What if You Missed the Deadline

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

I’ve talked to some folks who didn’t mail in their completed census form by April 16.

“What should I do?” they say (usually after providing logical reasons why they couldn’t get it in the mail by Friday).

As I noted in an earlier entry, getting the form in the mail by April 16 provides pretty strong assurance that we’ll be able to process it and cross your household off the list to receive follow-up calls.

With each passing day, our ability to give you that assurance is reduced, because of the time required for us to receive the form from the postal service, check it in, and get it crossed off our list.

What to do? Complete the form and mail it back. We’ll do the best we can to avoid having someone visit your home. If we don’t get it in time, please understand that someone may visit and ask you the same questions as on the form. We train them to do that. You’ll think of it as completely redundant, but providing the answers will guarantee that we have a response from you and get you counted properly. Please be cooperative with the request.

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

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12 Responses to What if You Missed the Deadline

  1. Terrisue says:

    How is it that we never received a census form to fill out? I kept expecting it to show, it never has. What do we do now?

  2. Terrisue, Please contact the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868.

  3. L. D. O. says:

    My husband and I never received a census form. We only receive mail at a PO Box since there is mailbox theft in our subdivision, and we had our identity stolen.
    How can we still get a form?

  4. KSK says:

    Ditto on the P>O>Box issue. I did call the above referenced number,and was told to wait till the 12th of April, if I didn’t receive one by then, pick one up at a local grocery store. The grocery store does not have them!! Should I expect a knock on my door?????

  5. Christina says:

    If, for whatever reason (P.O. Box included), you did not get a Census form first check local Be Counted and Questionnaire Assistance Centers. These locations are likely out or nearly out of forms by now though, the next option is to call 1-866-872-6868 to answer the questions over the phone. Chances are you will get a knock on the door because they start going to houses May 1st and that’s less than a week away.

  6. Mark Money says:

    The wife and I never received a Census form in the mail; doesn’t sound like we are an isolated incident. After some exploring of your web site, I haven’t seen a link to download the Census form, fill it out and mail it. If you really want folks to participate, why wouldn’t the form at least be available to print and return after completing? Concerned about duplication I assume? I really want to participate, but the wife and I both work full time. Are the door knocking census takers going to work weekends?

  7. Mark Money, Providing an option for completing the census is something we explored for 2010. However, earlier in the decade we researched an Internet option for 2010 and 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 save money.
    We recognize the value of the Internet as a convenient option for completing the census and expect to use it for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau has a long history of using the latest technology to solve the complex challenges of counting the entire population. To participate in the Census you can either wait for a Census employee to visit your residence or you can call 1-866-872-6868.

  8. Ron Wright says:

    Mark Money,
    In answer to your question, “Are the census takers going to work weekends?” the answer is ‘Yes.’ I am employed as an enumerator and we have just finished training today. Our assignment is to visit residences when we are most likely to find someone at home. That will be weekday evenings and on weekends. In your post you do not indicate if you receive your mail at the post office (all Census Bureau forms are delivered to a residence, none are delivered to a post office box number) or whether you receive it at a drop box (Mail Boxes, ETC? no form is sent here) or if it is delivered to your apartment/house. For those who needed help filling out their form (or who needed to pick up a blank form) Questionnaire Assistance Centers were set up in every county (and in most cities) and were staffed for 15 hours per week beginning April 1st to April 30th.

  9. Charles Byrd says:

    I filled out our form and sent it back the same day. Now I have to do it over again and the census taker has been here twice; once we were not home and today I was cutting grass to “beat the rain” and could not take time. Isn’t there a way for the census takers to check and see if our original has been received?

  10. Curtis Johnson says:

    How far behind is the Federal Government? How can we bank and pay bills on-line but can not safely take the damn census on-line? We are not some third world country ….. we should be on the cutting edge of technology!

  11. Courtney Saint says:

    When two Census Takers approached as I was leaving my home, I explained that I could not speak with them at that very moment. I told them that I DO have the completed form on my desk, and would mail it the next morning. The Census Taker said NO, I was too late, and mailing the form now is no longer an option. She was adamant that under NO circumstances should I now mail the form. She said that I had no choice but to make myself available for an interview with her. Well, I am rarely home to do more than sleep and shower/dress, so the odds are long on finding me home again. Now here I am to check your site. But NOWHERE is there any DEFINITIVE statement that FORBIDS me from mailing the Census form NOW, albeit late. This post says “Complete the form and mail it back.” So how about an answer to the following question in your FAQ section: “Can I still mail in my Census form, even though I missed the deadline?” And please don’t tell me that I can call it in.

  12. John Lowe says:

    After reading this blog, I now realize that the reason we never got a census form in 2010 (also in 1990 and 2000; we moved here in 1984) is because in Braddock Heights, Maryland mail is not delivered to the physical address. We all have post office boxes at the Braddock Heights Post Office and receive our mail there. I don’t recall ever getting a visit from a census taker in those census years.

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