I was thinking back to a similar episode, 2010 years ago, if we are to believe the evangelists, when Mary and Joseph had to travel widely, under the orders of the Roman Emperor Augustus, to return to their city of birth to be counted. My trip was considerably longer, having had to cross an ocean and a wide continent, in order to be counted, but was of course far more comfortable.
“Yes”, national counting is still being practised in this powerful nation, not unlike a new Rome. We shall not forget that few countries but Sweden have a national register sufficiently precise to forego national censuses. In the US, a comprehensive national counting is being done every 10 years and is taken VERY SERIOUSLY. If I understand the reason right, to judge from the questions I had to answer, this was mostly about how to delineate voting districts, but will of course also provide necessary information for all types of municipal and regional planning. An oddity in the whole exercise, seen with Swedish (but not necessarily Austrian) eyes, is the intense ambition of getting the race of the resident properly identified. In order to be helpful, I indicated that the term “being of white Alpine race” would be the most fitting in my case, but this category did not exist as an alternative on the form. Just to make sure, Kathy asked me whether this implied also a Hispanic trace in my blood, which I could not accommodate her with, to our mutual regret.