The Next Reminder

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

The 2010 Census forms are being delivered by the US Postal Service Monday-Wednesday or so throughout the country.

This will be the second mailing to about 120 million households from the Census Bureau. We sent last week an advance letter, which is state-of-the-art practice in survey research. The advance letter is an act of courtesy that also legitimizes this week’s mailing (the actual census form) and thereby leads to higher participation rates. Since the cost of census takers’ salaries to follow up with face-to-face visits is so high, the advance letter saves taxpayer money, compared to just sending out the form.

Judging from emails I’ve received protesting our spending on an advance letter, it’s clear that it would be good for me to review the efficiencies of the various mailings. Research throughout the world has shown that some people will not fill out the census form immediately, some will put it on a table along with other mail. It tends to be forgotten, not as a deliberate act, but merely in the belief that we’ll get to it later. Anything we can do to remind people of the importance of filling out the form can avoid the expensive follow-up stage of the Census.

The week of March 22, we’ll send a little postcard reminding people to fill out the form and mail it back, if they haven’t already done so. The postcard does cost money (just like the advance letter) but the little nudge to mail it back, if successful, avoids the $57 it will cost to travel out to take an interview in person. Much research shows that it more than pays for itself.

One of my most important obligations as director is to be a careful steward of the taxpayers’ money. I feel this deeply, and I’m very sure that this use of money is a wise investment to avoid much larger salary costs of staff to follow up those who do not fill out the form and mail it back.

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120 Responses to The Next Reminder

  1. ShortSighted CostCutting says:

    It is unfortunate that return envelops are not included with the forms. Cost saving policy? I suspect response will be less than hoped for and costs will be higher if census takers are required to come out in person. So much for being a “careful steward of the taxpayers’ money”. Pennywise, pound foolish.

  2. Danielle Catlin says:

    I’m glad you explained the extra letters because I was one of those who was concerned about the extra cost. This is the first year I had to fill out the census form, and I was surprised at how easy it was. The only problem I have is how the word “Negro” is still used. It was very offensive. Some of the people I spoke with don’t want to even mail their form. This will lead to you having to spend the $55 so you can get them counted. Please address this issue.

  3. Count Me In says:

    I did not receive a letter telling me I would get a census and did not receive a census. When I called the number to request a census, I was asked for my census ID number, which I did not have because (as stated) I did not receive a census. I called back and spoke to a representative who read from a script to tell me that if my census was not returned a representative would bring one to me. How can they bring one to me if I’m not in the system and they will not be looking for me to return a census if one was never mailed to me?

  4. Mark says:

    I have no problem with the advanced mailing. I would suggest that you consider making the return envelope for the actual census form a different color (blue/pink).
    I just filled out my form. I have three pieces of paper with the 2010 Census logo lying around. I will carefully mail my form but I see that it would be very easy to fill out the form put it in the envelope and leave it laying around with the advanced letter and the outside mailing envelope by mistake.

  5. Maira says:

    Why is Hispanic, Latino, Spanish not a race? I do not consider myself any of the races listed. I believe this will deter alot of us “of Hispanic, Latino, Spanish origin” from sending in the form.

  6. Dee says:

    Is there an online form available? We’re in the year 2010…no flying cars, and now this. A SNAILMAIL Census form! I have to *write* with a *pen*. How…how 1972! 😉
    What about iPhone…Is there an app for this?

  7. Dee says:

    I got a return envelope with mine…

  8. Cathy says:

    FYI to the Census Bureau. I received two (2) Census Forms. One in a large envelope and one in a smaller envelope. They are exact duplicates. Addresses on both are correct. Maybe just a little waste of money. How many residents in our area do you think received duplicates?

  9. Chris says:

    Why the inclusion of race at all?? Afterall the constitutional purpose of this exercise is to reapportion congressional districts. What does my race, home ownership, or my age have anything to do with this?? Also, on the Census’ section discussing the American Community Survey, the site indicates Title 13 Section 221 of US Code is “in effect” amended by Title 18 Sections 3571 and 3559 raising the fine for not responding to the Census from up to $100.00 to no more than $5000.00. Well I took the time and reviewed the language. While I’m not an criminal attorney, I found the key word in play here is “in effect”. I cannot find the connection between the two and will be consulting an attorney for giggles and grins regarding the bureaus assertion. Have fun everyone being “classified”

  10. Concerned Person says:

    I suggest that you please train your reps. A lady with a thick accent answered the response hotline, after the automated system ran me through the works for close to 20 mins. My first (and ONLY) question to her was “Is my participation mandatory?”) Her response? “Please wait while I RESEARCH your question to provide you with an answer!” I was then put on hold for close 3 mins… after which, I hung up!

  11. JeffersonEng says:

    I did not receive an advance letter to my home address and I fear that the actual survey will not make it to me. The reason I feel this is where I reside is not traditionally considered a separate unit from the main property in front. I have the same exact address as the main property, but I’m a separate household behind that property and not visible from the street. Normally it is distinguished at the end of the street address as “Rear”. This difference may or may not be known to the canvassers as well, and thus an actual visit from a census taker may not take place. And I suppose we wouldn’t want to have yet another uncounted household here…

  12. John says:

    If the form is mailed before 1 April, it requires you to guess, since you have no way to know before 1 April how many people reside there as of 1 April. How stupid to ask for information as of 1 April and ask for mail backs prior to that date.

  13. Shirley Shanklin says:

    AS a black american female I took the choice of answers for my race to be highly offensive in question 9 .The word negro haven’t been used to describe a black person since the sixties. No other race was referred to by more than one name even though there are more than one to describe some of the races. I find this census to be very insulting and should be rewritten with the word negro left off.

  14. Sherril says:

    I am surprised and rather upset that there is no facility for online census and that there are multiple mailings at significant cost to ‘invite’ or ‘remind’ us to participate.
    What about PSAs on local media? What about media requests to sing up on line THEN snail mail to those on lists who haven’t gone on-line.
    We’re spending money the wrong way to spur the recovery.

  15. Chris,
    Race is key to implementing many federal laws and is needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
    For more information on why certain questions are asked please visit:

  16. JeffersonEng,
    If you still have not received your form by April 12, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at 1-866-872-6868. (If you prefer a Spanish-speaking operator, then dial 1-866-928-2010.) The lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (your local time) seven days a week from February 25, 2010 through July 30, 2010. For the hearing-impaired, TDD 1-866-783-2010 (during the times noted above).

  17. John,
    April 1, is a simply a reference date, please return the form upon receipt.

  18. Christopher Berry says:

    If the census is a record of every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010 then why am I being asked in March to “please complete and mail back the enclosed form today.” What if someone was to be born, die or move between the time the form was completed in March and the April 1 census date?

  19. Chris,
    The Census Bureau is dedicated to meeting our Constitutional mandate of counting every person living in the United States. To meet this mandate, we have learned that people are more likely to mail back their census form if they fill it out and send it in immediately after receipt. April 1, 2010 is simply a reference day.

  20. Alex says:

    As they did ten years ago, the Gov’t neglected to set a due date and then include it on the form. The only note close to a due date is a weak request to return the form ASAP, but not a mandate, despite the requirement to actually return it. I take it that this means I can wait several months or even years to return the form and still be in compliance. Not sure the politics behind this blantant error but it is poor business.
    Why no Due Date?

  21. Alex,
    We have learned that people are more likely to mail back their census form if they fill it out and send it in immediately after receipt instead of waiting until a due date which they are likely to forget. If a household does not fill out their census form someone will come to their door to collect the missing information.

  22. Bill D says:

    So April 1 is a reference date. Sorry, I obey the law and will truthfully respond after April 1 if I am still alive. I intend to comply with the law and your census direction that “The Census must count every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010.” and that the information submitted is accurate.
    Close enough for government work now has a new meaning, a slipshod Robert M. Groves 2010 census.
    I don’t cheat on my taxes and I will not cheat on the Census. Mr. Groves, stop wasting my tax money sending me any more mail.

  23. John Wodcock says:

    I mailed my response within two days of receiving it and here comes this reminder letter in the mail today. How about giving us time to fill out the forms and take us of the mailing list? And how about a less insulting racial question? I propose a text box where we can enter our own ethnicity(s).

  24. Betty J Broussard says:

    What a waste.Look at the money that we spent.Keep digging deeper. Hell can’t be to far away.

  25. Fred says:

    I received the census and filled it out immediately and mailed it the next day yet before you even enter my info in your system you send me a reminder postcard!? What a waste! Why didn’t you wait until you entered my info and only sent the reminder postcards to those addresses that didn’t return the census? Better yet, how about a website we could have used which would have saved time and money.

  26. Marcia Etlicher says:

    I think the census bureau is treating people like children and wasting a lot of taxpayer money in the process. First we got the letter telling us we would get the form (totally unnecessary) and then we get the form. The message from the Director, U.S. Census Bureau states ‘Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today.’ On the form, we are responding as to whether we are living at the address on April 1, 2010. Then today, we get a postcard because I have not mailed my form back (totally unnecessary). How can the census be accurate, if I am saying we are LIVING at the address on April 1 and that date has not come yet. Maybe the Census Bureau is in need of clarification. You can’t mail form immediately state you are living at the address on April 1, 2010.

  27. Marcia Etlicher says:

    Why don’t you send the form closed to the April 1, 2010 date if that is when we are telling you that we are living at an address on that date?

  28. Louise says:

    If you want 2 forms filled out by everyone did it occur to you that you could SAVE A TON OF MONEY ON POSTAGE if you just sent 2 forms and 2 envelopes in the same GD package to begin with. . . DOH!
    This whole process is so AGGRAVATING. I do what I am supposed to by filling in the form and sending it right away so now I get a second one in less than 7 days to fill out again, along with another reminder letter and postcard.
    Like it’s not bad enough that every tv channel, radio station etc. is promoting the Census every 10 minutes and how important it is. Well I’m sick of hearing it, seeing it and getting crap in the mail for it.
    I’ve done my civic duty now leave me the H*ll alone.
    Oh, and don’t try to tell me that the first one must have been lost in the mail ’cause you haven’t received it by April 9th. It isn’t even April 1st yet.

  29. CC says:

    Why is it that customer service for United States Census is located in India??

  30. Jim says:

    This answer makes no sense!

  31. Rebecca Wall says:

    I have read the Constitution, so I know why you’re doing this, and I often use census data for research, so I want your results to be accurate. However, I do not have the power of prophecy. Question 1 clearly asks about “people living or staying in this house on April 1, 2010.” If April 1 is “simply a reference date,” your questions should be phrased differently. Our form is all filled out except for questions 1 and 2, but with their actual wording, those two cannot be answered for another week.

  32. Mrs. Geisler says:

    I am thankful that I am not alone in wondering why the US census board is expecting people to fill out a form ASAP when it distinctly asks how many people are living at an address on April 1, 2010. If I am 8 months pregnant, and I fill out the form in mid-March as directed, go into labor 2 days later and deliver a healthy baby, then that baby was not counted, even though he/she would be living in the household on April 1, 2010.
    If I am the poor jogger who was killed on the road last week, and I submitted my census ASAP, then I am, unfortunately, not alive on April 1, 2010.
    If you expect people to follow directions, then you should not have received any census returns yet, since the first question could not be answered honestly until April 1, 2010.
    Mrs. Geisler

  33. Brian says:

    Why can’t you take my call to the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center and check to see if I am even going to be sent a questionarre??
    I have not received any of the mailings that have reportedly been sent out…and I am sure that if you canvassed my area in 2008 or early 2009 to verify addresses that you did not record the address of residence as it did not exist at the time.
    It is very aggravating to make the effort to call in and ask for a questionnaire when one has not arrived by now, especially after all the hoopla around forms arriving in the mail within a three-day window.
    I am likely not to call back and I will be very angry if a census taker shows up at my door like they did in 2000 (even though I sent in a form…after having to request one) and start asking me all sorts of probing questions.
    I feel like I have done my part….I attempted to participate.

  34. John Holloway says:

    States are informed that they have to cut back on their spending because they will not get as much help from the government as they had in the past because the money it is not there. So why did the government send out a letter stating that we will soon receive our census form and then later send a post card stating that we should have already received it? If you did not send in your census form people were going to come to your house anyway so you could fill it out in person. Another government agency wasting tax payers money.

  35. m Turn says:

    “The week of March 22, we’ll send a little postcard reminding people to fill out the form and mail it back, if they haven’t already done so.”
    The census form asks who is living there on April 1st – how do I know who will be living here then – I could die before then (I drive a Toyota). I’m not filling out the form until then, and if you insisted on sending out this card it should have be after 4/1.

  36. David Ring says:

    April 1 may be a reference date to you, but it is the mandated instructions on the Government form to me. If I fill it out before April 1, I am guessing and potentially lying – I assume that lying on federal forms has penalties. If you want me to fill out the forms “on or about” April 1, I assume you would have specified it that way. I shall fill out my form on April 1 as specified (assuming I am still alive).
    For interest, we have a lady staying with us for a couple of days. Her husband is in the hospital and is not expected to live for more than a couple more days. Do you really want her to fill out her form now?

  37. David Ring,
    According to the residence rule please fill out the form for “The residence where they live most of the year.”

  38. Albert L says:

    While I understand the INFORMATION in the advance letter and the follow-up postcard may be necessary, this information would probably be just as effective to be included in the same envelope as the Census Form itself. But aside from this expense, it has been reported that the 2000 Census cost $4.5 Billion which was $15.99 per person. With an average of 2.59 persons per household, this cost $41.41 per household.
    The 2010 Census is estimated to cost $14.5 BILLION and per person $46.93 and using an average of 2.59 persons per household, a WHOPPING $121.55 per household!
    Even with inflation, these are horrendous costs. If the Census taking is indicative of the inefficiency and the runaway costs of the rest of our government, something MUST BE CHANGED!
    Albert L.

  39. Alan Guggenheim says:

    I am very disapointed (and upset as a tax payer) that you did not implement any modern way of filing the form (online). This would have save hundreds of million of dollars! I do all my business and personnal affairs on the computer, on my blackberry, online. It is faster, cheaper, safer,… And on top of that I would have an immediate proof that I completed it, without any cost. If my paper is lost in the mail (as it happens all the time), then you are going to spend more money or come after me!

  40. S.Carder says:

    TWO reminder mailings for the Census? How much $ does that cost? People are going to fill it our or not, we don’t need to send junk mail the week before and the week after!

  41. anna says:

    All I can say is this is par for our Goverment. Waste, waste, waste. Did our goverment think how much waste there is in these reminders. Oh I forgot we have no brains, we need the goverment to remind us. All this talk about going green. That only applys to us not the goverment. Can our goverment do any think right without wasting our hard earn money.

  42. Anna,
    We have extensive research that shows additional mailings alerting households to the arrival of the census form increase response rates by about 6 to 12 percentage points. The savings from that increase more than pay for these mailings. It costs about $85 million to print and mail the advance letter and reminder postcard. The potential increase in response rates demonstrated by our research could result in a savings of more than $500 million.

  43. Dorothy says:

    You must think we are stupid if it takes letter after letter using our money on Postage to get this form completed. We could pay down the debt if Government waste was controlled!

  44. wcmom says:

    All of the mailings are a waste. Send notes to people who have not responded before a person is sent out at $57 a visit. But, there is no need to send three things out for one form. It is not state of the art, it is a waste of money and pollutes the environment with unnecessary trash.

  45. wcmom says:

    Pay me $85 million and I will find a way to notify everyone about the census for less without sending out a bunch of junk mail that apparently has annoyed more people than just me from the look of this message board.

  46. Sandra L says:

    I received my 2010 Census form last week. I filled it out the same day and mailed it back the very next day. In fact, you should have it by now, I would think.
    However, today I received a postcard “reminding” me to respond. I have to say that my first thought was, “Did they not get my census form?” My second thought was, “This is a colossal WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY!” My suggestion would be to wait at least a couple of weeks before sending out this reminder, AND to check to see who’s returned their census so that these people do not get the reminder postcard. THAT WOULD SAVE MONEY – TAXPAYER MONEY.
    That being said, I’m guessing that the census bureau has the proper software to do this with. I’m curious as to whether the census bureau actually checks/records whether someone responds – or not. I surely hope so, but if not, that seems to me a better investment of taxpayer money than whatever it costs for postage and postcards to be mailed to individuals who have already returned their census forms.
    My third thought was to call the census number on the back of the card to check if you had received my completed census form, and to leave a comment that I thought the reminder mailing was much too soon and wasted money by mailing to people who had already returned their forms.
    Imagine my surprise when, contrary to what your postcard says, there are NOT Census Bureau staff available to help between 8am & 9pm. I called several times, and was NEVER put through to a human being. All I got to listen to was a voice menu and pre-recorded monologues that had nothing to do with my concerns. I finally gave up; which is what I’m sure most people will do when they can’t connect to a live human being who can answer their questions.
    So, the “help line”, which doesn’t offer any real help, is also a colossal waste of TAXPAYER MONEY. My suggestion is that if you wish to provide help for people, then please provide live human staff members who actually answer the phone and are able to assist people with questions. Someone pays for these 866 numbers, and it’s a waste of money to provide the line which people call, again at the TAXPAYER EXPENSE, but cannot obtain the help they seek.
    Furthermore, why send a postcard providing this number, when calling the number provides no assistance whatsoever? That MAKES NO SENSE. The only thing the caller can find out for sure is that it’s the law to respond to the census and if you don’t, you’ll be in trouble. I’m sure that will motivate people to respond. It’s more likely, human nature being what it is, that it will do the exact opposite. The combination of lack of help and a threat might just serve to make some people say “to heck with it.”
    All I can say is that when I received that reminder postcard today, after I had already sent my form in, I felt a little perturbed at the waste of money for postage and cost of the postcard in a time of such economic duress for most of us. To know that my government is throwing away money that I wish I had rather vexes me.
    The advance letter is a good idea that I can agree is pragmatic and the language is fine. The census form is easy. In fact,I thought it was too easy in that it didn’t ask enough questions, e.g., where one was born, if their parents are of foreign birth, and if so, are they naturalized, etc. These are all questions that have been asked on previous censuses, and it would be invaluable information for many reasons. Be that as it may, I did receive a return envelope, which I used to mail back my completed form.
    Just my 2 cents.

  47. Alex says:

    might be true, but I can still refuse to answer the worker at the door and instead, send in my form 2 years from now and still be compliant, according to the form. Seems to me that a simple “return by date” would eliminate this type of “disobediance.” If one goal is to gather the information in the most effecient manner, this omission could cost US pleanty

  48. Linda says:

    I understand the importance of the census, however, I deplore the enormous and unnecessary expenditure of money to advertise it. There are abundant TV ads, notices in newspapers, as well asreminders on the news .
    Then – about three weeks ago, we received a letter telling us that we would be receiving out census form shortly. … Forgive me, but “duh” wasn’t that the point of all the advertising ??
    Okay, the questionnaire arrived – very simple questions asked in as complicated a manner as possible. What’s wrong with “How many people permanently reside at this address”? What are their names ? Simple is a good plan in all things.
    Next – we received a postcard reminding us that we needed to comple4te the census questionnaire. I ask again – wasn’t that the point of all the advertisements ?? Which, by the way are ongoing.
    Such a waste of paper, postage, and the man-hours to prepare and mail three things where one – the census questionnaire !!! – would have sufficed.
    The census may tell you where money, infrastructure, schools, etc are needed. But, after the cost of the overkill to advertise it – will there be any money to dispense ??

  49. Mary J says:

    I went on here to comment on the fact that I have to date received 3 separate mailings – one to let me know it was coming, two – the actual form and three a postcard reminding me to send it back. This is a waste of money and my time. In scrolling down to actually get to this form, I noticed some other comments like mine and also agree with the person who wanted to know why we couldn’t fill out online – I agree in this day and age – online would make sense. I also agree with all of the people who commented on the April 1, 2010 question… mine will also be sent in on April 1st – even tho it is ready and sitting waiting to be mailed. A lot of government waste as usual.

  50. Soveriegn Ohio says:

    I do not plan on filling out anything BEFORE April 1st. I don’t want to put down incorrect information about April 1st. I might be dead by then and I don’t want my wife fined for lying on the form.
    If someone comes to my door before then, they will not get any answers.

  51. says:

    I received a mailing that the 2010 Census was coming, then I received a post card stating that it was mailed and my participation was required by law. I have not received the census. I could not order one because I don’t have a census id on any of the previous correspondence. The endless loop of a phone tree was quick to point out the law but lack the ability to help. I am very disappointed that a simple process of information flow is made so confusing, useless and ineffective. The elder lady in my neighborhood has had the same experience and is afraid she is going to be arrested. Shame on you Uncle Sam….

  52. RAC says:

    I misunderstood the opening sentence of the form indicating that the count is to take place on April 1, 2010. As today is only March 23, 2010 and I have already filled out the form, I thought that I would wait until April 1, 2010 to verify that the count was correct before mailing it in.
    Had you omitted that sentence, you would have received my completed form by now and spared the expense of sending me a post card. I will put it in the mail tomorrow at the first opportunity.
    Ta Ta For Now,

  53. John Lane says:

    This may be a stupid question, but why are we being told to fill out the census form as soon as possible. The form states that “the Census must count every person living in the United States on April 1st”. How do you know if someone is going to die before then? I’m waiting for April 1st just in case and I don’t have a death wish.

  54. John Lane says:

    Right ON!!

  55. says:

    I received a reminder notice but have not received the census form yet. Three families live on my land seven adults and four children) and it seems we will not be counted. Last cesus we were not counted since no forms or reminders were receved whatsoever. A few neighbos were visited but no one on my street. Puerto Rican American

  56. Terry Bossieux says:

    It is surprising that the Government is once again waisting the taxpayers money. The Census is necessary. But, why send a reminder that we are going to get a census – I think we all knew that. Send us the Census, and then send us a reminder to respond to the census. So we, (the tax payers) have paid three times (so far) for something that needs to be done once. Maybe the funds should be spend on education, if the government believes that we cannot fill out a fairly simple form.

  57. Mary J,
    An Internet option is something we looked into for the 2010 Census. However, earlier in the decade research found that it didn’t provide enough protection for individual census responses. The Census Bureau is committed to getting an accurate count of the population and doing so in a way that protects the confidentiality of respondents. Also, tests for 2010 found that the Internet option didn’t increase the response rate and didn’t provide the necessary savings.

  58. You can also pick up a form at one of our be counted sites.

  59. Please fill out the form upon receipt, April 1 is a reference date.

  60. You can also pick up a census form at one of our be counted sites

  61. Linda,
    After the 2000 Census, we returned to the Treasury some $305 million in savings. Then Secretary of Commerce Don Evans testified in 2001 to the U.S. Senate that those savings came about from our advertising, promotion, and PR efforts encouraging households to mail back their forms, increasing response rates over the prior census for the first time in three decades. The total we spend on all promotion and advertising is about one dollar per person in the United States. It costs just 42 cents to mail back the form, but it costs $57 for follow up with non-responding households, many of which we must visit several times to reach someone at home.

  62. Sherril,
    An Internet option is something we looked into for the 2010 Census. However, earlier in the decade research found that it didn’t provide enough protection for individual census responses. The Census Bureau is committed to getting an accurate count of the population and doing so in a way that protects the confidentiality of respondents. Also, tests for 2010 found that the Internet option didn’t increase the response rate and didn’t provide the necessary savings.

  63. Ruth says:

    I’ll send you mine!

  64. Dan Waninger says:

    I did not get a form ????

  65. RUTH says:

    I, too, wanted to voice my opinion on the absurd waste of time and money…all these over-kill commercials; advance “warnings” of impending receipt of wasted paper; actual census forms that seem to insult our intellegence and color of our skin (why the H*LL do they care, what does THAT have to do with ANYTHING); then even more wasted paper to remind (again, insulting!, what, are we in kindergarden here?) us that we should have received a bunch of wasted paper previously and REMEMBER (oh please,) to fill out the paper and return the paper…………….blah blah. GET A GRIP. How can the government, in good conscience, WASTE MONEY; PAPER; TIME; over and over again, not to mention the insulting nature of the whole mess. We don’t seem to have enough money to spend on schools or teachers; firemen; policemen; busing; yet look at the waste on finding out where we need to spend the money the government has wasted on this “campaign” NOW WHAT? I’m appalled. What’s that old saying…waste not want not. WISE UP!
    As an afterthought, I may just inclued all my “notices” in the envelope with the census! How ’bout that?

  66. Ruth,
    The Census is very important for funding and services to schools or teachers, firemen, policemen yet based on historical response rates, we expect roughly two thirds of households will mail back their form. The rest we will have to send an enumerator to collect the data required by the Constitution. You can imagine that follow-up is an expensive proposition. In fact, every one percent increase in the number of households who mail back the form saves the taxpayers about $85 million in expensive door-to-door follow up.
    We have extensive research that shows additional mailings alerting households to the arrival of the census form increase response rates by about 6 to 12 percentage points. The savings from that increase more than pay for these mailings. It costs about $85 million to print and mail the advance letter and reminder postcard. The potential increase in response rates demonstrated by our research could result in a savings of more than $500 million.

  67. Money wasted says:

    Well I received everything, sent in my census the same day and yet today, I received a post card requesting I fill out my census – Another reminder why we do not want Government to run anything!

  68. Mary says:

    I believe the Census Bureau is wasting my tax dollars, sending a letter announcing the census, the census and then a reminder postcard before the census is even due. This would never happen in private industry.
    I do object to race and ethnic questions, we are all Americans correct and would that not be our ethnic background if born and raised in this country. American should be a choice and I will write it in under other.
    I also, object to the question about home ownership how does that help to enumerate the people? It should not matter whether I own or rent I still exist there, correct?

  69. Margaret says:

    It is shameful the money this dept of goverment is wasting. First we get a letter reminder us the form will follow, now we get a postcard seeing if we have filled the form out. Does this dept think we are stupid? Also all the gimmicks that the offices have spent!!! Our local board got mugs and tote bags, as if you would see a man carrying a tote bag!!!! It’s time the government started to curb their spending.

  70. David says:

    I understand the postcard, but I imagine there were thousands of people who sent the form back immediately and didn’t need the card. What a waste of postage or re-direct of government funds.
    Maybe sending the Census form and then a follow-up a month later would be less confusing and cost effective then 3-5 mailings to each household.

  71. MG says:

    PLEASE tell me why you are wasting taxpayer dollars by sending SO MANY unnecessary mailings regarding the Census!
    1st mailing – telling me the Census was coming
    2nd mailing – the actual Census which I completed & returned!
    3rd mailing – a postcard telling me I should have received my Census. By the time I got this I had already returned the Census.
    It’s been all over the news….WE GET IT….IT’S IMPORTANT…..IT’S ENOUGH!!!!!!!
    Most of us in this country aren’t MORONS!

  72. Bobs Uruncle says:

    This is what happens when the Government hires workers who do not speak English as a primary language.

  73. Carol Pelosi says:

    I live in a condominium development. Neither I or any of my neighbors have received the Census forms yet. I also did not get the advance letter. I called the assistance line and after I finally got a real person to talk to, I was referred to the regional office at 215 717-1020. I called and it rang for 3 minutes before cutting me off. So I guess whoever is assigned this area for non-response follow-up will be very busy.

  74. Karen says:

    This raises some good points, really good points.

  75. Karen says:

    Well said,I think you did your veryt best.

  76. Karen says:

    good points, I understand your reluctance.

  77. Karen says:

    Makes sense to me

  78. Karen says:

    What??? I did not even notice that!

  79. Karen says:

    You only got two – I got three?

  80. Karen says:

    Really? How is that possible?

  81. Karen says:

    I was kind of thinking the same thing.

  82. Karen says:

    Worth at least a nickle! I like your idea of much more pertinent and helpful questions. Personally, I was completely offended to be sent a letter (well, two letters) letting me know that the census was going to be going forward and I would receive a form in the mail. Are there really people out there that didn’t know that?

  83. Karen says:

    Well, maybe even more millions of dollars could have been saved by simply mailing the form – period. Then, after checking off the list of returned forms, mail out a reminder, AFTER the due date. But I admit, that would probably have cost a lot of government jobs.

  84. Karen says:

    Well, I feel so much better now knowing that no one using the internet knows there is just one person living at my address right now. But they don’t really know how many will be living here after April 1, so I guess that is good.

  85. Karen says:

    But might that not jeaopardize our confidentiality – using the internet?

  86. Glenna B says:

    Sorry Bri, but I don’t think the law refers to April 1st as a reference date. I will wait to mail mine back after it actually occurs.

  87. Glenna B says:

    Bri, please research the law. I don’t believe that “most of the year” qualifies for an accurate count! Good grief!

  88. Karen,
    It costs $.42 to send the form in by mail. It costs $57 per visit we make to the household. Extensive research has shown that multiple mailings increases mail responses.

  89. Glenna,
    The planners of the first U.S. decennial census in 1790 established the residence rules we follow. This is defined as the place where a person lives and eats most of the time (Also stated on your form)

  90. Deborah T says:

    lol, wouldnt we all like to be able to understand the operators on the other end these days!!

  91. All of the Census Bureau’s call centers are located in the U.S.

  92. Researched says:

    Similar issue- I asked the rep. why it was important to ask names, she put me on hold for about 5 mins (said she was “researching” my query) and then said that the Bureau is going to send someone to my home if I didn’t add my name- I don’t think that was the “researched” answer- some “intelligent” training is needed so have a link to FAQs for internet savvy folks on the form or find a way to answer the questions. I did add my name so I could save some tax payers’ $.

  93. mom with enough to do! says:

    How much did it cost to send the pre-letter and the postcard reminder? What a waste of taxpayer money! I even had a sticker put on my pizza box! Enough already about the census. If we don’t know about it by now, you must not have tv, radio, newspaper etc!
    I would really like to know how much is spent collecting the data on this little endeavor. More than the money our states will get back due to the info on the census? Next time just send the census and put in the papers. Enough wasting our money!

  94. Glenna B says:

    “Well, maybe even more millions of dollars could have been saved by simply mailing the form – period. Then, after checking off the list of returned forms, mail out a reminder, AFTER the due date. But I admit, that would probably have cost a lot of government jobs.”
    Well stated Karen! It sounds so simple and cost efficient.

  95. M. Kelley says:

    Do you really think illegal immigrants and people harboring them are going to include themselves? Get real. The only people who will fill the census out are the hardworking, taxpaying citizens who will be taxed even more to support these people.

  96. AW says:

    Why do you feel the need to be lazy? It’s not hard to complete a form that’s about seven questions long…

  97. AW says:

    I agree about the postcard…if it is going to be sent, it should only be sent if people have not sent in the form. I sent my Census form in the very same day I received it and yet got a stupid postcard reminding me to complete it!!

  98. Edward Inghrim says:

    I never received a notice that the form was comimg, did not receive the form and did not receive a notice that I didn’t send it back. I wonder how many other households are in this position.
    The Census Beurea is so arrogant that they don’t even have a menu pick that lets you contact them and tell them you never received the form.
    Now they w3ant to move on to Health Care. God help us.

  99. Rebecca Oberrecht says:

    I know that I have thrown away my form by mistake. I called the number listed and after going through one of the more poorly designed phone trees, I said materials and was asked for my census ID number. Since I’m asking for materials, it would seem apparent that I didn’t have that number. When I said I didn’t have it, the voice said that they couldn’t help me and hung up. When I called back and spent 5 minutes to finally get a human, I was told that I would have to wait for the reminder post card and then another mailing would go to every household that hadn’t sent the form in already. It seems that for those of us who may know we have lost the form, we just have to wait for the agency to spend more money sending us reminders. Surely there is a better way to handle this? If I’m in a database, searching by my name and address should identify me enough to send out another form.

  100. IRATE TAXPAYER says:

    “One of my most important obligations as director is to be a careful steward of the taxpayers’ money.”
    “I feel this deeply, (YAH RIGHT) and I’m very sure that this use of money is a wise (WISE? – MORE LIKE FOOLISH) investment to avoid much larger salary costs of staff to follow up those who do not fill out the form and mail it back.”





  103. Irate Taxpayer,
    We have extensive research that shows additional mailings alerting households to the arrival of the census form increase response rates by about 6 to 12 percentage points. The savings from that increase more than pay for these mailings. It costs about $85 million to print and mail the advance letter and reminder postcard. The potential increase in response rates demonstrated by our research could result in a savings of more than $500 million.

  104. Kim says:

    Interesting, the Census benefits YOU as a person who lives in a Democratic Republic – if you don’t want that responsibility, use your Constitutional right to change the government to a dictatorship in which there is no census.

  105. Kim says:

    Mary, Ruth, Karen etc,
    Of course this doesn’t happen in private industry because the LESS information private industry gives you the better off they are monetarily. This is not the same with government. The Census benefits YOU! It was designed to help you create and participate in your government. If you don’t like it VOTE!!! – with numbers received from the Census. Or . . .choose a dictatorship of some kind.

  106. Dana says:

    I worked for the Census in 2000 as enumerator. I had a full-time job during the day and worked for census in the evening. Now, for the 2010 census, there is no evening training for those of us that would like to again work for census but cannot because of the daytime training. Why is training only during the day and the call for enumerators is day and evening?

  107. ds says:

    I do not understand why it is so hard for people to just fill out the damn form and send it back. Don’t worry about the April 1st date. If everyone were to stop making a mountain out of a molehill and fill out the form expeditiously and send it back, we would be able to limit the amount of money spent by not having to send enumerators out.

  108. CWal says:

    Here it is, 30 March, and I’ve received neither an announcement nor a census form…nor have any of my neighbors. My 86 year old mother-in-law in another state received hers and her reminder post card, but none of her neighbors have. My daughters, in a major metropolitan city, have not received any mailings nor have their neighbors. Apparently the census bureau isn’t planning to count a lot of people in Alabama or Georgia.

  109. CWal says:

    Are these ‘Be counted’ sites private homes? I put in my zip code and I can assure you, the site pinned is in a very remote, rural area, no where near a town center. I’m not sure I could find it. It would make a lot more sense for these sites to be in town halls, or more logically…a post office.

  110. Be counted sites are not private homes, but libraries, churches, towan halls, local business etc.

  111. Nancy says:

    I question the logic of requesting data as of April 1 but then complaining that forms have not been returned in March…

  112. Anna C. says:

    Well, folks, I got a SECOND census form in the mail today. I filled the first one out the evening it was delivered in early March, mailed it back the next morning at the PO before the windows were even open. Duty done, the reminder postcard a week later was no biggie. After all, it said “if you haven’t..” and I had. (Don’t recall if it said, “if you have, thank you” but not looking for gratitude.) Another week passes. Then, today, April 1, I get a bulky envelope from ….the Census Bureau??? WTF?? I almost tossed it unopened, but it was too official-looking, kinda like a mattress tag. So I open it. Hello? “Complete this form and send it back”??? Not too late to toss, but the envelope was prepaid. So I scrawled above the bar-coded address that I’d already done it and to check their PO box. I’ll drop it in the mail tomorrow on my morning walk like last time. But NO, Brian, I will NOT fill it out again and wait for the bureaucracy to find the first one, tag it as a possible duplicate, and put it on an innumerator’s call list to harass me further to find outif I’m really me or if my evil twin is up to her old tricks.
    Next time, I want a Census rebate voucher that I can tear off the form and redeem for a little piece of all that cost-savings. Fifty-seven dollars sounds about right.

  113. Anna C., It is possible that we have an unrecognized duplicate in our master address file that has caused you to receive a duplicate form. As part of the census process, we look for these situations and ensure we eventually delete the duplicate record.
    It is also possible, though we had quality control procedures on all the printing and labeling efforts, that the vendor accidentally printed two forms for the same address. Unfortunately, no quality control process can ensure zero errors.
    Thank You for filling out the first form you received and mailing it back. You can discard the second form. Because we have to account for each form we mail out, a census taker might come to your home between May and July to find out why the second form was not mailed back. At that time you can tell the census taker that you received two forms and were told to mail one back and discard the other one.

  114. hmc says:

    So I received two filed the first do I just dispose of the second?

  115. hmc, you can disregard the second 2010 Census form that you received.

  116. Jeff says:

    And this surprises you? The idiots at the Census Bureau, and the Federal Government in general can not do anything right!

  117. Jeff says:

    I only filled out what I thought they needed for me to be properly represented.
    Number of people in household
    Age of people in household (NOT birth date)
    Sex of people in household
    Race of people in household
    And Relationship of everybody in household
    That, in my opinion is all they need and all they are going to get from me!
    If a Census taker comes to my house they will get an ear full and the door slammed in their face!

  118. Jeff says:

    Ya John! As soon as you get it send it back! Unanswered!

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