Local census officials expect to complete door-to-door census taking within the next week, capping a surprisingly efficient enumeration effort more than a month ahead of schedule and potentially boosting overall census participation in Hawaii to more than 80 percent, compared with just 64 percent 10 years ago.Surprisingly efficient, my arse! In this Gen-Xer's time on Planet Earth, I've never encountered a more inefficiently run corporate or public-sector enterprise. The balli-balli* nature in which this was operated — trying to get everything done quickly at the expense of logic and accuracy — would put the worst offending Korean enterprises to shame.
And that's not just a matter of statistics; a vastly improved count could bring the state substantially more federal money over the next decade.
The success of this year's census effort in Hawaii is largely due to the emphasis on local benefits in census advertising and to an unprecedented effort—aided by hundreds of community groups serving as census partners—to reach out to traditionally hard-to-count ethnic and regional populations, said Kathleen Popa, manager of the Waianae Census Office.
The Honolulu Census Office has already completed follow-up visits to some 73,000 residences that did not return a 2010 census questionnaire via mail. The Waianae office, which covers Oahu's west side and North Shore as well as the outer islands, has made contact with nearly all of the 120,000 residences on its follow-up list and will spend the next week trying to coax responses from an estimated 20 percent who have not yet participated.
It is so bad, I am tempted to write the local members of Congress and explain in painstaking detail why they should not sign off on the numbers the US Census Bureau is going to present for the Aloha State, because trust me, they are nowhere near accurate.
[Side note: This is my first time linking to a story in the newly created Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which has a terrible search engine.]
* Balli-balli (빨리빨리) is Korean for "quickly, quickly," which is often a very bad way to get things done that need to be done carefully and accurately.
UPDATE (December 2010):
This is how bad.