Controversy is growing over the use of tax dollars for the Census Bureau to advertise in the upcoming Super Bowl. It is reported that the Census Bureau is spending $2.5 million dollars on a Super Bowl ad. This ad is only one part of a $133 million dollar advertising budget for a five month publicity campaign. All of it is aimed at getting households in the U.S. to participate in the upcoming national 10 question survey.
The census is a very important survey that highlights major trends in the American Life. Participation in the survey is voluntary and response rates are known to be rather low. Sun Times reports that "The government can save $80 million to $90 million in in-person census interview costs, we're told, for each percentage point increase in the national census mail-back response rate."
Is it worth it? $2.5 million dollars of tax payer money spent for a 30 second spot encouraging participation in the survey. Is it really worth it? I'm not sure, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.