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Copyright 1996 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
March 12, 1996, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Page 20; Column 4; Editorial Desk
LENGTH: 150 words
HEADLINE: Forget the Census; Let's Have Doughnuts
To the Editor:
Re "No Need to Count Every Last Person" (editorial, March 5): The Census Bureau's
decision to "sample" during the next census means that it will count only 90 percent
of the population rather than all of it.
Your suggestion that this plan will "improve the accuracy of the census" reminded
me of a headmaster at a prestigious boarding school who, when presented with a school
poll showing that 44 percent of the student body smoked marijuana, demanded to know the polling technique used by the school newspaper.
When told that every single student had been polled, the headmaster said: "No wonder
the number is so high. Real polling firms don't reach every person. You had better
do the poll again. Only this time, just take a random sampling of the student body." The logic behind the Census Bureau's decision is about as sound.
New York, March 5, 1996