Count Us Out

Nos among the noses

Censuses have become part of modern life, whether the counted cared to have their noses tallied or not. But in a rare display of actuarial obstinacy, West Germans last week won a skirmish in a war that attacks the very concept of the national head count.

Leading the fight was the Green Party, a loose amalgam of environmentalists and antinuclear militants, which charged that the Volkszählung, or people count, amounted to an invasion of privacy. (The questionnaire asks about everything from monthly rent to religious beliefs.) Last week an eight-judge federal court decided that there was merit to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!