Before reading the passage, consider the questions.
1. Do surveys play an important role in our life?
2. Are the figures in the survey always true? Why or why not?
Now read the passage and check your answers with the author's.
Surveys, Surveys and More Surveys
1. In the United States, there's a widespread belief that statistics1 don't lie. Perhaps that's why surveys are such an important part of American life. For many years, politicians, businesspeople, and scholars have used surveys to find out more about that mysterious and complicated creature, the human being.
2. American newspapers and magazines have been taking public opinion polls3 since the 1800s. In the 1930s, poll2 experts such as Elmo Poper and George Gallup began using scientific methods to select and interview participants in political surveys. Since the 1940s, American businesspeople have been developing, naming, packaging, and promoting products with the help of surveys. And also since the 1940s, surveys have been a major research tool among scholars in the social sciences. Psychologists and sociologists have asked people about everything from their religious beliefs to their sexual5 behavior. The mass media have frequently reported the results of these surveys, and the American public has always been quite interested in the responses.
3. However, the most complete and most important survey for Americans is the national census6. A census is the official count of the number of people living in a city, state, or country. The idea of a census has existed for more than two thousand years. In ancient Rome, the government counted its citiz