As They Make Sure Surveys Are Completed, Workers Are . . . Counting Heads on Foot

By Filaroski, P. Douglas | The Florida Times Union, May 8, 2000 | Go to article overview

As They Make Sure Surveys Are Completed, Workers Are . . . Counting Heads on Foot


Filaroski, P. Douglas, The Florida Times Union


Perhaps it wasn't the best time to ask Don Fox about his new job with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fox had been turned away by a woman with a headache, and ignored at homes with cars in the driveway. The sun was reaching its afternoon peak, and sweat was beginning to bead on Fox's forehead.

He was beginning to sound a bit frustrated. "We walk, that what's we do," said Fox, who joined the legion of census workers who last week began counting people who hadn't already counted themselves.

To do this, Fox and companion James White walked through neighborhoods full of barking dogs, navigated along streets with confusing names and approached homes with sometimes uncooperative residents.

They were among the 2,000 enumerators in Jacksonville who hit the streets, hoping to interview 150,000 Northeast Florida households that did not send back census questionnaires mailed to them this spring.

That's about 35 percent of the homes in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. It's a better response than the 41 percent that failed to respond in 1990, but it's still short of the bureau's goal.

"We want to get everybody," Fox said.

That way, the government has the most accurate data to decide where to provide services, he said.

So people such as Fox, a 72-year-old retiree, and White, a 26-year-old recent college graduate, go knocking on doors. They go with Census Bureau IDs on their chests and smiles on their faces.

"You can only play so much golf. You can only do so much fishing," Fox said. "I see this as a way of doing some good, and I enjoy meeting people."

People, yes. Dogs, no, said White, still reeling from an encounter with a pit bull the previous day in the Southside area.

As White approached a yard, an unchained dog stepped around the corner of a house and barked. White backed up, and the dog backed up. White moved forward, and the dog moved forward.

"At that point, I said, 'I'll see you later, doggie. I'll see you some other day when you're asleep,' " White said.

Whether it's barking dogs, or vacant homes, enumerators make a note of the failed visit and schedule a return.

SPARING A MOMENT

Enumerators will spend about 10 weeks and visit homes as many as six times, or until someone responds, said Wayne McGovern, manager in charge of field operations in Jacksonville.

Residents who refuse could eventually face a $100 fine, but only in extreme cases, McGovern said. "There are no Census Bureau police who are going to drag mom and dad away from the dinner table with the kids crying," McGovern said. "We want people to do this voluntarily."

And on Wednesday, the enumerators' luck wasn't all bad.

John Brynildsen, 32, was standing outside his Holiday Hill home as Fox and White approached. Brynildsen said he was pleased to answer their questions, even if they were from the 30-minute long form.

Most are short forms that take three minutes, Fox said.

"It's something that needs to be done," said Brynildsen, who said he moved in April and must have missed delivery of his questionnaire.

A small dog came onto Holiday Hill Circle, where White was walking, and yapped loudly around his ankles. The owner came out and called the dog back, but not before it elicited a startled reaction from White.

"I must exude some kind of dog pheromone, or something," he said.

The pair also landed an interview at the Holiday Hill home of Melanie Castle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

As They Make Sure Surveys Are Completed, Workers Are . . . Counting Heads on Foot
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.