I was one of those temporary U.S. Census workers gathering information around Bonney Lake/Lake Tapps recently. I want to express my thanks to all who complied. Nearly 100 percent of my respondents were cooperative and friendly. Some did not understand the purpose of the Census, but were glad to fill out the form when it was explained to them. Upon completion of the questionnaire, many people commented that it was surprisingly simple. Some asked, “Is that all there is to it?”
Why do we need to count the people who live in our country? Briefly, the U.S. Census is required by the U.S. Constitution to be performed every ten years. First and foremost, the information determines the number of Representatives in the House of Representatives of our Congress. It also determines the number of people in a given community, so as to provide federal funds per capita. Each person counted brings about $1,200 to her/his community for transportation, libraries, roads, police and fire, and dozens of other public services. The collected data are used immediately for planning purposes. Personal information like names, ages, and addresses are held for seventy years! People who refused to fill out the form directly hurt their own communities.
Unfortunately, an irresponsible anti-American faction (voiced by U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, entertainer Glenn Beck, and others) was publicly misrepresenting the census questionnaire, taking a stand against the U.S. Constitution, modeling non-cooperation with the federal government, and promoting fear and anger. Here, ignorance is not bliss; ignorance is dangerous. Although my experience was positive overall, there were hundreds of assaults on surveyors around the country.
Again, thank you to all the fine people who made my job more pleasant by your compliance with the law of the land and your willingness to work with me and my coworkers. Our community will be better off for it. Perhaps next time in 2020, more households will complete and return the mailed questionnaires, thus eliminating the need for a home visit, which in turn would save the government millions of dollars.
Barbara M. Andrews,