Sussex County Delaware

Sussex Beat, March 31, 2000

U.S. Census
Invades Privacy

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.


Eric Magill, Sussex County Online

SC Online

2000 Census ...

U.S. Census Bureau site

If you're like me and put all forms off to the last minute, then you probably were in for quite a shock if you were one of the six families to receive the long version of the 2000 U.S. Census form.

As Census Day approaches on Saturday, April 1, it will be interesting to see how many Americans completely answer all of the questions on the long form.

Among the questions asked on the long form are:

  • Where you lived 5 years ago
  • Whether you have any emotional conditions that impair your ability to perform certain tasks
  • How you got to work last week
  • What time you left home for work last week
  • How many vehicles you own
  • What assets you own
  • How many rooms your home has including the number of bedrooms
  • How many vehicles you own
  • Whether you have complete kitchen facilities
  • The annual cost of your utilities, etc., etc., etc.

The U.S. Census Bureau says it is required to ask these questions to meet various federal laws and determine funding for various programs in areas around the country.

It would be interesting to know what program must know how many vehicles I have, how I got to work last week and what time I left, or how many bedrooms I have.

Could it be the government will use that information to declare me vehicularly disadvantaged and provide me with a new car? Could I be declared sleep deprived if I don't have enough bedrooms and qualify for an addition to my home? Perhaps the government will give me a new alarm clock depending on the time I must leave for work each day.

Over the past couple of weeks, Delaware Rep. Michael N. Castle and Sen. Joseph R. Biden have bombarded local media with releases on the importance of submitting these Year 2000 Census forms. Nowhere, however, did they question the intrusiveness of the long form.

If Castle and Biden truly care that Delawareans get a fair shake from the federal government, they'll call for an investigation into the types of questions the census asks.

Your Opinion ...

You can voice your opinion on the 2000 Census in the Sussex County Online Forum or cast your vote on various Sussex County issues on our online poll. Just follow the links below to make your voice heard and your vote count:

Sites Not to be Missed ...

For a detailed look at the U.S. Constitution including when individual states ratified each amendment (it took Delaware 36 years to outlaw Article 13 outlawing slavery -- Mississippi still hasn't ratified it), visit the U.S. House of Representatives site for the following pages:

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