Census Steals More Than Privacy

Census Steals More Than Privacy


By Jennifer Seifi

After coming home from a long day at work, settling on the couch with my feet up and television set to a show I’m actually interested in, the doorbell rings.

Now why would I actually want to get up and answer the door right after I got home?What could be so important?To my lovely surprise, it’s a census worker.Now I know that if I don’t answer the door, he’ll leave a message stating that he’ll come back.  If I don’t respond when he comes back, I could be fined up to $100.00.


As much as I don’t want to respond to this census worker, I am obligated by law.If the government gets involved with fining those who don’t respond, can’t they just answer the census for us?Everything we do is on file from parking tickets to our homes on Google map.  You’re meaning to tell me they don’t have our address on file?I’m sure that they do.We should not have pay $100 if we decide to not reiterate personal information to a strange census worker that comes to our door.


The rules from the 1980’s still apply to 2010 when it comes to the census.Census information asks for our address, sex, race, phone number, age, relationships to those in your household, rent, etc.This information is said to help your community receive more than $400 billion in federal funds to help things like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public work projects, and emergency services.


On the census form, my ethnicity is inquired.  However, the census does not need to know my ethnicity in order to build a bridge or any other public works project.  Therefore, the census questions seem irrelevant.Not to mention, the census is conducted every 10 years.But it wasn’t very long ago where women weren’t even counted in the census.  Why should gender matter either?


Now, keep in mind that if I didn’t fill this out, I could even be sent to jail. It has been known that random citizens are prosecuted if they don’t fill out the census.They are just being used as a scare tactic and example.So why not just fill it out?


Security is a large concern of citizens when filling out the census.After reading the 2010 census website, it is stated that after 72 years the information is made public.This amount of time is still within a person’s lifetime.Since I am 20 years old, the census was taken when I was ten.  So when I am 82, my information from when I was ten years old will be public.This means that people can find out the address I lived in during my childhood, how many siblings I had, etc.If I wanted somebody to know that information, I would tell them.I shouldn’t have to worry about somebody looking up my information and succeeding in receiving personal facts.I don’t even have any proof that the census worker knocking at my door is even legitimate.


Years ago the census just asked how many people lived at your address.I am not sure why all of this extra information is needed.According to Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the census is allowed to request the total number of people that live at an address.I can see the point of reporting my relationship of those in the household if it actually made sense in receiving funds for our local hospital.


I’m not sure when it became a crime to disclose personal information and then be fined for doing so.It’s even more unfortunate knowing that the government is inconsistent on who they pick on.Somebody can get away with not filling out the census, where other people are either just fined or fined and prosecuted.So, should I answer that door?


I’m a student who lives from paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford a surprise expense.I also do not want to become prosecuted and ruin my career before it even starts.Unfortunately, I am forced to comply with the census and make my personal information public.


There are so many other ways that the government can do a headcount.They have all of our information and know where we all live.Why not take those citizen-harassing census workers and have them go through the files that the government already owns?

This would be the first step in knowing that your information is going to the correct people.Nobody would have to worry about being fined or prosecuted.  Nobody would worry about finding a time to call the census worker back to create a new meeting session.  A change for the better would be created.

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