Is a Census worth the effort?

How do you feel about answering census questions; do you feel it is a useful exercise, a waste of money or a further intrusion into our privacy?

Last Sunday the woman from our local Camara (council) delivered our form and a slip of paper with our pin number for the 2011 Portugal Census on the 21st March. We were assured it was “simple” to complete online as there was an English option. However, if we had any problems just drop by the Camara office and she would assist us.

Complete the Census online

Complete the Census online

In hindsight, we should not have been so trusting and completed the census there and then. Three days later trying to complete the census online in Portuguese proved nearly grounds for divorce! Yes, you could select the English option but the first page of the census reverted to Portuguese plus the FAQs were also in Portuguese. The help line was constantly engaged, the PC kept freezing due to the volume of traffic so all in all the level of frustration in the Piglet household, as you may well imagine, was well off the scale! Silly really to get so worked up but I have little patience at the best of times completing forms online, but in another language grrrrrrrr

In the end, I dragged a protesting Mr. Piglet to see the helpful woman at the Camara who had delivered our pin slip on Sunday. Fortunately, she was at her desk and recognizing us, called us over. After answering loads of questions I did wonder what happened to all the data collected and how much was actually relevant.

I did debate responding to the question as to whether we had all my marbles as “NO” but thought I would leave the “quips” to Mr. Piglet. as he was in one of his “funny” moods constantly cracking jokes.

Your Husband's a joker!

Your Husband's a joker!

I felt sorry for the woman as each time she asked a question he had a funny story to back up his reply. Her PC also kept freezing, she kept apologizing and Mr. Piglet kept up a constant “banter” until I gave him a withering look.

Catching my mood and embarrassment as the queue behind us was nearly out of the door, she said sweetly

“Your husband is a joker”

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38 responses to “Is a Census worth the effort?

  1. Good to hear that Portuguese life is keeping you on your toes Piglet!

    Back here in England you can have the census in 56 languages (oh, and in English) including Amharic, Tagalog, Igbo, Lingala (thought that was a fish), Pahari (an Indian dish?), Shona (the girl at number 15), Sinhala, Tigrinya and Yoruba.

    And guess who’s paying for it all.

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  2. Hi itsmeagain,
    Ahhh but were the FAQs also in 56 languages including piranha?
    In Portugal – English…referred to a downloadable PDF only as far as we could tell. Even the lady at the camara did not realise that 🙂 LOL
    Cheers
    PiP

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  3. Haha, lovely post Carole, your Mr Piglet sounds much like my Harry… he even has the checkout girls at the local supermarket in stitches and me, usually the brunt of all his funnies. xx

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  4. I think they’re a good idea as long as the questions are basic because the government needs to know these things in order to plan for the future.

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  5. I think my husband would’ve had a heartattack by the end of that! I would’ve been pulling my hair out!!

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  6. Glad that Mr. PiP kept his marbles and his sense of humor! Now, you deserve a Cadbury Creme Easter Egg as a reward! 🙂

    I don’t mind completing a census every 10 years . . . but it must be in English.

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    • Living in Portugal we will probably have lost our marble is another 10 years!
      Just glad we were able to find help to complete the census…10yrs time I may be fluent in Portuguese 🙂
      LOL 🙂 Cadbury Creme Egg now your talking…but they don’t sell them here
      😦

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  7. Sounds like you have a hubby like mine PiP – he can never answer a question with a straight yes or not – there always has to be a story attached and he drives me insane with it. I’ve walked off and left him on his own many a time when he’s been “putting his point over” to the check-out girl or similar circumstance. Perhaps I should carry one of those fisherman chairs so I can pull it out and rest my weary legs waiting for him! Nah – he would talk more!

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    • Hi barb…the one benefit living in Portugal Mr P is normally unable to chat to the check out girls and shop assistant… :)As his grasp of Portugese is not good enough, yet!
      A fisherman’s chair is an excellent idea!
      LOL 🙂

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  8. PiP, I am completely against the government being “all up” in my business. I only answer the questions that are absolutely required. So I am wondering how is it that your husband being a “Joker” is relevant to the census. Did she list that as his job description or personality trait? :p)

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  9. We only had to answer the basic questionairre last time we completed it, so I didn’t mind, especially knowing that the answers help determine how public services and such are funded. I would have been opposed to answering anything beyond the basics though.

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    • Hi Territerri,
      We did not mind answering most of the questions but some were a bit odd.
      We were asked questions like whether we had air conditioning and what type of heating we had…I just hope they don’t sell that data on and we are pestered by sales people now.
      Cheers
      PiP

      Like

  10. I hate the census. Here in the US, it was created to establish how many representatives to Congress each state should get. It has gone so far beyond that now! They want to know everything about you! They send this long questionnaire and all I answer are the number of people in our household. Bad, I know…but everything else they ask they can find from other sources.

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    • Hi Seashell,
      That’s all I thought they wanted to know…but it went far deeper than that. If I had realised we had a choice I would not have answered some questions.
      Still it’s done now 😦
      Cheers
      PiP

      Like

  11. naturalredhead

    I agree with Seashell. Such intrusive questions from the census bureau—I’m tempted to answer creatively. But I loved your descriptions. I’ve “pressed” your article on one website and referred friends to you on another. You seem to see much humor in life—or humor regained at least by the time you write about your adventures.

    Like

    • Hi,
      You have to have a sense of humour living in Portugal. I try and look at the funny side of life and express this in my writing 🙂
      Move over Mr Piglet… 🙂
      Thanks for pressing the article 🙂
      Cheers
      PiP

      Like

  12. Mr. Piglet kept up a constant “banter”

    Mr FD is the same, he distracts the poor person with senseless chatty, as though he thinks he has to entertain them! It always makes everything drag out much longer that it needs too. I often remind him to listen more!

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  13. Sometimes jokes are made to release the tension. He probably knew your level of frustration.. The census has a way of doing that to many of us.
    🙂 Loved your story though..

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  14. Hi faithdream, yes you are probably right 🙂
    PiP

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  15. Hi PiP – we got our census recently. I opened it, thumbed through it and thought OMG and put it back down!
    I’m not against them, I think they are a useful tool in social history and I don’t worry about big brother and all that because these days anyone can find anything out about anyone if they look hard enough.
    Mr Piglet sounds like someone I know and it seems a few of us have got a joker in our lives, they are funny but not after the twentieth time of hearing the same one-liner!

    Like

  16. Mr Piglet is so just relieved when he hears someone who can speak English he goes into overdrive!
    Good luck completing your census form 🙂

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  17. Pingback: Is a Census worth the effort? - Piglet in Portugal | Everyday life ... | J C I Portugal

  18. It’s what I would call a necessary evil! 🙂
    Eliz

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  19. Hi Eliz,
    You are right there!
    PiP

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  20. I do not like the census questions, but I have answered. I think they get too personal at times. I guess I’ll have to agree with Eliz, its a necessary evil !! for exactlywhat its worth, its anyone’s guess !! 🙂

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  21. Miss Piglet, this is another wonderful, entertaining, and informative post. You have such a gift for setting a scene. Love it! As to the census–I believe we must be counted. But, I prefer to give a minimum of information. A very bare minimum.

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  22. Hi Ellen,
    Thankyou 🙂
    I agree we must be counted but not sure about the rest of the questions.
    I was just looking at the US world population clock that was interesting…amazing what you can find on the net.
    PiP

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  23. The planners didn´t do a good job then, if you could answer the census in English but then the FAQ weren´t in English…at least you had someone at the Camara who could help you out in English. Next time you should use google translator and then paste the translations into the answers, as they would certainly give them a few laughs!! I certainly find some of translations hilarious…

    Like

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