Completing the Form

What should I do after I get the form?

Fill out the form in blue or black ink and mail it back in the enclosed, postage-paid envelope as soon as possible.

What if I lost my return envelope?

If your postage-paid envelope is lost or missing from your package, mail your completed form to:

U.S. Census Bureau
National Processing Center
1201 East 10th Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47132

What happens if I do not return the form?

Each time a person fails to return a form, more than $11,000 is lost for programs and community services.  If you do not respond before April 1, an enumerator will arrive at your home to help you fill out the questionnaire.  The law requires that you complete and return the form.  Again, all of your information will remain confidential.

Why do you need my telephone number?

The Census Bureau may need to clarify your form responses.  Access to your telephone will allow them to do this without having to send a census worker to your home.  Your telephone number is kept confidential, as are all your responses.

Why did I receive a second questionnaire?

Second mailings are automatically scheduled for delivery if the Census Bureau does not receive your first questionnaire in time.  The Bureau has found that it can save millions of dollars in taxpayer money if a second form is mailed if the first questionnaire has not been received, rather than send a census worker to your house.  So please fill out the second questionnaire and return it in the envelope provided.

But will I get counted twice that way?

No, the Census Bureau has procedures to eliminate duplicate questionnaires. There is an ID associated with each household's questionnaire. This prevents them from counting you more than once.

Why does the census form have room for only six people?

Given the small number of households with seven or more people, it is less expensive for the Census Bureau to follow up with those households than it is to produce a print and mail questionnaire with space for seven or more people.  However, please note that the bilingual questionnaire (English and Spanish) is extended to allow for eight people.  Households with nine or more people that use the bilingual questionnaire will also have additional space on the form to add up to twelve people on the last page of the form.

Where do I put the information if I have more people in my household than the form allows?

There is space for you to record the names, sex, age/date of birth, and relationship for additional people on the last page of your form allowing for up to twelve people on the form.  Households with nine or more people that use the bilingual questionnaire will also have this additional space on the form to add up to twelve people on the last page of your form.  The Census Bureau checks this page for names and will call the household later and ask for more information about those people to ensure your questionnaire is accurate and complete.  Be sure to include your telephone number on your census form.

What is the difference between the race and Hispanic origin questions?

People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish may be of any race, so the form asks respondents to answer both questions.  There are many options, but you should choose what best describes yourself. 

On the Hispanic origin question, you should indicate your specific national origin (Mexican, Cuban, etc.), and then answer the race question.  For example, a respondent may indicate that she is a Latina of Puerto Rican descent on the Hispanic origin question and as "White" and "Black" on the race question.  Another respondent may indicate himself as Latino of Peruvian descent, and "Asian" on the race question.  Another example may be someone who identifies as Latino of Guatemalan descent, and "Some other race."

Why does the Census Bureau ask about race and Hispanic origin?

The Census Bureau collects these data according to guidelines provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and are based on self-identification.  The racial categories included in the census form generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country, and are not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically or genetically.

It is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups.  People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as "American Indian and White."  People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish may be of any race.  It's also recognized that the categories of the race item include either racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups.  You may choose more than one race category.

Information on race is required for many federal programs and is critical in making policy decisions, particularly for civil rights.  States use these data to meet legislative redistricting principles.  Race data also are used to promote equal employment opportunities and to assess racial disparities in health and environmental risks.

How do I make corrections on the form?

If the error is in a write-in box, carefully draw a line through the incorrect entry and write the correct information as close as possible to the entry you lined through.  This way, the person who reviews your form will know what you intended.  If you checked the wrong box, just draw a line through it and mark the correct box for the question.

What kind of assistance is available to help people complete the questionnaire?

For more information on seeking assistance, call (877) EL-CENSO (877-352-3676).

2010 Census questionnaire language assistance guides are available in a variety of languages. Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) will also assist those unable to read or understand the questionnaire.  Large-print questionnaires are available to the visually impaired upon request, and a Teletext Device for the Deaf (TDD) program will help the hearing impaired. 

I had difficulty completing the form and waited for a Census worker to come to my house, but no one has come.  What do I do?

Please call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at 1-866-872-6868. (If you need assistance in Spanish dial 1-866-928-2010).  The lines will be open from 8a.m. to 9 p.m. (your local time) seven days a week from February 25, 2010 through July 30, 2010.  You can always call (877) EL-CENSO for more information beginning January 1, 2010.

For the hearing-impaired, dial 1-866-783-2010 (during the times noted above).