April 1, 2010

With the exception of Rossmoor, Walnut Creek is slacking off on the Census

I filled out our family’s U.S. Census form and mailed it back. What a good citizen I am. I guess.

I happen to be a census geek, digging around different data tables, trying different queries. The census is a  goldmine for data about the United States and local communities. It provides a picture of who we are, where we come from, and how we live. 

Cities are particularly keen on making sure the census gets accurate numbers of the people who live within their borders. There are big bucks at stake, which are especially crucial for geographic areas in these tough economic times.

“When you fill out your 2010 census form, you help determine how more than $400 billion a year is distributed to communities," the census website says. On Walnut Creek’s website it reads: “Census participation is important, especially in today's tight economic environment, because per-capita federal funding is tied to census count. Our community stands to lose about $11,450 in federal funding for each person who goes uncounted.” 

So far, on National Census Day, Walnut Creek’s participation stands at only 59 percent. We might have our very civic-minded residents of Rossmoor to thank for scoring just a bit better than the 52-percent national participation rate. According to the Contra Costa Times, more than 75 percent of households in the Walnut Creek retirement community already have mailed back their 2010 census forms, the highest rate of any Bay Area neighborhood.

The city as a whole is doing a bit better than those bigger slackers in San Ramon (52 percent); Danville (57 percent); Pleasant Hill (55 percent); Martinez (57 percent); and Concord (51 percent). But we’re not keeping up with those Lamorinda overachievers: Lafayette, 61 percent; Orinda, 61 percent; and Moraga, 63 percent. You can view this map to see how communities are doing. 

Those Lamorinda numbers are up there with the top five states in census participation rates: the Dakotas, North and South; Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa. (To be snarky, one might say that there’s not a lot else to do in some parts of those states than to fill out a Census form. )You can view maps showing regions and communities and their participation rates at the U.S. Census website.

Starting in May, federal census workers will start walking the streets, visiting the homes of those who have not completed their forms.

If you didn’t receive a Census form in the mail, and want to avoid that visit and participate in this once-in-a-decade count, you can pick up forms in the City Hall lobby, 1666 North Main Street.  


Anonymous said...

I never received my form. I received the notice that one was coming, but not the form itself. My fiance didn't receive hers either. I wonder how many WC residents just didn't get their form.

Anonymous said...

My census form will show I'm a single adult with five kids so WC gets as much money as possible.

Do it for the children!

Married with No Kids

Anonymous said...

I only answered one question: How many people live here (as that is all we are obligated to answer).

I then took a black sharpie and wrote N/A Unconstitutional on all other questions.

When the workers come to my door I plan to tell them to get the F' off my property or I will call the cops.

Take that you government thugs.

Masterlock said...

I did think the questions were pretty invasive, but filled the damn thing out any way. Maybe it will get us some more money for the damn library.

Anonymous said...

My form asked how many people living at the house on April 1. So I waited until today to count the people (never know when you might have an unexpected visitor) and send it back. Can we assume that everyone who sent it back before April 1 knew for certain how many people would be in the house today? Perhaps everyone who hasn't returned it yet was waiting to follow the instructions on the form.

Huston Meadows said...

There was an interview on PBS News Hour on March 31st with census director Robert Groves. That interview is still on-line at the News Hour website. Groves said that this year's census was designed to not be overly intrusive and that it asked virtually no more information than the original census in 1790.

Answering before April 1 was fine, he said, if people were confident that there would be no additional residents by April 1 and that there were no impending deaths.

I hope that everyone will cooperate in this effort which is intended to provide data allowing fair allocation of representation in Congress and fair distribution of Federal spending. I'm not saying the census forces fair allocation but it does make it possible.

Clayton Clipboard said...

I haven't received my form yet (in Clayton) - I WANT to fill it out, and have tried to find out how to get one, but it looks like I can't even call to say I need a form until April 12!

I wonder how many others didn't get forms?

Anonymous said...

above post was not from Clayton clipboard...sorry...don't know how that name got on it.

Anonymous said...

Yes be good little sheeple and let just a little more of your privacy and freedom slip away.

I Took the Pledge said...

Hey 5:19,

The census is required by the Constitution of the United States of America.

If you don't pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, you don't have to live here.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 5:48 (aka dumbass),

The only thing required by the constitution is the answer to question 1, all the other questions are unconstitutional invasions of privacy. I suggest you retake civics as you clearly have no concept.

I Took the Pledge said...

Hello ANONYMOUS (and evidently very shy) 8:39

This is "I Took the Pledge", not Anon 5:48 (I'm not as shy as you are).

You may call my hind end unintlligent but I am not alone. Here is a commentary I picked up just now from:

History of the Census
The first census began more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 Census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts. The pay allowed for the 1790 "enumerators" was very small, and did not exceed $1 for 50 people properly recorded on the rolls.

The First Federal Congress established a special committee to prepare the questions to be included in the first census. The suggestions were likely debated in the House, and according to a report in a Boston newspaper, Virginia Representative James Madison recommended at least five of the initial six questions.

The six inquiries in 1790 called for questions on gender, race, relationship to the head of household, name of the head of household, and the number of slaves, if any. Marshals in some states went beyond these questions and collected data on occupation and the number of dwellings in a city or town.

The 2010 questionnaire is one of the shortest in history, and comes very close to the length and scope of inquiries asked in 1790. Everyone in the household answers seven questions: name, gender, race, ethnicity, and whether they sometimes live somewhere else. The head of household answers how many people live in the residence, whether it is a house, apartment, or mobile home, and provides a telephone number for Census workers to follow up if any information is incomplete or missing.

The first census in 1790 was managed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State. Marshals took the census in the original 13 states plus the districts of Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont, and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee). Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was nominal supervisor of the census on Census Day, August 2, 1790.
The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to carry out the census in "such manner as they shall by Law direct" (Article I, Section 2). The Founders of our fledgling nation had a bold and ambitious plan to empower the people over their new government. The plan was to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to determine representation in the Congress.

Enshrining this invention in our Constitution marked a turning point in world history. Previously censuses had been used mainly to tax or confiscate property or to conscript youth into military service. The genius of the Founders was taking a tool of government and making it a tool of political empowerment for the governed over their government.

Questions beyond a simple count are Constitutional

It is constitutional to include questions in the decennial census beyond those concerning a simple count of the number of people. On numerous occasions, the courts have said the Constitution gives Congress the authority to collect statistics in the census. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court characterized as unquestionable the power of Congress to require both an enumeration and the collection of statistics in the census. The Legal Tender Cases, Tex.1870; 12 Wall., U.S., 457, 536, 20 L.Ed. 287. In 1901, a District Court said the Constitution's census clause (Art. 1, Sec. 2, Clause 3) is not limited to a headcount of the population and "does not prohibit the gathering of other statistics, if 'necessary and proper,' for the intelligent exercise of other powers enumerated in the constitution, and in such case there could be no objection to acquiring this information through the same machinery by which the population is enumerated." United States v. Moriarity, 106 F. 886, 891 (S.D.N.Y.1901).

Anonymous said...

Hey Pledger dude (aka sheep of the government),

anon 8:39 here - all your idiotic post shows is that you know about wikipedia and the copy paste function on your computer.

You can cite everything in the damn world, that isn't going to change the fact that when some idiot census taker comes to my door they will be told to get the F off my property or the cops will be called.

You are just a mindless sheep of ACORN and the government.

I Took the Pledge said...

Anon 9:28,

Whteher or not you are a citizen of the United States of America,I suggest:

Now is the time for all good people work for the good of our country.

Anonymous said...

My form wasn't invasive at all. It asked some personal data about my family members like race, age, etc. It took five minutes to complete and mail.

Anonymous said...

Let the constitutional 'experts' go. Most assuredly they're White. The Census determines federal funding for community projects. Two of my kids are Mexican-American and two are Native American. Native Americans are underrepresented in urban and suburban areas, and I hope that the Census will change that.

If Latinos participate in high numbers, it will benefit the Latino community. If the Whites don't complete their race/ethnicity part, they're only hurting themselves.

Anonymous said...

What a sad life "the person who wants to call the cops if he or she gets a visit from the census workers" must have. All that anger sounds like he or she is very lonely. How very, very sad.....

Anonymous said...

Last night on the news it said that Walnut Creek had the highest rate of returned forms at 62% in the Bay Area.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Well, it looks like Walnut Creekans pushed their participation rate up yesterday to 62 percent.

Go, Walnut Creek! But we're still behind Lamorinda towns, with Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga, ranging from 64 to 67 percent.

This rate changes daily.

Anonymous said...

You send in more sensitive information on your tax return, and unlike the IRS, the Census Bureau is required by law to not share any primary data (only statisics) with any other government agency.

Leave off your name, if you like, but I don't see an imposition or invasion of privacy by asking about age, sex, race, or ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:57,

You are the biggest douchebag I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I also waited until 4/1 to mail mine, like a tax form. Bet our stats go way up this week.

Anonymous said...

I just made a bunch of stuff up. I figured if I didn't fill it out with something that ACORN would fill it our for me.

Parkmead Steve said...

Your link to the census map site is missing a digit. You have:

Should be