Confidentiality & Security

Responses Are Confidential

By federal law (Title 13, United States Code), the information on your Census form is completely confidential and cannot be disclosed for 72 years.  The Department of Justice recently reaffirmed the confidentiality of the information gather by the Census Bureau.  The Census Bureau does not share an individual's information with courts, the police, or any other government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Homeland Security, not even under the Patriot Act. Click here to view the letter by the Department of Justice on Title 13 and the Patriot Act.

Bureau employees swear by  Title 13 to protect confidentiality.  If they fail to, they can suffer harsh criminal penalties, including a prison sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine.  Every person with access is subject to this law.

The Bureau uses all responses namelessly, for statistical purposes only.  Typically, it simply adds them up into large sums, such as the number of people in a city.