Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 2010 Census


As I'm sure many of you have, I got my 2010 Census form in the mail this week. I immediately opened it, filled it out, and put it back in the mailbox. Yay! Three cheers for the Census!

Why all the enthusiasm? Well, as you may know, I like statistics, and that's all the Census is about: statistics. When it comes to statistics, I am more than happy to help.

"But Chris! I think the Census is stupid. The only real purpose the Census is going to serve is to make our national deficit even larger. This is a complete waste of money. Oh, and one more thing: I don't give a crap about your stupid ass statistics." ... Certainly, you are entitled to your opinion. And I can understand why some view the Census as wasteful, given that they sent a rather pointless letter in the mail saying nothing more than "we're sending you something else in the mail next week", and that they are sponsoring a NASCAR team. But I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise.

Before I continue...perhaps now is a good time to rehash my general policy on political discussion (which I don't always adhere to, but try to most of the time): I'm not opposed to heated political discussion, but I generally try to avoid it. While I do have opinions on most political matters, I don't think it's appropriate to discuss them here. This blog isn't supposed to be a place for serious or meaningful discussion. Instead, I'd rather talk about road trips, curling, last week's episode of "Lost", the weather, and my fictional bicycling trip to Alaska, among other things. I think the world would be a happier place if we talked more about dumb crap and less about how wrong other people's opinions are.

So, anyway...no more do we have to rely on 2000 Census figures and those dumb future year estimates, wherever the heck those come from. At last, we will have current, accurate, precise population figures, at least for a little while. Hip hip hooray! And yes, I actually do look at population data from time to time, and am a semi-regular visitor to census.gov. Quite often, a situation comes up where I need population data - for example, when I'm trying to spot a license plate from every county in Ohio, and am curious whether there was any correlation between the license plates I had seen thus far and their counties' population. This is important stuff, people! How could I ever possibly get by without the Census?

On another government-related note, we filed our taxes last week. Taxes are boring, and you don't care how large our refund is, so I'll keep this discussion short. If you're getting a large refund this year, and expect a similar situation next year, why not fill out a new W-2, decrease your withholding a little bit, and get at least part of next year's "tax refund" this year in the form of slightly larger paychecks? That's something we may consider, now that home ownership has thrust us into the world of itemized deductions.

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