So, If I’m to Report Who Lives Here on April 1, Why Should I Fill Out The Form Before April 1?

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

I’ve been getting a few questions about the timing of completing the form. The form asks you to report who’s in your household on April 1, 2010. Our publicity is asking you to fill it out and mail it back as soon as you get the form. A lot of people received their forms between March 15 and March 17.

What’s up with that?

Here’s the logic we’ve used. We know that folks who receive the form and act on it immediately avoid the natural tendency to put it aside on a desk or table and then forget about it. I’m terrible at putting off things that I don’t have to do and then realizing much later that I’ve missed a deadline I really care about. That line of reasoning says fill it out as soon as you open the envelope.

Second, we know that the vast majority of households are pretty stable in their composition. The people who are in the household on March 15, for example, are the same people who will be there on April 1; no one will move into the home in the two week period. Hence, responding early gives us an accurate picture of the household on April 1.

Thus, the general message to fill it out and mail it back when you receive it.

The exceptions to the rule are clearly those households experiencing change. If you know you’re moving to a new house, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect new household members by April 1, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect any other changes in who lives at your home, wait until April 1 to fill it out.

For all the rest of us, if you’re like me with this disease of procrastination, fill it out and mail it back when you get it.

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

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57 Responses to So, If I’m to Report Who Lives Here on April 1, Why Should I Fill Out The Form Before April 1?

  1. This is totally unrelated, but it is feedback that I think is important for the website. At the ASCD conference I learned about the Kid Page and teacher resources. I was just going to send a note out to my teachers about it and went to http://www.census.gov and could not find a link to it. Maybe it is there and I just didn’t see it. Anyway, I did find it eventually and /schools is an easy URL, but it would be nice if there was a link on the front page. It is an amazing resource. Thanks

  2. Janice, please report this to ask.census.gov

  3. Michael H. Hay says:

    The directors explanation of mailing the form back before 4.1.10 is totally rediculous. Can I see into the future? How do I know whether a person in my household won’t, heaven forbid, get hit by a bus between now and then. The mailing and return of the census form before 4.1.10 will surely be challenged in the courts, which by the way, in case ya’ll in government didn’t know, cost a heck of alot of money. Big mistake mailing them out to early. They shouldn’t have been mailed until after April 1.

  4. Mike Cepek says:

    I’m one of those people who would prefer to “act on it immediately” so that I don’t put it off and forget about it later. However, this is a mandated government form. Encouraging people to predict the future as part of legally required data collection just seems wrong.
    It’s not clear to me if filling this out accurately is an issue of perjury or not. Neither the form nor any easily accessible web info answered that question for me. I strongly suspect that there would be consequences if I sent back total nonsense.
    I am interested in filling it our accurately and correctly. But mailing it back before April 1 just plain seems wrong. While your blog post above directly addresses it, too few people will read that. I’m sure that many, many people have found this confusing based on the instructions in the questionnaire itself.
    It would not have been too difficult to address this issue on the form itself, or even on the back of the return envelope. I would strongly recommend taking this #1 FAQ as a “lesson learned” for future census creators, and doing better next time.

  5. Wolfgang G. Wienold says:

    I totally agree with Michael H. Hay. Tha mailing out early is o.k. But I will not return a form which asks me how many people “were” living at my house on April 1st (or even fill out the form) before April 1st Midnight. I could as well be dead before that.
    I believe the director of this Census needs to refresh his knowledge of the word “were”. It is not the same as “will be”. The latter should actually be changed to “probably will be”.
    It is absolute nonesense for a government official to misuse the
    English language to his or her liking. And it is absolute nonesense that (s)he states that the same person who lives there on March 15th will be there on April 1st.
    I believe (s)he does not actually care. She or He just wants to do a job to get her – or his – money. Shame on whoever is in the position of director and performs this bull…. .
    Wolfgang G. Wienold

  6. Vic Manley says:

    Because there were conflicting directions on when to complete the census, I called the 866 872 6868 telephone number on the postcard. You can’t talk with anyone there – it’s automated information that seems to loop endlessly while you try to get a live representative. There wasn’t a representative available, even though they’re supposed to be there 7 days a week from 8am – 9pm.
    So we’re mailing the census today, even though we don’t know who will be living here on April 1st.
    I would ask that you recruit someone with some common sense to assist you in the writing/managing of the next census. I can’t stop thinking about how much this must have cost the American people in the way of staff, paperwork, envelopes, postage, and that silly looping toll free number. What a sad way to spend our money.

  7. A. Betschart says:

    I completely agree with Vic Manley and the previous responses. I also experienced the endless loop of the help line, gave up and hung up. Perhaps the instructions should have said something to the effect, if you are in a stable household you may use your crystal ball to predict the future and send the form in before April 1. Our form was filled out and placed on the refrigerator with a post it that said “mail on April 1″ and that is when it will be mailed.

  8. Francee Soper says:

    I too, sat down to fill out my census only to be stopped by the “were” factor. Seriously, only God knows whether or not I will be around on April 1, 2010. If you wanted to know sooner, change the date. Some of us do read the English language, understand it completely, and follow directions.

  9. Dwight says:

    Hello Census people.
    Death happens and can happen before April 1, but I already sent the form in March 23.
    So, how accurate is this Census going to be??

  10. Michael Cowan says:

    I’m with all of you! My wife is positively seething at the lack of logic in the forms and cover letter. Our cover letter is dated 15 March & says “Please complete and mail back the enclosed census from today.”
    On the form itself it says don’t report someone who isn’t living in the house on 1 April as they may be double counted! This is 24 March and I don’t have a clue whether either of us will even be alive, much less living in this house on 1 April. What happened to the “snapshot in time” concept?

  11. Ron Wright says:

    Michael H., Wolfgang W., Vic M., A. Betschart, Francee: I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to send in the form before April 1st. For Vic M: there is a Questionnaire Assistance Center in your area which is staffed by a person, not an automated answering system. The link is on the navigation panel on the left of this page. Just put in your zip code.

  12. Sharon Lyons says:

    While I appreciate fully the importance of the census, I also am aware of a “penny saved is a penny earned” and because of that why in these very poor economic times are we getting a before the form letter, a census form, and then a did you get the census form. Really one printing and one mailing would have been enough. To top it all off there are several large production type ads on television. What happened to the simple, concise, and direct “public service announcement”. The federal government is setting an extremely bad example regarding cutting waste and unnecessary spending. Get real people! Families are cutting back on everything from fresh fruit to toilet paper and yet there are huge expensive production ads to encourage people to do what is their constitutional obligation to do. It is time for the grown-ups to be in charge.

  13. Rick T says:

    Is it just me…or does anyone else out there not really care what Dr. Groves has to say?

  14. lomazzip says:

    I think the contradiction will lead to an not having an accurate count, especially of homeless people that often “couch surf”. I work with homeless people and don’t expect that I will have someone stay over at my house on April 1, but I have done that before and may do again someday. I think other people may also do the same, like when a friend has an emergency and needs a place to stay for the night. I didn’t appreciate getting a notice that I was late on sending in the form, even though I only got the form about 4 days ago. I have it filled out but was waiting until April 1 to send it in so I can help get an accurate count. I’m pretty sure that April 2nd will be the first date that you can say I am late.

  15. SHERRY HSIEH says:

    May I file out census 2010 online? Because my famiy are out of contury so I wont be able to mail form. Please give me any way that I can file it.
    Thanks so much
    Sherry

  16. Sherry,
    The 2010 Census is not online, please see the Director’s blog post on this: http://blogs.census.gov/2010census/census-and-internet/
    You can pick a be counted form, or contact your Regional Census Center for more options. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/contact/index.php

  17. Juan Valdes-Pages says:

    I completely agree with Mr. Hay, the form clearly refers to April 1st in the questionaire. So if someone in the household croaks after you mailed it, keep the person in the freezer until April 1st so the count is accurate!
    It’s like taking inventory in a business, but then what do bureaucrats know about that.

  18. John Mands says:

    Ummm… Dr. Groves??? If that’s what you wanted, then that’s what you should have asked for.
    As for your conclusion:
    “Hence, responding early gives us an accurate picture of the household on April 1.”
    wouldn’t responding on April 2 give you a MORE accurate picture? Wouldn’t it give you the ACTUAL picture? And isn’t that what the Census is supposed to give you?

  19. MattNC says:

    If I fill it out before April 1st and then something were to happen and the count was not accurate would that then not be punishable by law as lying on my census?

  20. j. Mc>Guire says:

    Did not receive the census form to fill out. Got a phone number and called and was told could find address in our area where I could pick up form locally, however Ihave been unable to locate any such info on the address I was given. I found regional office info but could not locate where I might pickup form.

  21. j. Mc>Guire says:

    Did not receive the census form to fill out. Got a phone number and called and was told could find address in our area where I could pick up form locally, however Ihave been unable to locate any such info on the address I was given. I found regional office info but could not locate where I might pickup form.

  22. j. Mc>Guire says:

    Did not receive the census form to fill out. Got a phone number and called and was told could find address in our area where I could pick up form locally, however Ihave been unable to locate any such info on the address I was given. I found regional office info but could not locate where I might pickup form.

  23. J. McGuire,
    Please visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ for locations to pick up a form.

  24. Doug says:

    According to the CIA Factbook, there are approximately 6744 deaths in the US per day. That same source indicates approximately 11,683 daily births in the US per day. I received my form on March 15th, as did many others. That means 16 days between the day of receipt and when forms April 1st criterion date. Deaths will alter the results of this census during that time by approximately 107,904 individuals and births by 186,928 individuals. That is real close to 300,000 in a potential counting error. The population clock at Census.gov shows a population of U.S. 308,937,602 at the time I am writing this. This is an error potential of only .09% or less than 1/10th of 1 percent. This is an insignificant error so let’s all relax and mail back the form.

  25. Brian says:

    Honestly, death is statistically insignificant over a two week period – I’m sure the census guys could explain better.
    Procrastination, vacation, and other things are likely much more significant, thus the recommendation.

  26. Brian says:

    Here is a funny question. What if I live (or stay – haha) right on the line in one time zone. And I move to another house in the time zone immediately to my west. It takes me 15 minutes to move (don’t have much stuff). So April 1, right after 12 am ET zone, I move to my new house 15 minutes away in CT zone. I will have lived in 2 different places on April 1. What would I do? haha – just kidding – trying to bring a smile to you.

  27. Glenna says:

    I’m glad to hear that I am not the only one concerned with the accuracy of a census that people have been not only mailing back early, but encouraged to do so. I am holding mine until after April 1st. My question is how many millions more is it going to cost the taxpayers when there has to be a recount, or every person that mailed back before the actual date has to be contacted to insure its accuracy? I think the director should have put a little more forethought into this. I’m no genius, but I do understand that if someone asks “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?” I can’t answer until after the date occurs.

  28. Daniel says:

    Response rates would likely be much higher if the survey were designed where people could fill them out online. I got my form in the mail and subsequently searched the CB web site to find where I could fill the form out online. In 2010, I cannot believe that this is not yet possible.

  29. Daniel,
    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.

  30. guestspeaker says:

    And what about privacy? I’d be curious to hear what Dr. Groves has to say about this:
    “James Bovard writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Americans are told that information gathered in the census will never be used against them and the House of Representatives, in a Census Awareness Month resolution passed March 3, proclaimed that ‘the data obtained from the census are protected under United States privacy laws.’
    Unfortunately, thousands of Americans who trusted the Census Bureau in the past lost their freedom as a result. In the 1940 Census, the Census Bureau loudly assured people that their responses would be kept confidential. Within four days of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Census Bureau had produced a report listing the Japanese-American population in each county on the West Coast. The Census Bureau’s report helped the US Army round up more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans for concentration camps (later renamed ‘internment centers’).
    In 2003-04, the Census Bureau provided the Department of Homeland Security with a massive cache of information on how many Arab Americans lived in each ZIP Code around the nation, and which country they originated from — information that could have made it far easier to carry out the type of mass roundup that some conservatives advocated.”
    How does the Census intend to ensure that these events (above) don’t happen again?

  31. Guestspeaker,
    Thank you for sharing your concerns. I want to assure you the U.S. Census Bureau takes very seriously its responsibility to protect confidentiality. It is our strong belief that the accuracy of the census depends on the willing participation and cooperation of respondents, therefore, we value respondent trust as vital to the success of the 2010 Census. With respect to your concerns about the Census Bureau’s activities during World War II, as we have indicated in the past, the historical record provides substantial information about the extent to which senior Census Bureau staff assisted the Army in the internment of Japanese-Americans. The Census Bureau provided non-confidential small-area data tabulations and sent a statistician to assist the Army staff in San Francisco with the internment of the Japanese on the West Coast. The records of both the Census Bureau and the Army located at the National Archives contain examples of and contemporary accounts describing the statistical tabulations. However, it is also important to acknowledge that the records of the Census Bureau from the World War II era indicate that the agency provided confidential microdata to executive departments and agencies, as it was legally required to do to assist the war effort. These releases were sanctioned by law, specifically the Second War Powers Act that was passed by Congress and the President in March of 1942 and was later repealed in 1947. Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act created an exception to the confidentiality provisions of the Census Law at the time and instructed the Secretary of Commerce to make records (meaning census data) available for the war effort, and an Executive Order established a process to facilitate the release of such data. Upon request, the Census Bureau did supply many agencies with data about both individuals and companies. Examples include information about Japanese families living in Washington, DC that was shared with the Secret Service and data about companies in various industries that was shared with the Office of Price Administration and other agencies. It is important to note that in the post-war period, key safeguards to protect confidential information have been instituted, notably stronger legal provisions to protect data confidentiality. Specifically, Section 9 of Title 13 is clear and unequivocal: The Census Bureau collects information solely for statistical purposes and it cannot release any information that could be used to identify an individual person or business. Only sworn individuals may have access to confidential data, and to disclose such information is a federal crime for which the penalties may be up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Moreover, census data may not be used against any individual by a government agency or court. The confidentiality of the census has been recognized and upheld by the Supreme Court and the Census Bureau is fully committed to safeguarding and protecting the information we collect. It is also clear that over the past half-century, and especially following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the critical importance of summary data for enforcement of voting rights and civil rights stands in contrast to the use of information in the 1940s to deny civil rights to citizens of the United States of Japanese ancestry. For more information about the law and the precautions we take to protect information, please consult the Census Bureau’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy website, http://www.census.gov/privacy/

  32. Mary Ballew says:

    I agree with all who have written about the date of April 1 being the correct date of the census count. As one who has done lots of genealogical research through past census records, it is important to know if a person was alive on the date of the census. So, the census has more meaning to lots of us other than just a head count. Therefore, I am withholding our census to be filled out and returned on April 1st. And, please save money on mailings until sometime after the first of April.

  33. Nate Shimura says:

    You can just call the census bureau and report census info over the phone. You need to provide the unique identifying number on the census form. This is ostensibly for people who cannot mail it in; this is an ambiguous standard and they don’t really ask about it anyway.

  34. Randy says:

    Why are you spending so much money on canvas bags, plastic water bottles and plastic coffee cups to entice people to complete the census? It should be the duty of all people living in America and especially citizens to complete the census. I have filled out the census as an adult since 1980 and can’t imagine why so much money is being spent on advertising this 2010 census. This money should be spent helping the unemployed find jobs. Every classroom at my children’s school has posters about the census. This is the kind of thing that is done in third world countries to get the adults to do something the government wants done. I sent my census form back the next day, yet I still received a postcard this week reminding me to fill out my census form. A waste of money that we can’t afford.

  35. Buzz Hutchison says:

    I can’t understand how you can get an accurate snapshot of people living in our country on April 1, 2010 if people are encouraged to respond before that date. If an early response was to be encouraged, the form should have asked people to fill in the date on which it was completed and the census information for 2010 should indicate that the data was as of various dates from March 15th to April 1st.
    I am absolutely astounded (and disappointed) that the early response is being encouraged (based on the language in the census form) and that people are asked to answer questions before a future date. But I guess nothing that our federal government does should surprise me. I also agree that the three mailings so far are excessive and an unneeded expense.
    This effort is done once a decade- we should be able to do a better job. Mailing the forms on or after April 1st would be a start.
    Buzz Hutchison

  36. txrose says:

    A census is a count of the population–how many people, age groups, ethnicity. Name and phone # is violation of privacy. I am very, very uncomfortable with this. Even if I did not fill out my name the gov would find me as I am stable and here–just drive up.
    To tell me to answer the questions 2x in different wording is demeaning as I do understand English and can follow directions. We are alllllllll being treated as illiterate. Big brother looking on.
    As to the April 1st debacle–just nonsense!!!!!!

  37. Larry Gustafson says:

    I agree with all those listing concerns regarding returning the census form prior to April 1st. If you want an accurate count as of April 1st, then that is what I will provide and I will mail our form on April 2nd. And I am not procrastinating by doing so; I am following the law.
    I also do not like receiving a “late”-like notice making me feel like I am irresponsible. I understand the importance of the census and I believe in its requirement. But I also believe it should be an accurate representation of our population as of April 1st, not a mostly accurate count.
    Granted the changes Doug listed may be statisically insignificant but those numbers represent people and they have a right to be counted accurately. Otherwise the message you might be sending is “My household is only one or two people out of 300 million. So who cares if I respond or not. It won’t make any difference.”
    But since the “participation rate” is already at 34%, I guess we are already well on our way to a “mostly” accurate count. I will still mail our form on Friday, April 2, 2010.

  38. V Zawistowski says:

    To those of you who are complaining that the 2010 Census form was sent too early, potentially leading to an overcount if you get hit by a bus or something between sending in the form and April 1st:
    Are you serious? Does this mean that you also don’t make advance appointments with your doctor/barber/potential employer/family member/etc. because you honestly don’t know if you will be around tomorrow or next week or two weeks from now to be at those appointments? It must be awful to live like you have the risk of imminent death hanging over your head. If you’re relatively healthy, don’t have a terminal illness, and so forth, what is the probability that you will die within the next two weeks?

  39. Tommy Johnson says:

    I did not receive the form. The call in number asks for your census ID. If you did not receive the form, you don’t have a census ID. If you don’t have a census ID, the call center can’t help you.
    WOW

  40. Jess says:

    Of course, if they had said wait until April 2nd, I’m sure all of you whiners would have found something else to complain about.

  41. Tammy,
    If you call after April 12th, they will be able to help you.

  42. Mike. S. says:

    People,
    Just fill out the form and send it back asap… Stop overthinking it. Stop trying to define every word of the damn census. There are planning processes in place that are used to keep track of (non)response rates which helps plan how and where the census may need to focus on Non repsonse follow ups… So just do your community and yourself and favor and fill out your 10 question pre-paid forms already!

  43. Rob says:

    The issue is not the likelihood of the prediction turning out not to be true. The issue is whether it is acceptable to state falsehoods to the federal government. I believe that it is not acceptable, regardless of what one particular government agent says to the contrary.
    If you answer question 1 before April 1, 2010, you can’t possibly be doing anything other than stating a falsehood. The question clearly asks how many people WERE living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010. Because of what the word “were” means, it is logically impossible to answer this question in any way that is not false until April 1, 2010. Any answer prior to April 1, 2010 would be as false as it is possible to be. An answer that there were 50 trillion people living in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010, if provided prior to April 1, 2010 would be as true as any other response, i.e. not at all.
    This is not something that is debatable. The meaning of the word “were” as used in this context is extremely clear and agreed upon by all of those with even a very basic understanding of the English language. If you want to try to argue that there’s nothing wrong with filling out the census form prior to April 1, 2010, you may as well argue that 2+2=5.
    There IS, however, room to argue that you really can’t fill it out until April 2, 2010–it depends on whether the question refers to the entire day of April 1 or instead means “April 1 or any portion thereof.” Just to make sure, I wouldn’t fill it out until April 2. But it’s very clear that filling it out prior to April 1 would be wrong.
    If the government really wanted these forms to be filled out in March, it could have asked how many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on March 1, 2010, or how many people WILL probably be living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010. With all due respect, the fact that the Director of this project is endorsing the stating of falsehoods to the federal government is highly objectionable.

  44. jen says:

    I have recently filled out and mailed my census form in but I found it hard to believe that we will be moving forward when the word “NEGRO” is still printed on the form. Although the word does mean black in other languages, if they are written for African Americans to check off we should be called such. This may be the reason why forms are not mailed in. There are no negroes.

  45. Kevin Gibbs says:

    I imagine I’m not the only one but we are taking advantage of the congressional tax credit for new home buyers that was extended until April 30th.
    On March 25th we took possession of our new house in a new town. We called the census bureau and they told us to leave the uncompleted form addressed to our old house for the new people to complete since they took possession on March 29th.
    When we closed on our new home the sellers told us they already completed the census form for the address we were moving to.
    So now what do we do? I’m not planning to call some 1-800 number and spend 40 minutes listening to a recording of circular logic.

  46. D Wheeler says:

    Once again the government is wasting taxpayer’s money by sending out reminders and duplicate forms before the actual census date has even arrived – The census date is April 1 and that is the date I intend to complete and mail the form.

  47. Guest says:

    You have to admit, it gives new meaning to April Fools Day! ;-D

  48. Karl Seitz says:

    I’m late discovering this blog, but my reaction to your argument (it’s not logic) for wanting the census form returned before April 1 is the same as most who have responded. The 2010 census, like all its predecessors, will have a number of unintentional errors. You shouldn’t have invited more errors by asking for the form to be returned before the day you’re supposed to be counting us.

  49. Vicki in Michigan says:

    If they want us to mail it immediately, they shouldn’t send it until after the day they want us to consider!
    I can’t tell who will be in my house until the actual day!
    If they wanted us to mail it immediately (which makes sense to me), why on earth didn’t they send it to us AFTER April 1?
    I could have answered the questions for March 1 on March 17, but I could not answer the questions for April 1 on March 17!
    Daringly, I mailed it this morning, as it was correct as of this morning…..
    I also agree ENTIRELY with the people questioning the value of sending us a “you will get this” “here it is” “you got it” set of mail. What a waste!
    It’s very hard to view all of this as rational and sensible……..

  50. Brandon says:

    I was about to do the same calculation… I suspect the error is even smaller because:
    1) only 50% of households returned the form prior to April 1
    2) only 40% of deaths are “sudden”
    3) Expecting parents can report based on the due date of the child without introducing much error at all
    My wife completed our form on March 17 and counted our (then unborn) daughter since her due date was March 20. We had the baby on the 21st. The baby *could* have come after April 1, but those instances are balanced by early deliveries of babies with due dates after April 1…

  51. d. sepulveda says:

    Today is the deadline for mailing the government required census 2010 form that I have not received. I have, however received a postcard “resident” listed on the front along with my address stating I should have received the form by now. Not so. So, I decided to call the phone number on the card. Unless you have the ID# on the census form that is listed by your name, you are told to call back after April 12. Which is after the deadline. Waste of time, but that is what the government is good for. Waste. Why isn’t this form available online instead of having them mailed out? That way I could have sent it in already. Now some government bureacrat will be knocking at my door, probably with the long form now. We will probably be out of town when they come since we travel during the summer when they will be out with the forms.

  52. Lois Crabtree says:

    I am another citizen amused, dismayed and disgusted with the failure of anyone involved with the United States Census 2010 to proofread the ambiguous paperwork instructions on this extremely important and expensive project. Inaccurate counts will result. I was able to contact someone taking calls for the census last month. She was unaware of the faulty instructions and said she would pass on my concerns. She said I could also contact Mr. Groves.
    Robert M. Groves, the director of this project, has clearly reached his level of incompetence; he must be replaced before the 2020 Census. I saw him interviewed on television last night and he seemed quite pleased with his work. I especially liked the part at the beginning of this site where he warned us and wrote, “Here’s the logic we’ve used . . . . The people who are in the household on March 15, for example, are the same people who will be there on April 1; no one will move into the home in the two week period. Hence, responding early gives us an accurate picture of the household on April 1.”
    Mr. Groves, consider yourself contacted, and please be assured that I am mailing my completed official 2010 U.S. Census form today, April 1, 2010, April Fool’s Day, despite your instructions.

  53. D. Sepulveda, The Census Bureau is still in the process of sending out 2010 Census questionnaires. If you have not received a questionnaire by April 12th, please contact the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868, but please note until April 12th, it is automated message. If you call after April 12th, someone will be able to help you. Or, you can pick up a form at one of our Be Counted sites. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ Be counted sites are not private homes, but libraries, churches, town halls, local business etc. Be counted forms are available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes that they were missed on their household’s form.

  54. Doug/Brandon, Here’s the logic we’ve used. We know that folks who receive the form and act on it immediately avoid the natural tendency to put it aside on a desk or table and then forget about it completely.
    Second, we know that the vast majority of households are pretty stable in their composition. The people who are in the household on March 15, for example, are the same people who will be there on April 1; no one will move into the home in the two week period. Hence, responding early gives us an accurate picture of the household on April 1. Thus, we have a general message to fill it out and mail it back when you receive it.
    The exceptions to the rule are clearly those households experiencing change. If you know you’re moving to a new house, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect new household members by April 1, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect any other changes in who lives at your home, wait until April 1 to fill it out.

  55. Vicki in Michigan, Here’s the logic we’ve used. We know that folks who receive the form and act on it immediately avoid the natural tendency to put it aside on a desk or table and then forget about it completely. Second, we know that the vast majority of households are pretty stable in their composition. The people who are in the household on March 15, for example, are the same people who will be there on April 1; no one will move into the home in the two week period. Hence, responding early gives us an accurate picture of the household on April 1. Thus, we have a general message to fill it out and mail it back when you receive it.
    The exceptions to the rule are clearly those households experiencing change. If you know you’re moving to a new house, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect new household members by April 1, don’t fill it out before April 1. If you expect any other changes in who lives at your home, wait until April 1 to fill it out.

  56. Meredith says:

    Many many years ago I worked for the Canadian Census. Forms received before the Census day were rejected. They were sent back or taken back by the census worker to the households that jumped gun on the counting date and had to be redone. Needless to say everyone involved were very upset. Approximately 2 weeks after the census day after giving everyone the opportunity to get their form in the mail and through the Canadian postal system, any households that had not submitted a form were checked on by census workers.
    April 1, 2010 is the date that the USA counts its citizens. The instructions clearly state that it is to be filled in on that date. That is the day I filled in the form but I missed the postman, so it gets mailed tomorrow.

  57. Kevin, Please contact the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868, but please note until April 12th, it is automated message. If you call after April 12th, someone will be able to help you.
    Also you can pick up a form at one of our Be Counted sites. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ Be counted sites are not private homes, but libraries, churches, town halls, local business etc. Be Counted forms are available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes that they were missed on their household’s form.

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