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-   -   Census workers can enter your home in your absence (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=60900)

snopes 31 May 2010 03:48 AM

Census workers can enter your home in your absence
 
Comment: I just received an email that states that a census worker can
enter an apartment without the resident at home. I find this hard to
believe.

--------------------

Thousands of census workers, including many temporary employees, are
fanning out across America to gather information on the citizenry. This
is a process that takes place not only every decade in order to complete
the constitutionally-mandated census; but also as part of the continuing
“American Community Survey” conducted by the Census Bureau on a regular
basis year in and year out.

What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head
of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to
the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law
to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or
room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for
“the collection of statistics.” If the landlord of such apartment or
other leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to
your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be
fined $500.00.

That’s right — not only can citizens be fined if they fail to answer the
increasingly intrusive questions asked of them by the federal government
under the guise of simply counting the number of people in the country;
but a landlord must give them access to your apartment whether you’re
there or not, in order to gather whatever “statistics” the law permits.

In fact, some census workers apparently are going even further and
demanding — and receiving — private cell phone numbers from landlords in
order to call tenants and obtain information from them. Isn’t it great to
live in a “free” country?

Skeptic 31 May 2010 03:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1227682)
Comment:
That’s right — not only can citizens be fined if they fail to answer the
increasingly intrusive questions asked of them by the federal government
under the guise of simply counting the number of people in the country;

My BS meter is running well now, and I think this is garbage.
But I always think that the same people who complain about the census are the same one compaining that the government didn't build enough schools or roads for the population increase.

"They should have known". blah blah blah.

Cervus 31 May 2010 04:28 AM

Don't just think this is garbage; it is garbage.

What burns me up is the claim that the questions asked are "increasingly intrusive". I actually heard a caller to a talk radio show complain about the census form asking him how much money he made.

Hm...I must have unwittingly opted out of receiving that form, because the one I received only asked a few questions, basically my name, sex, date of birth, and race. And of course, how many people live at my residence.

Seriously, out of all the the paranoid fanatical conspiracy freaks that we make fun of here on the ULMB, these people take the cake.

LizzyBean 31 May 2010 05:01 AM

Funny, I must have missed that part in class. It sure would have made getting those forms filled out a heck of a lot easier!

What a load of bull.

WildaBeast 31 May 2010 05:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cervus (Post 1227692)
I actually heard a caller to a talk radio show complain about the census form asking him how much money he made.

Yeah, it's not like we have to send a form to the government every year spelling out all the details of our incomes. :fish:

But seriously, if the government wanted statistics on something like the average income of a community, I would assume they could get that info from tax returns.

lord_feldon 31 May 2010 05:27 AM

Quote:

What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head
of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to
the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law
to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or
room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for
“the collection of statistics.” If the landlord of such apartment or
other leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to
your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be
fined $500.00.
Is it possible that Census workers are allowed to demand entrance into common areas of those places (sidewalks, hallways, etc.) in order to access the doors of the actual residences?

Eddylizard 31 May 2010 05:34 AM

So if census takers use this supposed power to enter your home when no-one is there how are they supposed to count the number of occupants?

"I'll put that down as a zero then - funny, that's the fifteenth one today."

Cervus 31 May 2010 05:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WildaBeast (Post 1227707)
Yeah, it's not like we have to send a form to the government every year spelling out all the details of our incomes. :fish:

I wouldn't be surprised if people who complain about this type of thing also refuse to pay their income taxes because it's "optional". I also wonder if they have driver's licenses, which contain half the info asked on the census form.

Quote:

So if census takers use this supposed power to enter your home when no-one is there how are they supposed to count the number of occupants?
Don't be silly. They're not counting the number of occupants, they're COLLECTING STATISTICS!!!! Like what kind of toothpaste you use and whether you wear boxers or briefs. And don't forget, you'll be fined if you don't provide this information!!!

me, no really 31 May 2010 05:47 AM

Well that just proves it is some nefarious government plot then. If "they" already know all the info "they" need about you, then why a census at all then huh? All they have to do is compile together info from driver's licence, tax return and school records, then they wouldn't need to have a census at all... so why have a census? Must be sinister indeed.

me

Richard W 31 May 2010 10:44 AM

I've been playing Red Dead Redemption (... no, I am in the right thread, why do you ask?) and it's very interesting as to the background of the sort of rant against the "federal government" in the OP. It's set in an exaggerated Wild West circa 1910, and half the characters spend a significant time complaining about the "federal government" that's starting to interfere with their lives, sending spying government agents around the place, and how things have gone downhill since some of the recent changes.

Allowing for the exaggeration, the arguments actually make some sense in that context - the satire only comes when you realise how many people still make those arguments now, and wonder if they also think they're living in an exaggerated version of the Old West.

kitap 31 May 2010 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard W (Post 1227777)
I've been playing Red Dead Redemption (... no, I am in the right thread, why do you ask?) and it's very interesting as to the background of the sort of rant against the "federal government" in the OP. It's set in an exaggerated Wild West circa 1910, and half the characters spend a significant time complaining about the "federal government" that's starting to interfere with their lives, sending spying government agents around the place, and how things have gone downhill since some of the recent changes.

Allowing for the exaggeration, the arguments actually make some sense in that context - the satire only comes when you realise how many people still make those arguments now, and wonder if they also think they're living in an exaggerated version of the Old West.


I think they do. Some of the state representatives here in Arizona are very vocal about "not letting the Federal Government tell us what we can and can't do in Arizona".

One of them- I think it's Pearce- wants to entice a light bulb factory to Arizona so when the mandatory switch to the compact bulbs comes in 2014 we can keep using the other ones because the Federal Government has no right to mandate that.

Natalie 31 May 2010 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cervus (Post 1227692)
Don't just think this is garbage; it is garbage.

What burns me up is the claim that the questions asked are "increasingly intrusive". I actually heard a caller to a talk radio show complain about the census form asking him how much money he made.

He might have received the long form census, which does ask, among other questions, how much money one made over the last year.

That said, long form questions have changed over time, and they don't always change by adding questions - in the 30s and 40s the census took information on religion, which they don't any more. When I was trying to find information on residential discrimination against Jews, that would have come in handy.

ETA: I'm an idiot - the long form census I found was from 2000. I don't even know if the 2010 long form has been sent out yet.

AnglRdr 31 May 2010 03:57 PM

I don't think there is a separate long form census this time. Their website indicates a different survey, called the American Community Survey, is being sent in addition to the census.

It also dispels the OP UL.

Natalie 31 May 2010 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnglRdr (Post 1227828)
I don't think there is a separate long form census this time. Their website indicates a different survey, called the American Community Survey, is being sent in addition to the census.

I stand corrected - the long form has been entirely phased out.

Frankly, I doubt someone that paranoid about a survey would know the difference, however.

pinqy 31 May 2010 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnglRdr (Post 1227828)
I don't think there is a separate long form census this time. Their website indicates a different survey, called the American Community Survey, is being sent in addition to the census.

Right...and the ACS is every year (I think every quarter). It is still part of the census and it is legally required for people to fill it out.

pinqy

ULTRAGOTHA 31 May 2010 04:35 PM

Not only can census workers not enter your home if you're not there, they have been (at least in this area) forbidden from entering you home if you ARE there. DW is an enumerator and has to stand on the doorstep and is not allowed to enter the house.

greenfrog78 31 May 2010 04:36 PM

I ended up giving the census man the info for the people who live in the other half of the duplex hubby and I live in. He had knocked on our door a week prior but as soon as we said "that address is next door" he apologized for bothering us and then tried to catch them several times. I don't know if they were avoiding him or what(I know at least once they were home when he knocked) but finally he came back to us and asked if I minded answering a couple of questions about them. He didn't ask for their names (which I don't know anyway) but asked how many people lived there and if they were of a minority race and if I knew if they owned or rented. I was a little surprised as I didn't realize they could do that, take a neighbors word on it and all.

What really cracked me up census wise this year was my cousin going on a little paranoid rant online about the government and the census and "what are they really going to do with all that information?!?!?", then a month later she's posting on facebook about "Thank you God for using my hubby's job loss to bless us with medicaid". Uh no honey, God didn't give your family medicaid, that was the Evil Gubbermint you think is out to get you with the census.

MichiganGirl 31 May 2010 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by greenfrog78 (Post 1227849)
He didn't ask for their names (which I don't know anyway) but asked how many people lived there and if they were of a minority race and if I knew if they owned or rented. I was a little surprised as I didn't realize they could do that, take a neighbors word on it and all.

As a last resort, we can get info from neighbors. But we are supposed to ask for names even if we get info from proxys. Theirs, as well as the person who gave us the info. Greenfrog, did they get your name, address and phone number?

I've had one adament refusal. On that one I'll have to get info from a neighbor,. If I can't find anyone who knows their names or any specifics, they probably will know a head count, which the man even refused to give me.

A census we will go

greenfrog78 31 May 2010 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichiganGirl (Post 1227930)
As a last resort, we can get info from neighbors. But we are supposed to ask for names even if we get info from proxys. Theirs, as well as the person who gave us the info. Greenfrog, did they get your name, address and phone number?

He did ask for my name and address and phone number and I didn't have any issue giving him that, but he didn't ask their names. I know their first names, but not their last.

It makes you wonder about the people who adamantly refuse, I mean good gracious, do they think the government is planning a hostile takeover of it's citizens homes? Or maybe they have people living there who shouldn't be (harboring fugitives perhaps :P) and they are afraid that answering the census questions will get them busted.

Eddylizard 31 May 2010 09:26 PM

I doubt anyone is going to get busted if they are harbouring aliens anyway. The census taker says "So who lives here?" I answer "Well there's me, my wife and two children."

If I neglect to tell them about the Rodriguez family or a wanted criminal living in my basement with my knowledge and consent the census people aren't likely to find out merely through this simple check. There is no need to refuse to answer - just lie.


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