Did You Miss Getting a Form?

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

Is the address on your form not what you expected?

As we’re getting closer to the census, it’s a good time to answer some questions about various quirks of the process of mailing letters and forms out to 120 million addresses all at once.

In short, almost everything that can happen, will happen. Although we’ve checked and double-checked our address list and worked with the Postal Service to make sure we’ve supplied them the addresses as they can most easily use them, unexpected events will occur. Some of these are nothing for a household to worry about; others mean that we may have missed something.

One question keeps popping up: What should I do if my census form has an incorrect address or if I don’t receive a form at all?

If your form has the wrong city name or zip code, please note the following:

  • The actual location of your address has been verified for accuracy. Contained in the barcodes on your form is information about the correct geographic location to which your housing unit belongs. This geographic information was verified last year by census workers who physically located each housing unit on the ground and assigned the housing units a “geocode” using special census maps and GPS coordinates.
  • The address on your census form or advance letter may not list the city name you identify with or are used to seeing on your mail. This is a result of a cost-saving measure that streamlines how the forms are sorted and delivered to you by the U.S. Postal Service. It will NOT affect which city, town or block your household’s responses will be assigned to.

If your city or area did not receive census forms, please be patient. The forms are either on their way, or census workers will come in May through July to conduct the census in person.

If you don’t receive a form at all, please take the following steps:

1) Wait: If you haven’t received a form, wait until April 12 to allow time for it to arrive. Millions of census forms are on their way to households across the country.

2) Contact Us: If you still have not received your form by April 12, then you may contact one of our 2010 Census Toll-free help lines.

  • English: 1-866-872-6868
  • Chinese: 1-866-935-2010
  • Korean: 1-866-955-2010
  • Russian: 1-866-965-2010
  • Spanish: 1-866-928-2010
  • Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010
  • TDD (Telephone Display Device for the hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010
  • Puerto Rico (in English): 1-866-939-2010
  • Puerto Rico (in Spanish): 1-866-929-2010

3) Visit a Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted center: These are sites where you can obtain a questionnaire. A “Be Counted” questionnaire asks you to put down a full description of your address, and then contains the same 10 questions as the other Census form. You can complete a Be Counted questionnaire if you have not received your form. Beginning March 19 through April 19, Be Counted questionnaires will be available in public locations, such as libraries, within your community and at Questionnaire Assistance Centers where census workers will be available to answer questions. Beginning March 18, these locations will be posted on 2010Census.gov.

The bottom line is that we have a whole series of operations to make sure that we include you in the census at the right location.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to ask.census.gov

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24 Responses to Did You Miss Getting a Form?

  1. f lang says:

    I just opened up a letter with Census 2010 plastered on the front– only to tell me that I should be expecting my census form in about a week.
    Can you tell me how many people got these letters? Please do not tell me that everyone did– What a waste of government resources— YOu are not being a good steward for the taxpayer and this is a huge waste of money that could have been used elsewhere.
    First class mail is not the only way this could have gone out, please start spending our taxes properly.

  2. Julie Wilson says:

    Last weekend, I arrived home to a plastic bag hanging off of my rural mailbox. In it was a 2010 Census form with an address totally different than my own (The city, state, and zip WERE correct) Being a little hesitant to fill my census form out with this unknown address, I waited until I could sit down and review it further…Today I called the toll-free “help”number listed and after 10+ minutes of going through the available options, was finally able to request to speak to an actual census representative. I spoke to this person and inquired about my problem—I could tell that she was doing the best that she could, but could not answer my question about the address. I then asked to speak to her supervisor or for a contact number where I could possibly get an answer to my question. I then spoke to a supervisor who also could not answer my question. I was told however, that a census worker would visit my home sometime this summer to obtain my information when it was not received. I felt that this service was totally unnecessary as I am more than capable (I have an advanced graduate level degree) and willing to fill the form out if one is supplied to me with the correct address. The supervisor did take my information and said that she would send out a replacement form. I am still left questioning whether a form IS out there with my correct address being filled out by someone else who might not be conscientious enough to check the address…Your post above presents me with the possibility of different addressing being used although this explanation was never offered to me. Still after 38+ minutes of my time, I’m not sure that what was seemingly a simple question concerning addressing, was completely and confidently answered.
    Also, I guess I have a little problem with this form being left hanging on my mailbox,which sits on a busy county highway a quarter of a mile from my house—where anyone could remove and fill out on their own.
    Needless to say, I am frustrated because I am trying to fulfill my duty as a United States citizen of filling out a simple form, but have already spent too much of my own time along with seeing the extreme misuse of taxpayers monies that are being spent for a process that obviously has some faults.

  3. Kaylene Ashbridge says:

    I misplaced my form so I was looking how to obtain another form. When I called the number-it asked for my ID number that was on the form which is not too helpful since I lost it. So it appears that I can get another one after March 18th from the libraries. Also online-I tried to e-mail that it was was lost and again there was no address that I could have accepted so I could inform you. So I found this and am trying this avenue. I am merely letting you know so someone can recheck the processes that are lacking so you can correct them online.

  4. e lyn says:

    I think everyone did get a letter warning of the census coming. It is a completely irresponsible way to employ the billion dollars that was unnecessarily doled out for this 10 question survey that could have easily been done online. I want to know who made the decision to do this.

  5. trudy75@hotmail.com says:

    Anyone ever heard of technology….called fill out the information via a website? I don’t read my mail and I am always traveling. Save the environment and eliminate the paper you sent to everyone’s homes. Waste of money!!

  6. W. Anthony Marsh says:

    Your census form is culturally biased. You bureaucrats have a limited and Fascist mentality. You think that every person’s name must conform to a Christian Anglo-Saxon naming convention like “John Smith.” Well, there are thousands of John Smiths so that name does not uniquely identify anyone. There are too few fields and too few spaces for each field to list full first name, middle name, last name and heritage identifier. For example, in my apartment complex many Sihks are named Singh, but that is not a last name, it is a title like Mr. Many women use hyphenated last names as do their children. Some women insist on on using their maiden name as their middle name. Some native Americans are identified by both their tribal names and their Anglicized names. Many Spanish speaking people use both their father’s family name and their mother’s family name to clarify their ancestry. Some people use Von not as a middle name, but as a family origin identifier. Your Fascist insistence on conformity to Christian Anglo-Saxon values leads to misindentification and confusion. BTW, your offering only two choices for sex is illegal discrimination.

  7. Sonia Ashe says:

    I found the census offensive and racial profiling. If you are French or German, you did not have to identify the color of your skin. If you are Hispanic, you have to identify the color of the skin. Aren’t there black French people?
    What are we really looking for?

  8. Betty Morris says:

    We received a second form. It is slightly different. The first one was our home address, LAKEWOOD, CO, the next/second form has our home address, DENVER, CO. We have already completed and mailed the lakewood one. I think we should not send ina second one, as it would “count” us twice!

  9. Bill says:

    Questions identified as #8 (Person 1) and #5 (Persons 2-7)–Same question
    This question is about Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. My question is why is this question limited to those of Hispanic, Latino and Spanish origin? Is there no interest in those who are not of this origin? If not, again, why not?
    I find this question to be at the very least prejudicial and disconcerting in what it may represent.
    Why was this question not one that simply asks each person to indicate the origin of their ancestry?

  10. Jacques Roman says:

    While I understand that you must identify all races within this great nation, you refer to what are presumed to be Caucasians as “White.” There is no such entity as a “white” race. You honor people from the Orient as Asian, Chinese, Japanese, etc., or blacks as African Americans or Negro, but you never refer to white Europeans as Caucasians.
    White is not a race. It is a color. We are Caucasians, no necessarily white. Some European Caucasians may be light skinned as the western Europeans and Scandinavians, and some may be outright brown or dark skinned, as those from Mediterranean regions.
    I would urge you to refer to so-called “Whites” as “Caucasians” on your next census form — or, at the very least “Caucasian (White)” adding the parenthetical addendus for those who may be confused by the word Caucasian.
    May I stress once again that white is not a race. If you distinguish “Black” as African Am., or Negro, then would it not makes more sense to refer to people of European origin as: European Am., or Caucasian, for political correctness?

  11. anonymous says:


  12. Paul says:

    Really?? You guys are counting how many people have a loan against their homes and how many have them paid off (own free and clear)? What in the world do you think gives you that right? Certainly not the Constitution.
    As others have clearly noted, this is completely racially motivated and tuned. Why “hispanic” is separated is beyond me. I thought we were all supposed to not judge each other on our ethnic background? Isn’t that the goal? Oh, wait, maybe it isn’t….
    If you emigrated from South Africa, and you have a light complexion, are you African American? If you’re from Spain, are you both “white” and “hispanic”? Why can’t we just count people as people?
    All you’re getting from me is how many people live at my house. You don’t need to know about my mortgage. You have no right to collect my kids’ names and our phone number. My ethnicity is “American”. My race is “human”. Oh, and I want my share of the $150M you spent on TV advertisements. That’s the taxpayers’ money, not yours.

  13. Ron says:

    While the Census itself is not a waste of time….the way it is administered certainly is a waste of money !
    I vaguely remember recieving something in the mail about the census….not sure if it was accidentally thrown out or what, but I can’t find it.
    So what do you do if you lost the form, or you aren’t sure it was sent to you ?….there doesn’t seem to be a better answer to that than..”wait until someone knocks on your door”…
    MILLIONS of people will accidentally lose the census… because we all have other things in our lives that seem more important than answering what amounts to a “questionaire”. Inevitably we will spend millions to pay people to go door to door.
    If I can do my TAXES ONLINE…. WHY… can’t I do the census online ????
    1) it would be cheaper.
    2) it would have a higher participation rate
    3) it would be more convenient and tracking the result could be done in realtime.
    2010 people !!!…. the census should be available ONLINE by now.

  14. the Census is mandatory.

  15. D says:

    I never received my form but my neighbors did but I have to wait until April 12th to call to get one…. Ill forget all about it by then

  16. daniel gomez says:

    i have not received my 2010 census all my neigbors did according to the mail man cant i speak to someone in person so i can fill one out

  17. wayne says:

    If you are trying to count everyone, try mailing the form to people who use a P.O. Box for their mail also.
    It’s a lot cheaper than sending a census worker to vist my home this summer to obtain my information.

  18. Milly Herrera says:

    I received two letters but no questionnaire. When I called today, I was informed I had to call after April 12 and they were unable to help me. Why should I have to remember to do the government’s job? I called – just mail me the damn thing. Why do I have to wait until April 12? Letter, mailing house and stamps – what a waste of public funds!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Lynn says:

    We do not have mail delivery to our home and use a PO Box. Are you not mailing to PO boxes? What a waste of money to send someone to my home.

  20. Virginia V. says:

    I have not recieved any 2010 census of any kind please send one

  21. Susan Whtimore says:

    We have not received our census form nor has at least two of my neighbors. Are they still being mailed? What should we do to ensure we are counted?

  22. Susan, Please call 1-866-872-6868.

  23. Never received my form, nor a visit. It is probably to late now, but if not I would still like to fill it out.

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