My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

A call for clarity: What’s ‘living somewhere else’?

This MyTwoCensus employee received his census form in the mail today, and immediately ripped it open to start filling the form out.

Most questions were very clear. Race? White. Name? Evan Goldin.

However, one question was not so clear: “Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?”

I spend time in Lake Tahoe at a cabin that I rent with a dozen other friends. Does that necessitate a checkmark for this question under “Yes — as a season or second residence.” My roommate stays at his girlfriend’s house a lot. Should that get a checkbox under “For another reason?”

The title of the question seems to make things clear, but it’s unclear what qualifies as “sometimes,” and no implications are clarified either (does this mean I shouldn’t fill out the form?).

What do you think? Anything else that was unclear? Care to clear this question up?

7 Responses to “A call for clarity: What’s ‘living somewhere else’?”

  1. Ron Wright Says:

    Mr. Goldin:
    The question “Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?” is intended to find out residency. Of course, if you vacation in Lake Tahoe for several weeks each year it is not your permanent residence. In this case, you would put the address where you now live. If your grandfather, for instance, has a home a few blocks from you, but spends eight months (from September one year to May the next year) in Florida because it’s warmer he would put his Florida address on the form. Does this clarify the question’s intent?

  2. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    List the place where you spend the majority of your time. Period. End of story. The only people who may have some trouble in this department are snowbirds who spend half of their year in one place and half of their year in another. – SRM

  3. paco Says:

    Or people who are stupid and cannot think for themselves.

  4. Avi Says:

    As far as selecting a residence at which to fill out the form, Stephen has it. The official blog addressed the snowbird question a couple of months ago.

    The question for individuals (Question 10) is a bit different. Judging by the online version of the Questionnaire Reference Book, page 15, they’re interested in any place where the person stays regularly or a group quarters where the person stayed on April 1. The information is supposed to be used as the first step in unduplication efforts to try to prevent what happened in 2000, when people counted at two addresses yielded a net overcount.

    If you’re really unsure what counts as “somewhere else,” there’s always Telephone Questionnaire Assistance: 1-866-872-6868.

  5. joe crede Says:

    It’s much easier to blog it out than it is to call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center, isn’t it?

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  7. johnson Says:

    j c

    it’s so much easier to blog if you ignore info on all the official web sites you’ve been picking at for months

    and pretend there’s some problem that hasn’t been addressed