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From: Harold Davey <>
Subject: Choice of census forms
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 14:57:38 -0500

Many thanks for your message. I believe the reason one cannot
elect to choose which form to complete lies in statistical sampling
rules, and not because the government works that way.
In 1936 an American magazine, I believe the Literary Digest,
conducted a poll among its subscribers that predicted overwhelmingly
that Alf Landon would defeat Franklin Roosevelt in the Presidential
election that year. In examining what went wrong, statisticians
concluded that limiting the respondents to subscribers of that
magazine skewed the sample so that it was not representative of the
American voting population. Allowing some census respondents to
select the long form, for example, might lead to an inaccurate sample
as the persons who so elect are probably not a true sample of the
entire population.


X-Message: #17
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 22:15:29 -0600
From: C W HALL <>
Subject: Re: Census 2000---Short Form vs Long Form

Sue, recently I began temporary employment for the U S Census Bureau.
were instructed to tell folks that the questionnaire (Short or Long
is the only form they we receive, and, that one cannot elect to choose

which one to complete. As you know, that's the way the government

I agree with you that we should have a choice---but then, Only in

Please, all of you who read this message, do not flood me with
about the census. I have no idea what the questionnaires look like.
haven't gotten mine in the mail yet, nor, am I permitted to open up
I hand to people I interview to confirm their mailing address. The
people I visit are those who would not normally receive a
in the mail because of a mix-up in their address. Of course, that's
a part of my job---which involves a lot of "paperwork"-------

Charley Hall in IL.

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