How To Count Hoovervilles?

This is a sentence you don't ever want to read:

"The quality of the US census may be undermined because of rising numbers of people living in garages, tents, basements and motels as the financial crisis deepens."

That's from the Financial Times, which says that "there is little data on the rise in 'non-traditional' housing, which is something the Census Bureau will generate for the first time as it seeks people out this year." The Bureau will hire 2,000 additional census-takers to deal with this population, which is usually small enough to fly under the radar.

And if the rise in "non-traditional" housing in the U.S. is large enough to impact a census that will count over 300 million people, I wonder what the impact has been in hard-hit developing nations like those in Eastern Europe?

For more on the human impact of the housing bubble's burst, view our photo gallery.