If you’ve been around long enough to go through a few presidential cycles as an adult, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Survey.

The survey is essentially a government tracking tool that is sent out periodically to a sample-sized group of Americans across the country. It contains several pages of questions relating to income, family structure, home ownership, job status and other subject matter.

The goal of the survey is to use the answers obtained to gain a better understanding of important facts and trends relating to American society.

Many individuals and groups think that the survey is of vital importance in that it enables demographers, statisticians, policy makers, program administrators and others to gain a clearer picture of the “real” America.

It is thus quite understandable that they are now expressing dire concerns regarding the government’s proposal to stop soliciting much family -related information via the survey. The Census Bureau has tagged the effort as “low benefit.”

Groups across a wide universe of interests don’t see it that way. As noted in a media overview of the census survey and its implications for marriage and divorce-related information, critics of curtailed data collection and analysis say that family-focused information gathering has implications “on everything from social research to Social Security.”

What is happening with American families “ripples across the entire society,” notes one commentator addressing the proposal to cut back on the survey.

It is often pointed out that, while other sources of information also exist to capture family-related data, the census survey is preeminently important for promoting that purpose.

As noted, it is yet conjecture whether the survey will in fact be materially curbed in the future. Reportedly, any changes adopted would first go into effect from the 2016 document.