Census 2010 – Brad was here

By Linda Bentley | April 21, 2010

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census notice of visitCensus Bureau deems post office box holders personas non grata

CAREFREE – The U.S. Census Bureau mailed out Census 2010 forms last month to people to street addresses across the land.

However, the Census Bureau refuses to send Census forms to a post office box.

Census Bureau workers claim it’s because they need to count the number of people living at each physical address.

Apparently, the Census Bureau has the general population pegged as too stupid to be able to differentiate between where they receive their mail and where they sleep.

And, just because there is mail carrier service to a given street address, it doesn’t mean the mail is actually delivered to that address and, in rural areas, such as Cave Creek, Carefree and unincorporated Maricopa County it isn’t. Mail is delivered instead to cluster boxes in remote locations, which have become notorious targets for thieves, check “washers” and vandals.

So, even though there is carrier service to such “street addresses,” there are many people who prefer to receive their mail at a more secure location and rent post office boxes.

A couple of weeks after mailing the first round of Census forms, the Census Bureau, in an effort to gain an additional 7 percent or so to respond, mailed a second round of forms.

Those who opt not to receive their mail at a cluster box location didn’t receive that second mailing either.

So, rather than acknowledge there are people who might receive their mail at a P.O. Box, the Census Bureau would rather send two forms to an address where people do not receive their mail.

Because the majority of Carefree residents receive their mail at a P.O. Box, Census Bureau employees told them not to worry as Census employees would be in the field going door to door to obtain Census information.

Sure enough, Census workers hit the streets a couple weeks ago when most people were at work.

However, if no one was home, the Census worker left an official “Notice of Visit” Form D-26 stating, “I stopped by today to complete a census interview for your household, but you were not home. Please telephone me to discuss when we can complete this interview – It generally takes about 10 minutes. Otherwise, I’ll stop back in the next day or two.”

In the section that followed, the Census worker was supposed to fill in his name, a telephone number where he could be reached and the best time of day to call.

The form left on my door said to call “Brad,” but left no phone number or other information.
Brad never stopped by again or, if he did, did so again during working hours and didn’t bother to leave another “Notice of Visit.”

It seems that it would have been far more efficient for the Census Bureau to do a single mailing to addresses where people receive their mail and let them enter the address where they sleep.

As of this writing, Arizona’s response rate to the Census questionnaire is 66 percent, 2 percent lower than the 2000 Census.

And, now we all know why.