Last year we were contacted that we were chosen to be a part of the 2016 U.S. Census. This is a year-long census where you are contacted at intervals throughout the year. It is monthly and then there is a break of a few months and then back to monthly. Some months they come to your home for 20 to 30 minutes of questioning and other months they call you for follow-up questions. We now have three more to go. Last night was the most invasive to date. I was shocked at the personal questions I was being asked. I was asked all the normal questions. How many people live in this house? Do you work and where? How many hours a week do you work? What is your annual income? Years of college? What are your certifications? They asked the “normal” questions, but then…
- Did we have a checking and a savings?
- Did we use the teller, the ATM, online banking, or phone banking?
- Do we transfer money from account to account via online baking or with an app on our phone?
- Were there any loans we had applied for over the last year– auto, mortgage, credit card, et cetera
- Had we applied for a Pay-Day Loan?
- Had we pawned anything?
The list went on and on. I finally said I felt like she was asking a lot of questions. She said this was a new supplement. I know we are required to answer and partake in the Census, but I have to say I felt like it was a massive invasion of my privacy. I would like to know why my personal information is so important to anyone other than our family. Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustrations. Sincerely, A Little Bird
The Census Bureau is getting bolder and more intrusive every time they collect data. It’s not just the Census either. The Department of Agriculture has sent me questionnaires on rural farm property that I owned over 15 years ago. When I ignored them, they escalated to threats of jail time (via letter), but they eventually stopped.
You are not legally obligated to answer any question of the Census Bureau except how many people live in your household. When I held them to just that information, they resorted to querying the neighbors, camping out on the street corner, observing the house, and generally stalking behavior to collect what they wanted. Despite all the threats and wasted time, there is no teeth in this organization, just annoyance. Rest assured that while there is confusion on the subject, you do not have to let them into your home, and no one has been prosecuted for not answering any questions beyond the number of people living in your household.