Anecdotal Census: Wrap up

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent  for The New York Times,  Angelo Falcón, president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, and Andrew Beveridge, professor of sociology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center and developer of, wrap up our census coverage with a discussion of the overall demographic trends of the last 10 years in the New York City metropolitan area.


Andrew Beveridge, Angelo Falcon and Sam Roberts

Comments [13]

CensusMole from Park Slope/Gowanus


In contrast, the developers and some of the condo dwellers appear isolated in the imagined privilege they seem so desperate to keep out of sight and protect. They treat with disdain and distrust the "servants" that the government, which seems more and more to represent only them, sends out on this constitutionally mandated errand into a maze. The smugness of their self-assurance in the comfort that their getting and spending must provide: "I made it on my own; how dare you ask anything of me whether taxes or necessary information," rests oh so uneasily on the perceived cachet of their over-priced pile of bricks and sheet rock and floor to ceiling windows. Its view over McDonald's and the canal takes in both the project building and the polyglot block. But i wonder how much, whenever they deign to pull back their curtains, they could see of either.

The only time i can imagine these worlds as further apart within the same teeming mile would be Sunday morning at 11 am.

Aug. 10 2010 12:50 PM
CensusMole from Park Slope/Gowanus

Two high rises and one fascinating block: Three different experiences from my temporary Census job:

1. A NYCHA project building. Residents outside socializing, watching the kids play. Someone helpfully opens the door. Elevator works! Start from the 12th floor down. On the several floors, people are friendly, neighbors helpful. Some folks a little wary. Perhaps some fear of discovery of extra household members. Interviews, however go smoothly. A feeling of respect, even empathy for the enumerator's role.

2. Brand new condo building more than half empty after almost a year -- sales being converted to rental. Enumerator treated with suspicion if not hostility by some residents, though one proves more than patient having mailed in her form and then interviewed 3 more times. Management hostile and evasive, refusing to be even the least bit helpful on number of vacancies, refusing to give their own names, return phone calls or offering false first names and no last names. An attitude of condescension, impatience, and uneasy privilege, as if the social bubble they've created around themselves might be burst or found to be created from a tissue of self-delusion.

3. A block by the canal, a few more industrial buildings than houses, though some of the former have been converted within this decade. On the south side of one street, multiple dwellings have transformed into single family homes, with gardens and bikes in the yard. The converted lofts and remaining 3 families filled with hipsters and young artists. People reasonably helpful and friendly, the old ones glad to talk to someone who'll listen.

Their backyard neighbors, facing the north side of the next street mostly Hispanic immigrants, largely Mexican, many probably illegal. Seven young single men in one two bedroom third floor apartment, a list of names & "cumpleanos" on the kitchen wall. But even in cell phone consultations with his roommates, my respondent can't come up with the year of birth for anyone other than himself. On another floor of the same walkup, a single mother and five kids from Mexico. The 15 year-old daughter translates.

Despite the danger, these prove the most graceful and generous of spirits, with a real reverence for and belief in the fairness and enlightenment of a government that represents the American people. They trust my good faith reassurances that the info i collect will not be used against them. They, like the project residents, have a sense of community and a belief in basic decency and fair play. What little they have to protect, they seem willing to risk for the greater or common good.

Aug. 10 2010 12:48 PM

CURRENT CALLER: YES YES YES. I was a crew leader and my FOS was awful! NOBODY watched these guys and they made up their own rules about things.

Aug. 10 2010 11:45 AM

No Rose from Sag Harbor: Ignore that person. He seeems to only listen to the show to spew his hatred towards Barak Obama, liberals, and anything left of his wild views.

Aug. 10 2010 11:42 AM
noRosecoloredglasses from Sag Harbor

@ Calls'em As I Sees'em from Here, there and everywhere:

were you and others calling it as you saw it during the Bush(hush hush)/Cheney administration, if so my apologies, if not do some research and you will see that the economy was teetering prior to the '08 election jobs losses were great, but alas the media dropped the ball covering this as they dropped the ball investigating the "causes" leading up to 2 trillion dollar wars which have yet to be resolved. So, maybe Georgie/Dickie should be the recipients of your vitriol not "Barry". Left wing right wing both on the same bird...

Aug. 10 2010 11:37 AM
ERH from monsey, ny

I signed up to be a census taker and could have greatly used the money but when I got the call the dates they gave me coincided with Passover and Saturday. As an orthodox Jew living in a heavily orthodox Jewish area, this would not have worked out for me because 1. I could not work on those days and 2. people would not have answered the door to census takers on those days.
Bad planning!

Aug. 10 2010 11:31 AM
fhh from Forest Hills

I picked up a form from my local library and mailed it in before the deadline. Someone repeatedly came to my home after 830pm and 9pm ringing my doorbell and walking away (never standing in front of the peephole): I'm not in the habit of answering my door for unexpected/uninvited/unknown persons. Strangely there'd be a flyer in my door, this went on for a few nights, as recently as last week. I didn't see the need to acknowlege as I did what was required of me: fill it out and mail it in(i didn't receive a form in the mail).

Aug. 10 2010 11:29 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Here, there and everywhere

Brian, it's incredible that you and your pro-regime guests take every fact and figure from it as truth. This admin has fudged and/or made up figures from day one on just about every issue. I have been away, so I don't know if you've been covering the Censor Worker farce, wherein workers were repeatedly hired and laid off, to pump up the admin's failing employment numbers.

“Heck of a job, Barry” on that 8% unemployment cap promise - why did folks vote for 0bumer again, to slit their own economic and employment throats? As for people being home, yes they are home - they are home and unemployed. The real unemployment rate is somewhere around 18% and much higher in the minority community. Of course many of those have moved, since they lost their homes. Why don't you ever bring on a guest who will confront the regime’s phony BS facts, figures and narrative?

This regime has done everything to sustain the recession in the private sector, while protecting its minions and friends in the less productive public sector. The regular folks are restless and will be Remember in November. Even some former safe Demon Seats are now in play, even in misguided NYC.

Aug. 10 2010 11:27 AM

Nick - seems to me the internet is a bigger problem than the government.

Aug. 10 2010 11:24 AM
Nick from UWS

Why would anyone trust the US Government with their personal information? They have proven themselves 100 % untrustworthy and incompetent with anything. Anything.

People have gotten very smart about the US Government, and with the advent of stuff like Wikileaks etc, they're getting smarter.

Aug. 10 2010 11:19 AM
John from Fanwood, NJ

Sam did a few stories about census and passenger list records held by the National Archives in New York (across Varick Street from WNYC) when I worked there. I was very annoyed by the "census deniers" that tried to politicize it. I'm thrilled the 2010 census went well, but it will have very little information for family historian when it opens to the public in 72 years.

Aug. 10 2010 11:17 AM
dboy from nyc

The census collection was efficient because nobody has a job, these days to distract them from responding to the questioner!

Unemployed folks have plenty of time!

Aug. 10 2010 11:14 AM

I never got a form in the mail (other people in my building got 2) and no one came to my house. I had to call them!!

Aug. 10 2010 11:12 AM

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