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.

Teens answering the door for 2010 Census enumerators

MyTwoCensus has received a number of angry complaints from readers’ whose kids, in their teens, have completed their 2010 Census forms on behalf of their parents when enumerators come to the door. In Colorado, the media has picked up on this as well:

Watch the video HERE…

It started with a knock at the door, only April Stark says she never knew it.
She was in the lower level of her house and says she came upstairs to find her son Zach talking to a stranger… who was asking about their family.
Zach says the U.S. Census worker asked if he could come inside which was a little unnerving.
Zach says, “I didn’t want to let him in my house ever since my brother’s ipod was stolen by a guy that came to work for awhile in our house.”
Zach says he also was uncomfortable because he didn’t know the answers to all of the questions.
Zach says, “yeah… some of them I had no clue.”
The Starks don’t understand why the worker talked to Zach when he knew that April was home, too.
Zach says, “When I turned to go find my mom… he said, anyone 15 years and older can answer these questions so you can just stay here and answer them.”
April says, “He informed me that he was doing nothing wrong and that he was legally allowed by the Census Bureau to ask anyone over 15 these questions.”
April says she later called the local Census office and workers were sympathetic, but said the rules are the rules. Anyone 15 and older is considered qualified to answer questions of the household.
Deb Muehleisen, a partnership specialist with the Denver Regional Census Center says the census taker made some mistakes.
Deb says, “I would have felt the same way to find a stranger sitting in my living room with my child there so that was inappropriate of that census taker to ask to come inside.”
Muehleisen says the policy of questioning teens was decided by Census officials in Washington.
She adds, “I can share that concern with our team. As a matter of fact, I’m having a regional meeting on Monday and I’m happy to share that concern.”
April says she’s making a point to tell friends and family about what happened…hoping the word will get back to Uncle Sam so ten years from now… young teens can’t be targeted just adults.
We’re told the last day for census takers to be going door to door is July 10th.
Officials say the local office has completed about 50% of its work.

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16 Responses to “Teens answering the door for 2010 Census enumerators”

  1. WT Says:

    haha. If the asshat respondents would simply mail in their forms promptly, this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Of course not everyone got a form in the mail, etc. etc.

  2. Laney Says:

    Good God. This wasn’t an 8-year old, it was a 15-year old. Everyone can stop clutching their pearls now.

    Now asking to come in, that was an obvious mistake. If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that.

  3. MotleyCrewLeader Says:

    Seriously…its one thing to complain about mismangement and waste but to make something like this an issue is stupid. Certian media outlets are making Census workers sound like zombies from dawn of the dead or potential mass murderers.

  4. allure.nobell Says:

    We were under a lot of pressure to get information from any family member we could get our hands on. It doesn’t surprise me that the census worker did not ask for an adult when he had what the census bureau considers a viable source for information.
    We went back and forth a lot about proxy statements as well. At one point, we were told by our LCO that proxy statements would not be accepted, end of story. It was the main source or nothing, so when I ran into a neighbor, I didn’t press them for information. Then I was scolded for not doing so.

  5. Juan Says:

    Obviously the way to do this job is to invent the proxy names, tell the CL the proxy didn’t have a phone number, and make the shit up.

    Do about ten of these cases in fifteen minutes, fill out your 308 for eight hours, and on the way home pick up a 30 pack of Coors lite.

    Isn’t this what everybody else is doing?

  6. anonymous Says:

    News Flash: kids are dumb

  7. anonymous Says:

    Unprofessional and inappropriate to ask to enter a home.

  8. Mike Says:

    @Juan
    That doesn’t really work. All EQs with no contact info is sent out again, sometimes to different Enumerators. If those folks find out the info you jotted down is bogus, things could get problematic. Of course, this assumes one has a CL that cares about the job.

  9. CLA Dave Says:

    Man, the instructions sure do vary from crew to crew. We were told we are not to request entry. If we are invited in, we are to accept only if we feel certain it is safe.

  10. ntsc Says:

    I would point out that a certain number of contacts are called to find out if the census really did speak with them.

  11. Nobody nowhere Says:

    I’ve done some CI’s with teens who felt comfortable giving out the information, and I’ve spoken with other teens who felt totally uncomfortable giving out their information. In the latter cases, which were the majority, I arranged to return when an adult was at home.

    Regarding entering the home, I have had respondents invite me inside, and I’ve accepted with no problems. However, I was told during training to never enter a home unless we are invited inside.

  12. nerfoo Says:

    Oh, how I wish enumerators would stop asking to go inside, forcing themselves inside, asking questions outside of the form, making political statements regarding citizenship, etc. The job’s hard enough to do without people hating or fearing us.

  13. AxionJackson Says:

    Showing again that Morse is only interested in either creating a controversy or stoking any ridiculous fears about 15 year olds answering the Census.

    this blogger is only interested in dumping on gov’t workers and gov’t, using crocodile tears for the “plight” of Census workers only to invent issues and problems — when there are plenty of real ones to deal with

  14. Nowheresville NY Says:

    While doing the interview with a 15 year old is allowable, if the guy says his mom’s home it’s more like a good rule of thumb to ask him to get her, because you’ll likely get better answers. If Mom says she’s busy, then work with the teen.

  15. end the census Says:

    This is just wrong, questioning minors in a matter of legal import. If they provide inaccurate information, the adults of the home will be held legally liable (“fines, imprisonment, or both”).

  16. Fire Angel Says:

    Sure, a 15 year old can count, so let them tell the census person the number of people who live there as that’s all the law allows to be required – then the kid can close the door, census finished (oh, the simplicity of a child). All the remaining questions are voluntary and refusing to answer the unconstitutional intrusion into your privacy is encouraged, and perhaps recommended by all those asians incarcerated during the war to end all wars (what a joke on us!). Questions regarding race, sex, etc. became illegitimate over a century ago (i.e. once blacks became full citizens they can no longer be counted as a partial person for enumeration purposes, neither can only land owners be the only ones counted as full persons, etc.) Let’s stop the federal intrusion into area they have never been constitutionally allowed into – they want a number required by the constitution, sure here it is – but all the rest is going to be used against you so beware ;-)