Miriam at Ancestories, and Tim at Genealogy Reviews Online, have begun a meme asking the question - where were you for the census of your life?
('Census' is a Supine noun, so in Latin the plural would be 'census.' Of course, we don't speak Latin; the proper English plural is probably 'censuses.' Still, I like using the Latin plural.)
1970 – I was 1 year old. Regardless of what month the census was taken, my age shouldn’t waver, unless it was taken in the first three weeks of January. Even then, I know I would round up, and I think my parents would have too. I was living in the town of Clayton, in St. Louis County, MO. Both parents, 1 older brother, 1 older sister. I assume my parents filled the census out. (1 census likely filled out)
1980 – I was 11 years old. Still at same location as 1970. Same parents. Same siblings. Same assumption. (1 census likely filled out)
1990 – 21 years old. Where was I in 1990? Early months I was in Grinnell, IA, living in off-campus housing. My final semester there. Do colleges fill out census forms for students? If so, one may have been filled out for me there. Beginning in the summer I was in Washington, DC interning on the Hill. I was residing in Georgetown. I don’t recall ever filling out census forms. I don’t recall receiving any. There is an off-chance since I was sharing an apartment with someone else who owned the apartment, he may have filled it out for me. He didn’t tell me about it if he did. He would have had some of the correct information from my rental application. There was also a brief amount of time between Grinnell, IA and Washington, DC, when I was home. My parents were living in a home different from 1980, but still in Clayton. We had moved there in 1982. In 1990, I would be the only likely child on their census form. (A possibility of 3 census filled out for me by someone else. A possibility of 0 census filled out.)
2000 – 31 years old. I was living alone, renting a condo in the town of Brentwood, in St. Louis County, MO. I own the condo now. I have no recollection of receiving, filling out, or mailing off census forms. This doesn’t mean I didn’t receive them, didn’t fill them out, or didn’t mail them off. It’s a three-step process, and I could easily have done them all without remembering. I could also have done the first two steps without doing the third. In which case there’s a chance there’s some filled out census forms buried in some box of mine. Because I also don’t recall throwing them away. Which leads me to an idea. Whenever I fill out a census form in the future, and I do plan to, I’m going to scan the completed document for my records. That way future generations don’t have to wait 72 years to see the information. I may also encourage family members to photocopy or scan theirs and send them to me (blacking out financial or any other information they would rather not share with family until the 72 year privacy window has passed.)
Summary: Anywhere from 2-5 census forms filled out with me on them over a period of 4 census. I’m batting anywhere from .500 to over 1000. Future census I hope to do better, and encourage my family to do likewise.