Thursday, March 18, 2010


Last night I found our 2010 U.S. Census packet in the day’s pile of mail. I had been expecting it.

When something arrives in the mail that demands my prompt attention, my usual modus operandi is to shove it into the ever-growing pile of correspondence on my desk, to be dealt with at a convenient time. Given my tendency to procrastinate, said convenient time is generally somewhere in the distant, nebulous future.

But this envelope bore an explicit threat: YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. And even though it did not say “PROMPT RESPONSE,” I figured why take a chance? I opened that sucker up and filled out the form right away. Happily, it was the short questionnaire, not the onerous and incredibly nosy long version (“How many taint warheads have you and your family members had in the past two years?”), so it took all of three minutes to do my Civic Duty.

Jerry, over at Back Home Again, was inspired by his filling out his own headcount form to take a backward look at his Census Footprint: where he was during each of the census years of his life.

That inspired me to look at my own Census Footprint. I’ve been walking the planet long enough to have been counted six times now. Here they are:
  1. Eight years old, living in Massapequa, NY with two parents and one brother.
  2. Single, still in Massapequa, NY (in a different house) with two parents and one brother. In June of that year, I was graduated from high school; that fall, I moved to Princeton, NJ to attend college.
  3. Married, with one child. Living in Hackettstown, NJ.
  4. Married, now with two children. Living in Trumbull, CT.
  5. Married; one child away at college, one still at home. Living in Atlanta, GA.
  6. Still married... and still living in Atlanta, GA. Both children off on their own.
So: what does your Census Footprint look like? Where were you on those “zero years”?

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