Fiction: Census 2050

By Jason E. Maddux

The Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Census Bureau” or “we”) is pleased to provide the 2050 Census.  Inside you will find 541 questions specifically designed to capture all your biographical, ideological, and preferential data points.  
That number is no accident. Following the civil unrest of the early and mid-2020s, Congress passed the Americans Refusing to Compromise Act of 2028 (the “Act”). The ensuing constitutional changes approved by the states consolidated the 541 voting and nonvoting members of the two chambers of Congress and eliminated all state and local governments. The Act also divided the United States into 541 geographic blocks. Your responses to this Census will determine which of these blocks the Census Bureau will assign you. You will live and work with only those fellow residents of your block, all of which look, worship, vote, and think as you do. Best of all, your sole elected official will be just like you.
The deadline to return your completed Census by cerebral transfer or, for those who can demonstrate an undue hardship, by email is June 15, 2050.  However, we recommend submitting your completed Census as soon as possible. Assignment of housing in each geographic block is on a first come, first serve basis, starting at the center of the block and moving outward. If you delay completing the Census, we may assign you housing along the border with another geographic block, forcing you to live in close proximity to others who have one or more traits not in common with you.    
As with the 2040 Census, each household must designate one adult age 18 or older as the “head of household” tasked with completing the Census. All other members of the household must abide by the geographic block assignment dictated in accordance with the Census as completed by the designated head of household. Individuals reaching the age of 18 subsequent to this Census must reside in their assigned geographic block until completion of the 2060 Census.
The Census Bureau is sensitive to the unfortunate administrative inefficiencies that plagued the population relocations following the 2040 Census. As with any new process, especially one of that magnitude, we encountered unanticipated issues.  We have worked hard this past decade to ensure there are no reoccurrences. Of particular note, we will no longer locate the white, vegan, hipster, atheist, dog owner block next to the white, vegan, hipster, atheist, cat owner block. Also, we anticipate the Census responses from the majority of U.S. residents will be identical to their responses from 2040. Thus, the amount of the U.S. population requiring relocation will be vastly reduced following the completion of this year’s Census. At the same time, we understand your views may have changed in the intervening 10 years; and we want to place you in the geographic block that best suits your current outlook.  
As a reminder, it is vitality important you complete the Census truthfully and in its entirety. The Census Bureau will not be responsible for any hardships you or your household endure due to our assigning you to a geographic block comprised of people not aligned completely with your views.  
If you have any questions regarding the Census or how to complete it, please visit our website at or call us toll-free at 1-NOMIDDLEUS.

Jason E. Maddux is an aviation attorney, who writes speculative fiction as a creative outlet each night once his two daughters are in bed. His work has appeared in Spring Into SciFi 2023, Night Terrors Vols. 6 & 14, and The Trouble with Time Travel, among others. After spending his youth moving around the southeastern United States, he now resides in what some call Occupied Virginia.


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