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And so, it Began …

Fri Jan 22 2010
Robert Groves
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Tomorrow, Saturday, January 23, I start my journey to Alaska, to begin the 2010 Census. The enumeration must start early in Alaska because those villages still dependent on subsistence hunting and fishing disperse at the beginning of the spring thaw. We must start early to have a successful count.

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We begin in the Inupiat village of Noorvik, a little above the Arctic Circle. It’s a village of about 600 or so people. (Outside temperature at this writing, -26 degrees Fahrenheit) We arrive on Sunday, January 24. Thanks to our gracious hosts we’ll be able to sleep Sunday night in their beautiful school’s classrooms. The first enumerated household will take place early afternoon on Monday, January 25, marking the real official start of the 2010 Census.

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While we are bringing quite a crew to document the symbolism of the moment, it is a real beginning, with census takers completing their work within about a week’s time. Following our policy regarding American Indians and Alaska Natives, we first consult with the village leader to be respectful of the village culture and later will ask him to review the list of housing units to make sure we haven’t left off a unit. To do this the village leader takes the oath of confidentiality that applies to every census taker as well.

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I’ll try to post other insights from this event as it transpires, to give all a sense of how we do the enumeration.

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It’s starting!

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Director Robert Groves

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