I was surfing the net on Tuesday and found a blog post on The Texas Tribune about how there is "concern" that Texans haven't responded to the Census like other states. According to that report, we're lagging behind the rest of the country. Oh, we're behind to the tune of like seven percent. Some Texas cities have response rates around 25 percent.
When we received our Census, I waited one day to fill it out and put it in the mail. I wasn't trying to buck the system. I just took my time. Technically, the form says the Census is taking a snapshot of the country on April 1. If something in our family changed by April 1, ie the baby arrived almost two months early — I was going to have bigger things to worry about than whether or not my household was accurately reflected in the Census.
Why is sending the Census form so important?
Well, it's easier and cheaper, if you simply mail the form back. If the Census Bureau doesn't receive your form, you'll be getting a followup in the form of a a Census worker showing up at your door.
While you may think you're helping the economy by giving this person a job, it's not really helping. I saw one interview saying it costs the government around 42 cents for you to respond by mail, but costs around $60 — if someone has to report to your house. How is that helping control our federal tax dollars?
The Census director's statement reported on The Texas Tribune said "For every percentage increase in mail response, the bureau estimates it saves $85 million in taxpayer money."
Sure, you may not like the idea of the Census. You may not like the millions they have spent advertising the Census and encouraging people to fill out the forms. You may not even like the 10 questions on the form. You may not believe it's the government's business to know who lives in your home.
If you believe whole-heartedly in that last line — "You don't want the government in your business" — you really, really should fill out the form to prevent a government worker from knocking on your door. All the Census workers want to do is count the number of folks under the roof — nothing more nothing less.
This is one of those times where it's really easier and cheaper for us all, if you just mail in the form. The whole idea of the Census is to count Americans across the country. The numbers are used to dole out government monies, grants, etc. It really helps your local community to be counted.