As many Americans have, I received the 2010 census form in the mail this week. The constitutional mandate to take a census of the population every 10 years since 1790 has historically been used to offer a snapshot of the American people and their economic situation as well as family profile.
What a disappointment the 2010 census will be to future historians.
Other than the fact that the form confirms that my address exists and who lives there, there is nothing to sink your teeth into.
Future historians will not be able to compare one census to another to determine the advancement or lack thereof of creature comforts, or income level.
While future generations will probably not care if I have graduated to a wide screen TV or not in this decade, it seems like a waste of a good form (that records up to 12 people) not to ask some of the in-depth questions that made prior census results so interesting.
Who doesn’t like to read about the historical advance of indoor plumbing?
Sure, the Department of Commerce doesn’t ever ask the really important questions, like whether there is a coin collector in residence, but other information gathered in the past has its uses.
Now if they could just make the federal income tax form as quick to fill out, then we’d have something.