Writer Molly Fischer discusses the advantages of a pearl necklace to the census bureau:
The census bureau has discovered that people will speak most readily to a census-taker who looks similar to themselves. When it comes to counting the wily residents of the Upper East Side, this seems primarily to involve wearing a pearl necklace.
“On Park Avenue, sometimes you get a retiree or that person who has the pearls who can talk their way past a doorman,” New York regional census director Lester Farthing told The Times.
A native--someone conversant in the region's social codes and customs--is an asset, on not just in the "dusty border counties of South Texas" but on Park Avenue.
“We do not require you to wear pearls, but if you live locally, you will have access and be accepted,” reiterated Marilia A. Matos, the associate director for field operations.