Saturday, July 24

Census brouhaha

Since everyone else is talking about the census, I figured I would weigh in as well.

I consider myself to be somewhat libertarian, so I appreciate the argument that the census, at least to some extent, is an invasion of privacy. One has to admit that some of the questions might make some people a little uncomfortable to answer (even if they only have to answer it, on average, once every 25 years).

On the other side of the coin, however, replacing the long-form census with a voluntary survey generates data that is of much lower quality. The people who choose not to respond may tend to have similar characteristics, and if the survey no longer picks up their data, the results will be skewed. Even after the voluntary long-form survey is conducted, we won't be able to know how bad the problem is.