Like a lot of people I was a little annoyed a couple of weeks ago when I received a letter from the US Census Bureau just to inform me that a week later, I'd be receiving the actually census. Swearing ensued ... "don't we have a fucking debt?" Blah, blah. I went off and so did much of my friends. But according to Gary Locke, the current Secretary of Commerce, that letter saves the US government a lot of money. Apparently, that letter improves the amount of census returns we get. If a household doesn't return the census, the US government will send someone to the house which is a lot more expensive than a letter.
Most of the questions on the current census form were written by James Madison, our fourth president, while he was a member of George Washington's administration. Two questions from the original form were removed: Are you the head of household? How many slaves do you own? Very little has been added. When were we finished filling out of our form, we were surprised that it was so short. Most of the changes added to the form have been added for clarity.
The data collected from the census is not only to determine the districting and proportioning for the House of Representatives but also for local and state governments as well.