by: Dan Martin  (c)copyright 2010

Apparently, the U.S. Census Bureau did not get the memo.

Everyone in our hometown has a Post Office Box. We do not pay anything for them. Our only choice in the matter is a) P.O. Box or b) no mail. There is no house-to-house delivery in our town.

We are not unique in this. There are at least eleven other towns within 12.5 miles of where I sit that have the same arrangement for getting their mail.

Today I learned from our Agent In Charge (read: Postmaster) that all of the Census forms were returned because they bore addresses that, technically, do not exist. The Census Bureau, according to the Agent, does not send Census forms to P.O. Boxes. The Post Office is not at liberty to “box” the mail, even if the box number is a part of the address or the zip code.

The Agent will mercifully remain unnamed. That person does not make policy; their responsibility is merely to carry it out.

According to the Census Bureau:

“$0.42 vs. $56
The cost of obtaining a mailed-back census form (42 cents), compared with the estimated cost of obtaining a household’s census responses in person if the household doesn’t mail back the form ($56).”

Extrapolating from the Minnesota average of 3.03 members per family, our population of 352 souls dwell in approximately 116 homes or apartments.

That means the U.S. Census Bureau will blow another $6,500, just in our small village alone.

From the Press Release:

“134 million
Estimated number of housing units the Census Bureau will have to contact, either by mail or in person, to conduct the 2010 Census.”

That is an additional cost of $7,504,000,000 to get ten Census questions answered. You read it right – seven-and-a-half billion dollars.

“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” (probably Everett Dirksen)

Assuming only ten percent of those “unreachable by mail” households are like mine, that’s $750,000,000 down the old bureaucratic rat hole.

The Postal Employee also told me that the same thing happened in the 2000 Census.

Could someone please see that the Census Bureau gets the memo about small town mail delivery between now and the 2020 Census?

Oh, and by the way, the cost of a first-class postage stamp has risen to 44 cents.