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Posts Tagged ‘enumeration’

American Flag on Canada Day 2008

While generally regarded as having a more intrusive government than the United States, the reality in Canada since 9/11 is far different, and the undertaking of the census is one such example.

While Americans had census workers going onto their property with GPS systems in 2010, Canadians received a one-page form in their mailboxes in May 2011, courtesy of Canada Post, asking them to fill it out online, or to call a toll-free number to get a hardcopy.

As a result of the governing Conservatives policy change in 2010, the “long-form” census is now optional for those Canadians selected to participate, and it is only mandatory to answer some basic questions, including your address, phone number, age, sex, the number of residents, and language-related questions specifically required in pursuance of Canada’s official policy of bilingualism.

In the United States, however, some Americans were required to answer many more questions, despite their Constitution stating that the census is only supposed to be an enumeration of residents for the purpose of determining representation in the House of Representatives, and the apportionment of direct taxes.

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U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. Constitution provides for a maximum of one Representative for every 30,000 inhabitants of the United States, and a minimum of one representative per state, in proportion to the decennial (every 10 years) enumeration of the population.

The Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives states on their FAQ:

7. What is the size of the House of Representatives and how is it determined?

The current size, 435 Members, of the House of Representatives, was established by Public Law 62-5 on August 8, 1911 and took effect in 1913.

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution provides for both the minimum and maximum sizes for the House of Representatives.

In 1913, the population was estimated to be 97,225,000, which resulted in one Representative for every 218,908 inhabitants. By 2010, the census population count was 308,745,538, which resulted in one Representative for every 709,759 inhabitants.

Only India has a lower degree of representation in its popular legislative chamber. However, the U.S. House could have half its current number of Representatives, and still be constitutional.

Therefore, not only have successive Congresses been tolerant of the status quo, much to the satisfaction of lobbyists who progressively get more value for their lobbying dollars, but so is the Constitution that brought Congress into existence.

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