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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

None of Your Business

The 2010 Census form arrived yesterday. I got an immediate chuckle.

The first thing it asks is now many people were “living or staying in this apartment, house, or mobile home on April 1, 2010″ (emphasis added.) Odd. If this is a national head count, why does the government want to know how many guests I had on April 1? Ah, that question is answered: “The Census must also include people without a permanent place to stay.” But what if I had guests who do have a permanent place to stay?

Anyway, Question 2 had me scratching my head of thinning hair:

“Were there any addtional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?” I expected a follow-up: “Well, why didn’t you include them before, you idiot? Can’t you read?”

Several categories of people are then listed, but you need only X the box next to a category, not provide a number. One of the categories is “People staying here temporarily.” Someone smarter than I will have to explain all this.

The rest of the form is for disclosing information about everyone in the house. You are required to provide each person’s sex, age, date of birth, relationship to the person filling out the form, race, and Hispanic origin or lack thereof. Hispanic origin is broken down into Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and other. It must also be disclosed whether each person sometimes lives or stays elsewhere. I expected a follow-up: “Where?”

I don’t know about you, but I find this rather nosy. That I’m threatened with a fine up to $5,000 if I don’t knuckle under is highly offensive.

  • Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families and thousands of articles.