I filled out my census form today. It's the third time I've done so, having previously spoken to a census taker in 2000 and filling out my family's form in 1990.
Yes, I filled out the census when I was 10. I asked my parents if I could, they said yes and they gave me the information. Among other things, it asked for detailed information on every resident in the house, annual income and even who in the household filled out the form. Even then, I wondered if the fact that a 10-year-old boy had filled out the form meant they were going to count it. I believe Louisiana lost a seat after the 1990 census, so I'm guessing maybe they didn't. Sorry.
Ten years later, I was home alone when a census taker came calling. She said we hadn't filled out our form, so she proceeded to ask me very noninvasive questions about how many people lived at our house, our ages, etc. More interesting is that 2000 was the year of the Really Invasive Census, in which select citizens got a detailed questionnaire on everything from their employment to how often a week they had sex. My grandparents received one of these forms, and my understanding was that they had agreed to do it. But they both died in 1999, so I kept it and only wish I'd brought it with me to Missouri so I could scan it for you. Maybe one of these days...
Despite much criticism, 2000 was the first time, I think ever, that more people answered the census than in the previous decade. I don't see how that's the case, but that's what they said at the time, and that's all good.
After filling out my form this year, which had assurances that this information is not accessible to anyone but the Census Bureau, I was almost disappointed at how little there was to say. I'm Ian. I'm white. I rent. Here's my phone number. Take that, Michele Bachmann!
Just like the tea parties protested government spending and higher taxes after being silent in the Bush years and after Obama lowered payroll and income taxes, this anti-census sentiment when it's asking less than ever seems moot. Just another poorly timed protest from a group of Obama critics who lost their compass years ago.
It's just too bad so many of them are deciding not to count.