The Census Form
How Forms Are Distributed
Households will receive an “advance letter” in March 2010 informing them that they will soon receive a census form to fill out. For most homes, the census questionnaire will arrive by mail in March 2010. For some rural and remote areas and tribal reservations, enumerators will go door to door and gather information directly from residents. The Census Bureau encourages everyone to fill out the form and return it by mail before April 1, 2010, Census Day. About 40 million addresses in areas previously identified as hard-to-count or that have a low response rate will receive a replacement questionnaire. By late April, the Census Bureau will deploy census takers to visit all homes that still have not returned a questionnaire, to collect the information in person.
What's On The Form
The form covers six topics, and the Census Bureau estimates that most people will be able to fill it out in less than 10 minutes. These topics are listed below:
- Tenure: Is the home owned or rented?
- Relationship: How are the people in the household related to each other?
- Hispanic origin (considered an ethnicity, not a race)
- Race (respondents may choose one or more races)
The census form includes several other questions designed to help the Census Bureau determine if everyone in the household is correctly included on the form and if people are being counted in the right place. For example, residents can indicate if they included someone on the form, such as a college student, who also stays elsewhere most of the time.
Bilingual & Translated Forms
About 13 million households in areas with high concentrations of Spanish speakers, as well as families where no one over the age of 15 speaks English “very well”, will receive a bilingual form in both English and Spanish. In addition, census forms are available in Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, and Korean. There are language guides for more than 50 additional languages. Translated census forms can be requested by calling the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance line. Census forms will also be available at Questionnaire Assistance Centers and Be Counted sites to reach people who did not receive a form or believe they were left off the census form mailed from their place of usual residence.