Sunday, September 29, 2013
Having worked for Census, I become a respondent myself to the ACS
I got a form from the United States Census recently for the American Community Survey, or ACS. This time, the opportunity was present to do the survey online, which I did Saturday, before the expected government shutdown.
I had worked for Census in 2010 with the diennial, and with the CPS, or Current Population Survey until August 2011. I often received feedback from respondents that all the surveys should be online and should not be predicated on home visits and phone interviews. The ACS appears to work that way. If the respondent does not reply online, he or she (that is, the randomly selected address) will get a mailing and eventually a phone call or visit, but this process requires fewer employees.
The mailing said that answering is required by law. The CPS was technically voluntary.
One reason I left Census in August 2011 was, besides needing more time for my writing projects, my resentment of being fodder to shutdowns, or other people’s unrelated agendas. There was a threat to a shutdown in March 2011, and that would have resulted in a whole month’s survey not being done, the way the rules worked.
It may be moot point, but I would not work for the federal government or contractor right now, and be subject to being made to make personal sacrifices for other people’s problems.