In Costa Rica, as in many other places, this year is a census year. I intend to do everything possible to avoid being counted.
My experience with the census started in 1970, when my parents received "the long form" (for lack of a better name). I recall my father feeling important because "they" wanted to know all about him. I saw the form and felt creeped out. It asked things like how many bathrooms in the house, how many TVs you owned, etc. I remember thinking that this was none of their business.
Fast forward to 1980. I wasn't thinking about the census at all. I believe it was in early May and I moved. The landlady told me that I just missed the census taker, but she had told him that someone was moving in, and I was to fill out a form if I hadn't already. I lied and told her that I did it at the last apartment. In 1980 I was not counted.
Skipping forward another 10 years to 1990. Annie and I are living in Hong Kong. As we leave our apartment one day a young woman is at our door. She identifies herself as a census taker. I say that we are just visiting, taking care of the apartment for a friend who is out of town. She hands us a form and asks that our friend mail it in. When I get around to looking at it I find a box that says "property vacant". I mark it and send it in. 1990, still not counted.
In 2000 we had just moved to Costa Rica. The census was announced in the papers, and all over. A few months later the government announced that it was over and published numbers. No one came to our house, or even dropped off a form. I asked around the neighborhood, and no one saw a census taker. Excellent.
I am happy to say that in my adult life I have never been counted by a census. My children have never been counted.
I am not one for New Year's resolutions, but this year I am making one. My family and I will not be counted by the census.