November 18, 2019

I didn't think it was possible, but John Oliver has actually made me enthusiastic about filling out the census! Via TIME:

The concept of the census is simple — a comprehensive count of every single person living in the United States, to plan for things like roads, schools, and emergency services. However, counting every single person is even harder than it might seem, which is why typically the government opens 250 regional offices and hires millions of temporary workers in order to reach out to 140 million households.

Adding to the difficulty is that, according to Oliver, nobody likes filling out surveys — and when the government asks questions, people get suspicious. Census data helps determine Congressional representation and used as a basis to distribute federal funds and businesses use census data to decide where to open new branches. The census was considered so critical to the founding fathers that it’s the sixth sentence in the U.S. Constitution.

“Freedom of speech didn’t even make it in there at all,” Oliver notes. “They had to tack that on with the 18th century equivalent of a Post-It Note.”

Oliver explains all the trouble the Trump administration went to in order to undermine the Census, and urges people to fill out the forms:

If that isn’t enough to get people interested in filling out the census survey, Oliver has one more idea sure to appeal to his audience: Filling out the census would probably really irritate Donald Trump. “This administration clearly thinks that some people don’t count,” Oliver says. “So there’s no better way to get back at [Trump] than to make sure that you do and make sure the census counts you.”

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