ASOC115 Introduction to sociology

Simple and quick question:

You’re going to conduct a brief historical analysis of how the Census questionnaire has changed over time. The Census Bureau provides copies of every Census questionnaire ever used, since the first Census in 1790. (You can also find the 2020 Census questionnaire here.)

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Pick 2 separate Census years to evaluate; at least one of them should be from the 1900s or 1800s. (You may have to look at a few to find ones you can easily understand, as the older forms may be difficult to read.)

After deciding on the questionnaires you want to use, read through them and pay attention to some of the differences between the two questionnaires. Then, answer one of the following questions:

  1. Looking across the two questionnaires from different years, what changes do you see over time in the questions asked? What types of questions disappeared? What new questions appeared? Briefly explain what the presence and disappearance of these questions tell us about changes in society.
  2. Do you see differences in how the same questions were asked over time? For instance, how do the categories for race/ethnicity or marital status compare on the 2 questionnaires you analyzed? Briefly explain what these differences tell us about changes in society.
  3. In the chapter, we discussed the issue of wording in surveys, and how wording can affect the responses you get. Do you see any questions worded in ways that would be confusing today? Or that would be viewed as inappropriate or offensive?

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