Its an important time in United States history, the taking of the once in a decade United States Census.
The other week I was talking with Stanford Professor of Sociology Michael Rosenfeld. He provided an intersting insight that we (the US) have the most comprehensive census in the world.
Imagining the populaces of the various countries around the globe and their respective ages in terms of existence it baffles me that the United States would have the most comprehensive catalog of information regarding our ever-evolving population. You would think that very small countries like Iceland or Denmark would have more comprehensive statistics, but you would be wrong. They have records that stretch back much further than the US, but not all encompassing.
In my senior year of high school there was a primary election taking place in Marin County. Not sure what the particulars were for the day, but I worked as a poll staffer. For the six or eight hours of sitting around and answering questions at my local elementary school I was able to see the election process in progress. This was an instance where not only did I have the chance to vote, but I could help in the process.
When we hear numbers like “China has 1.5 billion citizens and India’s population is surging past 1.9 billion” we need to take pause and wonder - How do we know that these numbers are legit? Its my hope that working with the census for two months as a part-time government worker, will give me a better idea for how and why we come to the various conclusions regarding our country’s make-up. How does this country breakdown its ethnic groups, religion, family size of 1.5 kids per household, # of relatives, # of immigrants (both legal and illegal)?
All of these numbers matter. Our ability to remain a forward thinking society is founded on our unique melting pot status. I want to be a part of this information gathering process. Its not everyday that I get the opportunity to work with statistics and gather them too.
Its also pretty neat to see a government agency using social media. They have a twitter page, Youtube, Blog, etc to connect with more citizens. They were even up for a Webby as best govt entity online.