Census Bureau Wants You … Or At Least Your Answers

So you received that U.S. Census form and placed it in a pile of other "I'll get to it when I can" documents. The government wants and actually requires you to "get to it" by February 12 — and in this case it really is important.

It's not Washington wanting to invade your privacy. The data is critical for federal, state and local governments; industry groups and trade associations; and even your organization. Yes, the numbers that emerge are needed to paint an accurate picture of the U.S. economy.

I won't go through all the reasons you need to comply. The Census Bureau web site has the details, including assistance with completing the form. Remember, the deadline is February 12.

Do Your Part: Count to 10

Still not sure about that U.S. Census form every household is required to fill out next March. Try this fact on for size: For every 1% increase in the number of people who mail back their questionnaires, the U.S. government will save between $80 and $90 million.

How? Because the U.S. Census Bureau is required to hire field workers to track down the estimated 130 million people who don’t return their questionnaires. Thus, avoid this second requirement by living up to the first requirement. It’s that simple.

Most people know that census results help ensure proper federal representations (in Congress and the Electoral College), as well as allocations of billions of dollars coming back from Washington to states and local communities. You might not know:

  • The 2010 census process actually began last spring when field workers went door-to-door with GPS computers in order to verify every address in the United States 
  • The second phase, which involves sending the questionnaires to each address, features a form with only 10 questions
  • Field workers will do follow-ups between April and July, and in December of next year, the Census Bureau will send the population information to the president, as mandated by law

Here are some other items to remember:

  • If you mail back your 2010 forms successfully and completely, no one from the bureau will come to your home
  • If you have not returned your form or have not answered each question completely, a field worker from the Census Bureau will knock on your door between April and July 2010
  • If a field worker does knock on your door you can ask him or her to share with you the following: a valid identification badge, contact information of a supervisor or regional office and a letter on official Census Bureau letterhead
  • A bureau representative will never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number or a credit card number
  • The Census Bureau will never contact you by e-mail

Again, simply fill out the form and your job is done. You have saved future visits, taxpayer money and helped your state in the national count.

Indiana has more information available here