Census Wants to Know: Who Is 'Person 1' in House?

The AP points out possibility for odd conversations
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2020 10:35 AM CST
Census's Awkward Question: Who Is 'Person 1' in House?
Stock photo.   (Getty/efetova)

The 2020 census will not have a controversial citizenship question. But as the AP points out, it will have one with the potential to cause awkward—or maybe funny—conversations. Who is "Person 1" in the household? The form itself tries to go about it in the least controversial way. "Person 1," it explains, should be someone who pays the rent or owns the home. But if no one person fits the bill, "start by listing any adult living here as Person 1," says the form. The description is actually a new iteration of "head of household" or "head of family," terms that were scrapped years ago as more women entered the workforce.

"You might be saying stuff that was previously left unspoken," an assistant professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland tells the AP, imagining census conversations between couples. People will have to decide soon, because households will start receiving requests to fill out the questionnaire either online or by phone on March 12, reports KGW8. Rural residents may get the questionnaire in the mail. Then comes a series of reminders for those who've neglected to respond, culminating with an in-person visit from a census taker in mid-May if no response has been received.

(More US Census stories.)

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