Earlier this year, Chile looked at its watch and realized, heavens, it’s been a long time since we counted our people. I wonder how many of us there are now? And what their floors are made of. And whether or not they compost.
So they suited up many, many (official count) people, in blue overshirts, and sent them out on the street with clipboards and número dos pencils. And they looked like a team, and they spread out all over the city, knocking on doors and ringing bells, because the census in Chile is done door-to-door. As in someone actually comes to your house.
The first time team census came, I wasn’t here, since it was a long weekend, and I went to Valparaíso and wine tasting and met a bunch of people and watched a beautiful sunset and ate awesome meals prepared by a great friend of mine, who I wish lived closer, but really, he’s only 1.5 hours away, so what am I complaining about.
Ahem. So team census came by, and I wasn’t here, so they left me a note telling me when they’d be back. And that day was today, between 3 and 9 PM. What is this, a cable hookup? Well, I guess they have a lot of people to visit, and they don’t know exactly how long each will take and well, I really wanted to discuss my religion and education level with a (sworn to secrecy) stranger, so I stayed put when the census lady was set to come. That, and another friend who lives on the coast had already missed two visits by team census, and was told that if he missed the third, there could be a multa (fine) involved. Though if they don’t know who he is or how to find him, it might be hard to levy.
Anyway, they left me a note. Sweet!
And I waited, and admired my newly-tidied living room, with nary a stray skirt or sock to be found (these fall out of my arms sometimes when I bring the laundry in off the line). And census person Maria with her very pale blue eyes came in and asked me questions. Among which were the following, in case you’re interested (and maybe even if you’re not).
What is your floor made of (laminate, wood, etc)?
Do you have domestic help?
What do you use to heat your home?
What does your stove run on?
How do you heat hot water?
How many bedrooms are there?
How many bedrooms are used exclusively for sleeping?
Do you live with anyone?
What is your marital status?
How many living children do you have?
What district of the city or country are you from?
What district of the city or country was your mother living in when you were born?
What district of the city were you living in in 2007?
What is your nationality?
(for foreigners) when did you come to this country?
Do you compost?
Do you separate your trash for recycling?
Are you from an indigenous community?
What religion (if any) do you practice?
What level of education have you attained?
Can you read and write?
Do you have vision/hearing/speaking problems? (three separate questions, including whether I suffer from muteness, which is a curious question to ask)
What languages can you hold a conversation in?
Do you work for money, for free, are you unemployed?
Do you have mental or psychiatric problems?
What is your first name?
All in all, a very strange, yet inoffensive set of questions.
And yes, I have seen the video of the pretend 42 census questions to be asked my the Chilean census, and yes, it is funny, but if you live here, you’ve seen it, and if you don’t, it won’t be funny to you. Ok, here’s a link if you insist. Que le pasa a Lupita? En que número estoy pensando? Cuál es el pájaro mas penca de angrybirds? Conoces a un colorín? What’s the last movie you saw on Cuevana? It really is funny. The itsy bitsy spider bit, included. Ok fine, here’s the video.
Which, to be fair, is much more entertaining than what really happened. But at least I got a sticker.
I was censused in the US right before coming here about 2 years ago (did I skew those numbers). The form is sent to your house and is much longer. They don’t ask about what kind of floors you have, but I am pretty sure they ask about income–where you choose a range–which they didn’t ask about here. All the sources of energy are interesting: how you heat and cook etc. I wonder how they got to the composting question–so funny “We need one more question, what in the hell can we ask about?”
I think the composting question was specifically set up to see if Alfonso would take them outside to show them the worms. I can’t believe he restrained himself! BTW, I have egg cartons for your worms, if they want them. Junkfood for lombrices. It’s what’s for dinner. I love it that we’re saying censused and censed and censared. Are any of these real words, I wonder?
I think this is my second census here in Chile, not positive, it was a long time ago.
I was terribly rude this time, I sat outside with the guy! (My house was, is, a mess and my daughter was home sick on the sofa). Good thing she was here, listening, because I made a mistake and had to run after the guy to correct it. While correcting the mistake I saw his Google Earth map of our area, (how they find the houses here) and realised he wasn’t supposed to do our house. He called the boss and they okayed it.
It was census time in the UK this year too. My mom went around North Devon, door to door visiting farms collecting census information. I think she spent most of the time chatting to farmers watching lambs birth!
awww, lambies. I was considering sitting outside (in my apartment hallway) to do the census, but I had time to pick up the living room, so I just invited her on in. She seemed a little scared of my chair though (it’s from homecenter, kind of bouncy). I’m sure there’s no google earth map of this part of Santiago. They probably just go from building to building. We’re pretty densely packed!
We just had some young guy come and do the census here. I’m not sure why their first question is which type of flooring do you have…Also asking me if i was male took the wind out of my sails! 😛
Steven wins the LOL award for this evening. It really made me laugh. Thanks for that!
The worst part is that they leave a sticker on your door, so every time you come home from work you’re reminded to check if your floor has changed and that you’re still a man.
I don’t have this problem. I’m never a man. 🙂
I want to be censed! They haven’t gotten to us yet, so I did not know about this composting question, which I think is interesting albeit more than a little random. And Woki Toki is my favorite thing on the internet right now – if you haven’t seen 42 frases típicas de los borrachos, do it now (there are 2 more that I know of, la mamá y las celosas, but los borrachos is funnier).
not a bit youtube follower, but I’ll check it out. Maybe they’re doing the city from bottom to top? No, couldn’t be, because they censed Claudio (in Santa Lucía) weeks ago. Curious. I’m sure you’ll get yours. I’m sad that there are no questions for Lola to answer.
SO are you mute? I enjoyed that question, especially since they don’t lead with that one.
I believe the answer is no, quite loquacious in fact. There was also the (oral question) of whether I was deaf. Curious that.
I’ve been ‘censued’ in India before (more than 10 years back) – where also the census is door-to-door. But this is the strangest set of questions I’ve seen. “How do you heat hot water?” – Really!!
I mean water for bathing, not for drinking tea (sweet or not), for what it’s worth. They wanted to know if I have a calefont (a gas-powered, on-demand heater) or a “hot water heater” which is electric. Still yes, perhaps a strange question. Do you remember what they asked in India?
Well, I was a kid then, but I remember it was mostly about – how many people in the house? Their ages? Occupation? Education levels? But nothing as specific or detailed as the questions in Chile.
p.s. Liked the pun about tea 🙂
re: tea. I do what I can 🙂
Census…. wow, I think the last time I was censued in Chile was in 1992 (I don’t remember what I was doing in 2002, besides that I might have been traveling). In 1992 I remember them asking me in front of my parent if I had any children, which is kinda a funny question to ask a 14 year old boy. But you never know, better safe than sorry!
And btw, the census is every 10 years in Chile (I think the first one was around 1872 or so). For the record, I have never been censued here in Norway and I don’t think they do much of that around here although they do come with a lot of statistics about all sorts of stuff, no idea how do they get their data. Now that I think about it, this is kind of “Big brother” land, so they probably have all the information already.
Was that list of questions in order of importance? Certainly question #1 seems vital!
The census people have called twice to our place, on both Saturday and Sunday at 1pm when Maya is typically asleep and we were zzzz’ing too, as a result of being forced out of bed at 6.30am.
So alas, our flooring may go uncensored.