Census Day

Today is April 3rd 2022 which means that it’s Census Day here in Ireland; I’ve just finished filling in the form, which is 24 pages long but it turns out lots of the pages are duplicates for use in homes with multiple occupancy, and others don’t apply to me at all, so in fact I only had to complete 8 pages and it didn’t take all that long.

The Census should have taken place last year but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Apparently the corresponding 2021 census in the UK went ahead, though I wasn’t at, and couldn’t get to, the property I still own in Wales so couldn’t participate. Although I was initially threatened with a fine, the UK Census people seem to have given up trying to chase me. I blogged about the previous census in Wales in 2011 here.

On the holiday after St Patrick’s Day I was at home when I noticed a card had been pushed through my letterbox while I was still in the house. It was from a ‘Census Enumerator’ who said he had tried to deliver the form but I was out. I wasn’t out and he hadn’t rung the doorbell. More importantly he hadn’t simply put the census form through the letterbox. In the UK the census forms are just sent out in the post. This little episode didn’t inspire me with confidence. Anyway, the bloke came back a week later and gave me the form. He also asked me for some personal information such as my phone number, which I naturally refused to give him. Apparently he has to collect the form in person too, which seems daft to me. Why can’t people just send their census returns back in the post?

On the last page there is a so-called ‘time capsule’ in which to leave information for historians to read 100 years from now. All I could think of to write was any historians reading this in 2122 would probably think that it was absurd to be doing this wasteful paper-based census when the digital age started some time ago, so I just said for the record that I was one of the people who thought that in 2022…

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