2020: Census Edition – Management

This is the second in a three-part series about the catastrophe that was the 2020 Census.

What does the census do? Ideally, the population count is done through the census by verifying the occupancy of each household in the United States. One could argue, “Well, why is the population not counted annually? That would seem a lot more accurate.” Despite all technological advances, there is no way to accomplish that task every single year unless people rely on both the technology and people’s avid participation. With lockdowns and the global pandemic, the census was continuing to operate because a) people had been in places that were difficult to reach; b) a digital divide still exists; and c) people chose not to participate.

A huge difficulty with running the Constitutionally-sanctioned census is the federal government itself. “Well, the census is a part of the federal government, right?” It sure is, but when the head of the federal government decided that he did not like the census—or any program that failed to give him attention—counting the number of people would be irrelevant. A business advocate should see that counting every single person would be an economic opportunity. Business leaders would fight to ensure that the count is as accurate as possible to maximize all opportunities for sales, determine returns on investments, and expansion. If small businesses are unaware of how many people there are—not being huge, international businesses with a lot of resources—they would probably be really interested in the free data offered by the US Census.

Despite all of those possibilities, the Census was the evil stepchild that no one wanted, until of course, everyone wanted it. There have been a number of court cases to include questions that have nothing to do with population counts, or to stop the census altogether; one of those cases finally succeeded, which is why the Census concluded on October 15th. Full disclosure: citizenship has nothing to do with population counts. Full names have nothing to do with population counts. Full dates of birth have nothing to do with population counts; ages would suffice. “What about schools?” The government can determine projected resources for schools, elder care and health services by providing the number of people, gender, ages, races and ethnicities. However, because we have an invasive yet dismissive federal government, there are excessive questions on the census survey.

In addition to the head of the federal government not agreeing with the existence of the census, the governmental fiscal year ends at the end of September. Having the census end at the end of September was quite literally one of the most stressful things for anyone in the budget office. October is singularly the most stressful month for anybody who works in government, regardless of the level. That is the problem with people with money: they do not take into account that their behavior does affect other people. Remember, this is just the Census, which says nothing about the rest of the departments in the federal government. Such conditions stand as proof that this person has never, ever worked either for or with the government, and is willing to project federal failure at the expense of the population.

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