Hey, it’s all very very confidential

Census information, that is.

I’m counting people, and it’s pretty cool.

Four days of intensive training, mostly learning how to deal with peculiarities:
Whadda ya do if a once inhabited trailer isn’t there any more?
Or a shared custody kid is at his Dad’s on Thursdays.
Or someone was in a vacation home on


Cos we’re only counting where people were on that exact day.
So that we won’t be counting them more than once.

And I’m learning kinds of fancy Government Terminology.
(It isn’t a timesheet, it’s a form D-308)

And getting all kinds of information and training about how to handle completely confidential PII.
(That’s personally identifiable information to you peons).
Because the Census is really, really confidential.

Those forms you all (I hope) filled out aren’t available to anyone at all for 72 years.
No one.
Not immigration, not the city zoning people, not your neighbors, not even someone else in the Census Bureau who might just feel curious.
Not even Homeland Security.
Nobody gets anything except statistical compilations.


And Censuses are important.
Everyone does censuses.
Like William the Conqueror and the Doomsday Book, or Caesar Augustus numbering all mankind.

Or my mom.
Who worked in the 1930 Census.
She drove her used Model T Ford all over little dirt roads on the eastern shore of Maryland, driving around trying to find farms, and being put up at farmhouses with families, cos there wasn’t anywhere else.
Compared to which I’ve got it easy.
I’m just walking around my own neighborhood, counting people.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I was unemployed in 1990, so I worked the Census in my county. I got lucky in that I enumerated a large very rural area … and therefore got paid time AND mileage (and the mileage was pretty generous).But, yeah, I also had a lot of suspicious people wondering what I was doing snooping around houses that hadn't been occupied in years … and some that looked that way even though folks did actually live there.And I met every dog in the area … some a little more "personally" than I wanted to.


  2. Ah, the only dog I've encountered so far was a fuzzy dustmop interested in my socks.We lamented that I couldn't count Zoe, who is obviously a person, and went on from there.Is fun.


  3. How cool that your mom did it as well! (And yes, I filled mine out!) Have fun =)


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