too often uncertain sense of urgency to get the job done properly. Trust me, it’s not the pretty picture you try to paint it, Robert Groves. We’re mostly a large force of often uninformed temporary part-time employees in a dead-end job….with skills often terribly unused, while others with little or no skill or experience are often placed in management positions. The lack of communications at the enumerator level is job challenging. Then someone like me who brought the knowledge of the last two Census’s (1990, 1999-2001, & 2009-2010) and I’m merely a door-knocking Enumerator this year. But I’m not whining…because I need the work and pay. Trust me; I’ve worked hard to earn every penny of it. And I’m still proud to be a part of the Census effort even now. So all I ask, before it’s too late, is that you pause to listen to what your enumerator workforce are saying right now before the 2010 Census becomes like all the others.

  25. Tammy says:

    I received a telephone call on my cellular telephone from an individual who identified himself as a Census worker? Can someone clarify this for me? I did not know that I would be receiving telephone calls on my cellular telephone from a Census worker. As a side note: I do use my cellular telephone as my home telephone.

  26. Bob says:

    Hello, I’ve enjoyed working with the Census because I work with great people in our LCO. No question about that. We have a very good organization and LCOM. Sadly, that’s where it stops. Aside from the fact that things seem to be mandated by people with no concept of the real world, the continued daily or hourly changes, are ridiculous. Put ten people on PBOCS immediately,call them in early. Even though it goes down for maintenance for 6 hours about the time folks get to the office. No one seems to be in charge with any concept of reality. For one, the plan now is to train enumerators for VDC on July 2nd, a Friday, then have them out on Saturday, the 3rd. Aside from the fact that an awful lot of places that would normally be available to train during most week days are not going to be open past noon on the 2nd, who does the organization think is going to be available to work with enumerators during the 4th of July weekend. For the first time in a few years, this is a long 3 day weekend, with the 4th on Sunday. But somehow people in the Census office seemed to have missed that. What are they thinking? How about occasionally using a bit of common sense. Would that be so hard? So far I have not talked to one Census worker who wants to come back in 10 years and do this again. That’s the biggest shame of all.

  27. Maleva Chamberlain says:

    From Louisville, I say AMEN, AMEN, AMEN to all that Colleen has to say. I worked last spring with address canvassing QC and found it interesting, though I knew there were serious problems with the data. When I worked NRFU recently as a CL, I saw the same blocks with duplicates that I saw last spring – INFO-COMMs then didn’t do any good.
    And don’t get me started on management and the constant changes. We joked that the only rule was that the rules would change.
    Late in the effort I was assigned two new enumerators. I assigned them work and went out with them to observe them. Two days later I was told to take materials away from one. He packed everything up and walked out. I called my FOS and the LCO to report the incident immediately, but I am being blamed for providing him with work, even though I was given NO information other than his name and a phone number. So, they made a mistake and my FOS was fired and I’ve been told I won’t allowed to continue. I haven’t talked with anyone involved who isn’t frustrated and upset with the way this has been managed. Frankly, I have absolutley no interest in continuing.
    As one person noted, we were stopped abruptly. I don’t know what happened to information we were working on. I wouldn’t trust any of the information coming out of this Census .

  28. Margaret Nichols says:

    I just called the Birmingham Alabama office to find out why I am being sent to a training class on July 1st that is on the other side of town, when there is a class at a church around the corner. A simple question, but the I was treated rudely, told that there was no switching, and I could take it or leave it.
    Attending training and enumerating in your own area is more effecient and cost effective. Why is this a problem?

  29. Some cell phone numbers can be found through public records — some not. I’ve done that and it really helped. If you’re unsure if the person who is calling is Census, ask them for their Fed ID number, for them to spell their name for you and call up Census and they’ll verify. And Census will never ask you for id-theft info such as Social Security #, bank account #s or credit card #s. If anyone tries that and claims they’re Census, call the FBI.

  30. Things have gone relatively smoothly for my area in Census, aside from the changing rules about being able to self-proxy vacant HUs. There are tons of vacation homes and it was a real logjam to find the owners or locate proxies until Memorial Day weekend happened and just about everybody was visiting their Summer homes. I’m in one of the cheapie areas hapily making $11.50/hr and responsible for my work only.
    CLs get paid only $13.50 and I think the FOS makes either $14.50 or $15.50. Not much and I would NEVER take on such stress for so little money!
    Sorry to hear about others having difficulties. I wonder what it’s like doing Census in rural Alaska?

  31. Mary Menot says:

    Check it out. The congress passed a very quiet law in April exempting the majority of census workers from being able to claim unemployment. It was even in the census budget

  32. Mary Menot says:

    When I have to send enumerators out with instructions to do this a certain way and they turn in their duly enumerated forms only to come back the next day and be given the same forms back because overnight the powers that be decide it is no longer done correctly and I have to tell them to go back out and bother these people AGAIN? It’s not the enumerator that is a problem. Our area had a AMFO change about half way through this and it further screwed a screwed up system. I only wish it was organized chaos. Its only chaos

  33. OKIE-MOM says:

    Dr. Groves:
    I’m a CL. I have plenty of experience with the Census Bureau and really do care about getting an accurate count. I am concerned that my state will not get an accurate count again this time around. What happens to the information we gather. I started the last 2 censuses as an enumerator; and my information and data collection was good, but the same College has popped up in every operation. I even added it during GQV and GQE and it still came back as a HU during NRFU. Non-Response Followup implies it is to gather data from those households that did not respond. Why are they all visited as many as 7 times even before QA (RI) gets there after they responded by mailing in their questionaire? There are entire communities that have been missed! How can we call this accurate and almost complete? My LCO management has the idea that RI should be done now, even though NRFU isn’t completely done. There are so many inaccuracies! Management is also pushing so hard to finish; they don’t care if they collect the information as long as there is a count whether they’re talking to a knowledgeable person or not. We could put 12 or 1; they wouldn’t care.They just want the EQ’s done quickly. Forget about actually making sure that you’re even asking about the correct address; 3 phone calls; or 3 visits. In addition, they have no clue where anything in this area is located and won’t listen when they are informed in writing or verbally. Tat includes enumerators and me. At this rate, we will either have over-counted because we keep counting the same people or we will be undercounted because we’ve missed too many households. I don’t think they are processing the data correctly…it sure doesn’t seem that way. I’m in this for my community and my state; otherwize, I would never put up with this much chaos, this many rude people (especially LCO management), and massive inaptitude.

  34. I have to say that from what I am seeing with my own eyes, you have been given the wrong information. Unless terminated for wrong doing, unemployment is being granted for all census employees. I personally see the forms every day.

  35. Debbie Wilson says:

    Dear Dr. Groves:
    AS an Enumerator for the 2010 Census, I can only tell you that it has been a wonderful experience for me. What the Census stands for won my attention, and the fact that because I was in need of more income than my current position allowed. I know this much, while changes happened frequently, we, or atleast I for one and I truly feel that I can speak for alot of us, from cla to cl to nrfu…we preservered, because that is what you do. If you get frustrated well then you are probably doing your job, no one said to me “Hey come work with the us here at the US Census Bureau and earn fair wages and gas alllowance and by the way, it is a stress free assignment” nor did I ever expect it to be that. I only expected to be challenged, and to have and be a part of history in a manner of speaking and to meet a lot of truly wonderful people from all walks of life and I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work and be a part. It is my hope that I will get called back in mid July, however…if not, well I have no regrets. NOT ONE, Respectfully D.W.

  36. Colleen Jane McGrath says:

    Hi Donald – I completely concur with all of your statements – we, the enumerators are the ones on the front line and yet we are treated with complete disregard (or should I say DISRESPECT) by our LCOs – Lack of communications to enumerators from whom? I have never received any head office communiciations, period. Whatever communications are being sent out by Head Office intended fo enumerators never reach us and yet we are the ones doing the grunt work.
    Oh, and let us not forget the “chain of commmand” or should I say the” Protection chain of Job command”

  37. Cheryl Kimlin says:

    I was yelled at and chased by a 89 year old man. I would rather have a dog bite me.

  38. OOS says:

    You should definitely file an EEO complaint against the Chinese guy immediately and urge your co-workers to do the same. That’s racial discrimination and shouldn’t be tolerated. He could and should lose his job for misconduct for that statement. Sorry you and your coworkers had a bad experience with the census. Was all peaches n cream for our office.

  39. Bob says:

    What happened to comments that people have made since the 22nd? Including mine?

  40. CL says:

    As a CL, we were told by management to have the enumerators resign or we would terminate them for “performance” issues so they couldn’t collect unemployment. Given the options, most of my enumerators resigned.

  41. Anon says:

    I had my phone bill turned down, even though I documented the calls made on behalf of the Census. I’m tired of waiting for the next phase but cannot quit or I will no longer qualify for unemployment. So, here I sit, for almost 4 weeks, not getting paid. Another fine mess a government agency has gotten us into. My crew leader is not to blame, but I’m frustrated that I cannot get past her to the next in charge. So frustrating.

  42. Justme says:

    They must of screened them and didn’t like the comment contents, so they didn’t post them!!!!

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