Friday, May 11, 2012

The Tea Party Kills the American Community Survey

This is a sad day for sociology. 

The American Community Survey, the essential survey conducted by the Census Bureau between decennial censuses, has been killed in the House of Representatives. The bill's sponsor, Tea Party congressman Daniel Webster, believes that making an economic and demographic portrait of the country is an invasion of privacy.

The ACS collects data required by several federal statutes, and is hugely valuable to American businesses.  The Census Bureau has also said that eliminating the ACS will make the next census more expensive.

I have often noted the parallels between the current Tea Party movement and the Know-Nothing Party of the pre-Civil War days.  This time the "know nothing" label is more literally true.

7 comments:

Benjamin said...

NSF funding for political science research is under the ax in the House this week as well. I get lots of data from the ACS so this is all bad news, indeed.

Hopefully a Senate version will not include these cuts, and that more reasonable heads will prevail in the conference committee (assuming it comes to that...).

Natalie said...

Let's not just hope and pray; let's call or our Senators and tell them we want the ACS.

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Anonymous said...

A bad day for sociology may be a good day for our privacy...

Anonymous said...

The Census Bureau keeps this and all info strictly confidential. "Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine up to $250,000, a prison sentence up to five years, or both" (Census Bureau FAQs).

So how is this bad for privacy, Anon?

bs said...

Some surveys need to be killed...

Alex said...

At what point does it stop really being about privacy? It's beginning to seem like the tea party is against any law, idea, project etc whatsoever that is "civic," or that is a cooperative/collaborative effort, or that in any way supports the notion that somehow, our own wellbeing is connected to the wellbeing of others.

Kerri said...

NOOO! I couldn't have written my JCY without that thing. I still check it when I need a nerdfest.

And I can assure any doubters that all of that info is private and demographic, like the census itself. And provides valuable tools for understanding our society...