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Census Day questions answered

Posted by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 10:01 AM
  • 19 Replies


Census Day questions answered

By Ed Hornick and Kristi Keck, CNN
April 1, 2010 8:28 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- You've probably seen the ad campaign encouraging you to take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions and fill out your census form. The Census Bureau wants everyone to put their completed forms in the mail by April 1, National Census Day.

This year's questionnaire is one of the shortest in history, but the results of the survey have long-term effects. Haven't sent yours in yet? Lost your form? Here's what you need to know:

What happens if I don't turn in my form?

If you do not return it, a replacement form will be sent. Some hard-to-count areas will automatically receive a second questionnaire.

In addition, you may get a knock at your door from a census-taker between April 1-July 31.

There are also legal ramifications: Under the law, it is a crime to not answer the census and courts can impose a fine of up to $5,000 for not responding. But the bureau says it will use that as the last resort.

I never got a form. What should I do?

Your form should have arrived by mid-March. If not, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week through the end of July.

Those who are hearing impaired are able to utilize TDD 1-866-783-2010.

For information on assistance in languages other than English, click here.

Census Day is not a deadline, so you'll still be able to send in your information after that date.

What do I do if I lost my form?

You can either wait for a replacement form, call the information line or visit a Be Counted location to fill out the form.

After April 12, you'll be able to call and request a phone interview in place of filling out the form, a Census Bureau spokeswoman said.

I sent in my information. What happens next?

The Census Bureau will sift through your information and record the answers into its database. By law, it has until December 2010 to give population statistics to President Obama and until March 2011 to deliver information to the states.

Have a complaint?

Call the Census Bureau's general information number at 1-800-923-8282.

Worried about who sees your information?

The Census Bureau is barred from sharing your answers with anyone, including the IRS, FBI, CIA or any other government agency.

In addition, all employees take a nondisclosure oath and are "sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data," according to the bureau's Web site.

Anyone caught disclosing information faces a fine of up to $250,000, up to a five-year prison sentence, or both.

Why is it important to fill out the census form?

The census, taken every 10 years, is used to determine how to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds and how to allocate seats in the House of Representatives.

"There is no representative democracy without it. It's the scientific, nonpartisan, apolitical starting point of what eventually becomes a quite partisan, political process," said Kenneth Prewitt, a professor at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and the former director of the Census Bureau.

Source: The Census Bureau

by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 10:01 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Jes on Apr. 1, 2010 at 10:49 AM

No one will be knocking on my door, I live on base!  LOL

Eh... I sent my in...  I was a good girl.

by Joqui on Apr. 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

I sent my in the day I got it :)

by Platinum Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM

My husband and i are filling ours out today.  We received it a few weeks ago but were waiting for today to fill it out.


by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM

 I think it is funny... the ones who refuse to fill these out are only hurting them selves and their community..

by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM

GOP congressman calls out conservatives pushing ‘blatant misinformation’ about the Census.

McHenry2For over a year, many on the right have led a smear campaign against the Census, potentially underminingthe constitutionally mandated decennial count. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) led the charge, making outlandish claims about internment camps and proudly declaring in June that she would not fill her form, in violation of federal law. Meanwhile, right-wing talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh urged listeners to not fully complete their forms, with Beck warning that answering the race question would somehow “increase slavery.” Today, in a post on the conservative blog Red State, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC) called out this “blatant misinformation” and urged all Americans to complete the Census, as it is our “Constitutional duty”:

No, what worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives. They are trying to do the right thing, but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms. [...]

Anyone who tells you that this year’s census is unconstitutional and that you are not required to fill out the form completely is flat out wrong. They argue that because this year’s census asks for more than a simple count of how many people live in your home, it is unconstitutional and therefore should not be completely filled out. That argument doesn’t stand up to either history or the Constitution’s text.

McHenry mentioned the startling news that some of the most Republican counties in Texas have had some of the lowest Census return rates in the country, implying that conservative fear mongering is to blame. He also noted that the race question has been asked since 1790, so suggesting “that this question or others like it make this year’s census unconstitutional is absurd.” And in a thinly veiled rebuke of Beck, Limbaugh, and Bachmann, McHenry wrote that “calls to only partially fill out census forms…feed a climate of mistrust in the census and need to be refuted.”

by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I want to refuse just because.....


*This is a JOKE.

by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:25 PM

I am 47 and I remember a few census...I do not recall, before this year, where people were refusing to fill them out....

by Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:33 PM

I sent mine in.  : 0 )

by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:44 PM

 Do people REALLY think the government doesn't have tabs on them already without this form? What with driver's licenses, social security cards, jobs, bills, credit cards, etc... All our info is out there.

by Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:45 PM

already did mine.

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