So, out of all the people that I asked about the American Community Survey, none are so relevant as the U.S. Census Bureau itself. After all, they’re the ones who put it out. While PA State Rep. John Maher’s response is insightful and amusing, and the Spencarian’s Benjamin Kirby offers a different perspective… only the Census Bureau can comment officially. It took me slightly longer than their professed 2-day response time to get back to me, but I’m sure they have better things to do than respond to some goofy idiot with pseudonym and an email account. Also to be fair, they did kind of address my concerns on the FAQ. I was just a little more long-winded about it.
Well, without further adieu, here’s what they had to say…
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from: AskCensus <email@example.com>
reply-to: AskCensus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Thu, Oct 28, 2010
subject: The American Community Survey? [Incident: 000000-000000]
Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.
If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 0 days.
Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
|The American Community Survey?|
|Response (ACSO – SLH)||10/28/2010 16:21|
|Thank you for using the US Census Bureau’s Question & Answer Center.
We appreciate your feedback regarding the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. You make many valid points and in a world free of people too busy to respond we could easily get by with one mailing. As it is, our research has shown better response results from multiple mailings and reminder cards and for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.
As for the Internet response option we are in the development and testing phase for this application. The Director of the Census Bureau, Dr. Groves, supports this project not only for the ACS but also for the 2020 Census.
As for reducing the time burden on the American public, the director is dedicating resources to researching adminstrative/alternative sources for the information collected on the ACS and Census forms.
If you need more information or have further questions about the ACS, please call our Customer Services Center on 1 (800) 923-8282.
|Question Reference #000000-000000|
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Well, that was certainly bland, but at least they are looking to technological advances in the future. I still see this statement as crazy: “…for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.” I’d love to see that on paper. (Or better yet, in an email.)