AskBwog: Why Do We Have to Do the Census Here?

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If you live on campus, you probably received an email from Housing last week announcing that you’re required to fill out a U.S. Census form next week. The email also included a note that “Columbia University is the only location in which you are to participate in the Census.” This puzzled a tipster, who was concerned that since he was legally a dependent of his parents, he should be counted as a member of their household.

Well, according to the 2010 Census Questionnaire Reference Book, you should NOT include on your household Census form “college students if they do NOT live and sleep most of the time at the parental home—even if they return to the parental home while on break or vacation,” and college students should include on their forms “people living away from their parental home while attending college—either on-campus or off-campus—if the [sic] live and sleep most of the time at the on-campus or off-campus housing.” It also notes that foreign students attending college in the U.S. should also fill out the census.  So there you have it. We can all look forward to answering riveting questions like “What is Person 1’s sex?” next week.


  1. bullshit  

    they should have told us way in advance. I already filled mine out during winter break when i went home.

  2. Anonymous  

    The instructions on the form couldn't be clearer. On the very first page, in bold letters, they say that college students who live at school should not be included on their parents' census form.

    • no way  

      i swear I didn't see that. if it were indeed bold as you say, i would've seen it. oh well. kinda dumb considering I'm a New Yorker and i live on campus; I'm still in my hometown.

    • sure?

      I definitely don't remember seeing that, but I looked it up and you're right. Oops. But they shouldn't have had a box at the bottom saying "Does Person sometimes stay somewhere else?" and then give "college housing" as an option.

  3. I mean

    it's really not that big of a deal. Chill out dude.

  4. Stephen D'Alessio

    refuse to participate in the census

  5. WAKE UP  


  6. counting  

    Knowing how many people are in a country is important considering that's how the government determines how many representatives we get and how much funding your district is going to receive.

    Knowing the racial demographics of the country is important because, guess what? Racial injustice still occurs in the United States, no matter how much we understand that race is social construction (which, by the way, not that many people actually understand). Race is a very, very real thing for people who have to live with this construction. Racial data from the U.S. Census is basically the ONLY source that people have in order to statistically determine if there is systematic inequality/poverty/discrimination/etc. occurring in specific areas or nationwide. So if you fill out "HUMAN" or some other good-intentioned substitute, you may think you're taking a stand against injustice, but you're actually just making it harder for the fight for true equality to succeed.

    In short: Fill out the damn census form. Be counted. It's important.

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