When & how do I get counted?

Getting counted is important, easy, and confidential.  How will the 2010 census take place? Below are five key steps you should know in order to get counted:

Step 1:  Census advance letters mailed to all households. 

Households will receive advance letters between January and March 2010.  The advance letter notifies households that a questionnaire is on the way and explains why it is important for them to participate.  The letter will explain that their response is mandatory and that their answers will be kept confidential.

Step 2:  Census forms are mailed or delivered to households. 

More than 130 million households throughout the country will receive a Census form in mid-March 2010, either by mail or in person by a Census worker.  Households should complete and return the form as soon as possible.

Step 3:  Census Day is April 1, 2010.  

April 1 is established by the Census Bureau as Census Day.  Responses should include everyone living in your household on April 1, including name, relationship to the head of household, gender, age, birth date, ethnic origin, race, and status as home owner or renter. You will finish in less than 10 minutes and your information will be kept confidential.  Households should complete and return their forms as soon as possible.   Those households that have not returned their Census forms by April 9th will receive a follow-up visit from a Census worker to obtain their responses in person.

Step 4:  Census workers visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail. 

Between May and July 2010, households that still have not returned their questionnaires will be visited by a Census worker to take a count in person.

Step 5:  The Census results are in. 

By December 2010 the Census Bureau will deliver population counts to the President for apportionment, as required by law.  Apportionment is the process that determines the number of representatives that each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives based on population.