Recently I have been working for the 2010 Census as an Enumerator. That sounds like a fancy title, but really what I do is not so glamorous, I’m the guy who goes around door-to-door, finding people who haven’t turned in their forms, as well as a couple other things. While federal privacy laws prevent me from going into too much detail about respondents, I hope it will suffice to say that I have met all kinds of people doing this. Old people, young people, people from other countries, people out in the sticks, etc. I have also encountered different attitudes toward the Census. Most people are very cooperative and understand that it’s just something that has to be done. Others are curious about the Census. A few others are snarky, but ultimately cooperative. And then there is on occasion that one person that is afraid of the government, or just doesn’t like people coming to their home, and get a little combative.
I may be slightly late in saying this, but to all those who might be getting a visit from a Census taker, keep this in mind: Almost all of the people out there giving the surveys are temporary workers like myself. What does that mean? Well, it means that practically all of us are new to the job, at most having worked a little more than a month at it. Because of this, you might get someone who insists on doing everything strictly by the book, with no time for argument or small talk. Or you might get someone who tends to forget pencils or information sheets and has to run to their car. Or you may just run into someone who got lost and needs help finding their next address. In any case, when a Census person comes to the door, please try to be understanding. Hopefully, if they are doing things anywhere close to right, the Enumerator will be in and out in ten minutes and you will never see them again. Whatever you feel about the Census, to these people it’s a job, and they want to get it over and done with as much as you do.
I’m not asking for any extra hospitality. If I come to your door, you don’t have to invite me in, you don’t even have to come out the door. Just take a few minutes to answer some questions and I’ll be on my way.