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