Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Census

As the Constitution requires, all of America is going to be censized this year, as the commercial below tells us.

The census is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but it is bloody expensive. This year's census is expected to cost nearly $15 billion. The link above includes more detail about cost overruns and poor expense management and planning that have contributed to this high price.

The Census Bureau is blowing it big time, though. Their strategy is to send out a questionnaire, and send a field agent to any households that don't respond. But they could probably save a bundle on postage if people could simply fill out the questionnaire online. Seriously, in 2010 I can renew my license plates and pay personal property taxes online, but I can't tell the government how many people live in my house? The census website proclaims that they are "experimenting with Internet response options for the future." This seems like it should have been step 1 for the Census Bureau.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow. Just when I thought the government's gross inefficiency couldn't get any worse...

Mom said...

Plus, I just read that everybody should have the sense to mail their form in. The lazy or disorganized people who don't mail it back, are costing the taxpayers $65 for the follow-up visits! I hope I get a long form because I love to do surveys!

David said...

Unfortunately, I believe it is only 10 questions, so you might be out of luck!

Mrs. Haid said...

Wasn't it interesting that we got a letter saying "there will be another letter in a week" this week?

Also, I really like doing surveys, too. As a HS senior, my class was a part of this longitudinal study called http://monitoringthefuture.org/ and every 2 years I fill out long surveys for them about my happiness, professional goals, and drug uses. They also include a check for 20 in the questionnaire.

Maybe if the US Census mailed us $20 checks they would save $45 on several houses. Cost effective... probably not. Hopefully not!!