Progress Report, Three Weeks Into Nonresponse Followup

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

We’ve finished the third week of the Nonresponse Followup stage of the 2010 Census.

The completion of interviews in this phase is proceeding roughly on schedule. As of Saturday, we completed over 50% of the entire workload.

I continue to urge our field staff to treat all those you encounter with the utmost respect; you are the face of the Federal government to many of your respondents; we count on your professionalism to communicate the benefits of their participation in the 2010 census. Especially in those cases where the respondent reports that they have already returned a completed form, please explain that our efforts to followup are motivated by counting everyone once and only once. We appreciate their cooperation.

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37 Responses to Progress Report, Three Weeks Into Nonresponse Followup

  1. enumerator says:

    Why, indeed, are we revisiting so many respondents who are telling us they mailed in their forms?

  2. Possibly because there may have been mistakes in the forms they sent, they could have been lost in the mail, the Census Bureau could have never received them, or respondents could just be saying they mailed them in and for data collection purposes and accuracy, you just can’t take their word for it. Maybe their household was incorrectly input and put under another address, etc, etc.
    As an enumerator, the way I look at it is: if you made the effort to already go to their houses and be there with them, a few minutes to complete the form shouldn’t be too harmful to ensure accurate information retrieval.

  3. Enumerator says:

    I have to agree with that one.

  4. I'm Nonpartisan says:

    This has happened a couple of times to me, I smile and say “who knows what happened to that form between your house and the Census office? Let’s just make sure that you are counted and then it will get all sorted out in the wash.” Or if someone is in a good humor I might say “Oh that government, once again not perfect 100% of the time!”
    I had one respondent this week who had been so insulted by the use of the term “Negro” on the form that she had torn it to shreds. By the time I left her door she was thrilled to be able to list herself as Jamaican-American. It’s that “One on One” interaction that can really make a positive difference.

  5. Trisha Parr says:

    I had one lady sooooooo happy to see me that she got off the telephone,,, she had lost her original form and wanted to make sure she and her kids were counted and that they were counted as biracial… ” make sure that you put both” she said.

  6. L O says:

    I have been getting messages of people letting me know how upset they are that I am coming to their home when they already sent their forms. I also have explained them the possibilities of forms getting lost in the mail or incomplete forms, yet, they are still upset about it.

  7. Tired CLA says:

    They call this the prefect part time job and clearly it is not. If you ecome an Enumerator be prepared to work 7 days a week, rain or shine. If you havew a full time job this will be especially hard because of the 18 hour minimum. Yea, they dont tell you about that until training. Dont get me wrong the job is OK and the pay is good, but it is misrepresented as a flexible, part-time position. You are forced to work everyday of the week (handing in time sheets) I have completed my third week and am very close to resignation.

  8. Ridgewood NJ Residient says:

    Ridgewood, NJ – 5/25/2010
    OK, I faithfully answered my census. All the questions.
    Then, a census worker (nice old snoopy lady) comes by, rings my doorbell and asks why the people living in my garage haven’t answered their census.
    My garage is a carraige house (with nice curtains from the outside). Somehow, I thing this caused somebody to think people actually live there.
    Well they don’t, unless you count racoons and mice.
    I tell her no one lives there.
    Anyway, 6 weeks later, I notice some creepy old guy in my back yard (i have a big house so my back yard is really a hike in from the street).
    My daughter ans son freak out. Then the guy comes up and doesn’t knock, but pounds on my back door.
    I answer and ask what is going on??
    He says he needs to get the people in my garage to answer their census questions… I asked why didn’t you just ring my doorbell.
    …No answer…
    Really aggressive, pushy, and obnoxious…
    This is getting bad and really annoying…
    What do I do? I have nothing to hide, but this is getting scary.

  9. Alex says:

    Have read and understand the situation of the lack of Census response to the enumerator. Will be engaged in doing all possible to assist in the more accurate and complete census operation as possible.

  10. devoted says:

    great.. keep it up

  11. Debra in Virginia says:

    why are we getting so many calls and lead generation forms on our website for properties that are not ours. the US Census needs to be aware that agents may list all active properties in all of a particular area that they have access to on their website but that may or may not be a listing of theres. We have had over 10 call or more and now you are completing our lead forms (that we have for those interested in buying or selling a home). I’m not sure how ethical it is to have your employees doing this.

  12. Concerned says:

    It is NOT OK for someone to be in your backyard. Enumerators are only supposed to knock on your front door. Please call the police if you see someone wondering around in your backyard. Also, call your Local Census Office and report what is happening. They will find the enumerator assigned to your area and deal with it accordingly.

  13. AM says:

    Since you people have no qualms about coming to my house over and over and over, I have no problem asking this question over and over and over until I get a response: Your manuals say to visit each house “up to three times” or three personal visits and three telephone attempts, and then try to find a proxy, but more and more reports are coming out from all over about census workers being told by their supervisors to keep going back to each house as many times as it takes for the resident to respond. Are you going to answer my question about whether this is true, or just keep ignoring it and hope I go away? If you believe the census has the right to do this, you shouldn’t be afraid of admitting it on your own blog. And if the census doesn’t have the right to do this, you should step up and put a stop to it. Which is it?

  14. Kelly Berger says:

    I would like to participate in the next phase of the census follow up. I was an Enumerator 10 yrs ago and had gotten asked back, but had found a full time job so I did not accept. However I would like to participate this year I have good numbers and I am good at addapting to the sittuations that surround me as well as the people. I’ld like to know how or whom I need to speak to about this oppertunity?

  15. Kelly, Contact your Local Census Office regarding employment opportunities. You can find your Local Census Office at the following link.

  16. Jeff says:

    People! People!
    Everything that the Census workers on this blog have stated is mostly a lie. I did not fill out all of my form and I have never received a call or a visit from a Enumerator! They say you are required to answer ALL of the questions or you will be visited or fined, or both! This is what I filled out:
    Number of people in my household
    Ages of people in my household (not birth date)
    Sex of everybody in my household
    Race of everybody in my household
    Relationship of everybody in my household
    Why haven’t I been visited? I did not fill all of it out! I WILL NOT get visited. The number of people in my household is all that is required so I will not get a visit. Don’t let the people here scare you!

  17. FOS says:


  18. Kim says:

    Why weren’t the original forms not given to po boxes? A lot of my NRFU’s do not have mailboxes, just po boxes.

  19. JC says:

    Good for you! I’d like to know the answer to your question also. I think I’ve been visited going on 6x….geeeeez!

  20. ann says:

    Working for the Census as a clerk is entertaining, frustrating, fun, and interesting…most of us do not normally work in an office setting; that’s why we’re here. We are real estate agents, waiters, tradespeople…people who are educated and smart enough to do well on the test, but underemployed because of the economic meltdown and for other, various reasons that make themselves clear over time as we work together locked into a fairly small space filled to the brim with paper and office equipment. Every day brings new directives from on high…we are constantly doing it wrong, even though we are following the previous day’s instructions to the letter. Non response follow up is my favorite…the script instructs us to tell the respondent they are required by law to answer our questions…PBOCS, the label printer, is down more than up, so we have a lot of hand printed labels minus, oh, addresses, which are really helpful when you are reinterviewing a proxy respondent. I have written a series of haiku about NRFU; I call it NRFU Haiku (what else). I will post them on facebook.

  21. april villemaire says:

    We just finished our area in northern vermont. I was wondering if there is any available work in other areas in the US. Also is there a place we can submit any ideas for the next census?

  22. Marcie Matthews says:

    My 4th visit today was extremly aggressive. So I guess the whole 3 and your done objective is out the window!

  23. Annoyed participant says:

    I had a census bureau worker leave a message on my door on Friday (May 28), which explained that she needed speak with me and left her name, phone number, and the hours that she could be reached (8:30am-9:00pm). Since it was well after 9:00pm, I didn’t want to be impolite and call her back that evening; however, she showed up at my door the very next morning (May 29) at 9:07am. I don’t mind participating but if you are going to leave a note for someone, please give them a chance to respond to it before knocking on their door again. I found it extremely inconsiderate for her to show up at my door that early on a Saturday morning, and during a holiday weekend. I understand that you have a job to do, but that is RUDE.

  24. della reid says:

    We never received a census blank to return so I didn’t kmow
    what to do.

  25. crx says:

    I’m about ready for resignation but for a different reason. They’ve given us on average 6 and a half hours of work… per week. It really isn’t worth the trouble. I wish the minimum was actually the case and I wish that the whole emphasis about not exceeding the 40 hour per week limit was a problem.

  26. Ob says:

    Regarding the question about the number of visits required…Yes, the manual requires census workers make 6 attempts (3 by phone, plus up to 3 personal visits) during NRFU. However, there is a quality assurance element, where 5% of the enumerator visits are selected for a re-interview (NRFU RI), to determine whether the original information collected was accurate. NRFU RI is also expected to make 6 attempts at obtaining the information. For those lucky few, that makes 12 contacts.
    Wouldn’t it be easier to just answer the census questions the first time you are contacted?
    – A Census Worker

  27. Ob, you are correct. It’s possible that these households are part of our quality control process.
    As we follow up with households who have not returned a completed census form or who did not receive one, we have quality control checks in place to ensure the work of our census takers is accurate.We systematically re-interview a randomly selected percentage of each census taker’s cases and match the data they collected to the data collected in the re-interview process. Local Census Office managers can also select additional cases for re-interview to further investigate census takers’ work.

  28. geneo says:

    Mr Graves, Do you have a Progress Report For Four Weeks Into Non-Response Follow-Up?
    Thanks in advance.
    Out in the Field Enumerator…

  29. geneo says:

    Mr Graves, We are still waiting for the 4th Week Progress Report?
    Field Enumerator….

  30. geneo says:

    Still waiting on ANY kind of Progress Report for us in the field… since nothing is coming down to us thru our LCO, FOS and CL???
    Enumerator wanting to do a Good Job….

  31. K White says:

    Replacement census forms SHOULD be given or mailed to households that request them. Many of us work shift work and sleep — or TRY TO — during the day, and don’t want to be awakened by loud — really loud — knocking on our doors! I don’t want to talk to anyone who comes to my door, especially someone who has to read EVERY single word from some stupid form.
    Can’t stand it. WHY can’t we get replacement forms, if we didn’t receive ours or lost it???

  32. geneo says:

    Thank you Mr Graves for the 4th Week Progress Report.

  33. jr says:

    Good thinking! I sympathize with people who have to be awakened by a knock on their door or by the doorbell ringing or by the phone ringing. It’s even worse when one or more of your neighbor refuse to answer their questionnaire and a census taker knocks on your door hoping to have you as a proxy for them. Perhaps, 10 years from now, on the 2020 census, the government has become more efficient in this matter, and the people more responsive than ever.

  34. Please stop calling Director Groves “Mr. Graves”. You can at least make an effort to get his name correct.

  35. geneo says:

    AttentionToDetail, Slight typo, All my responses should of been addressed to “Mr. Groves”. Thanks for bringing it to my attention…..

  36. mom says:

    I DID ANSWER THE STUPID FORM AND WAS INTERVIEWED BY THE IDIOTIC WORKER! The jerk has called over 32 times in the past 3 months. My caller ID says a different name than he is giving when he leaves a message to call back. In addition he is calling from his wifes cell phone and other individuals in his family’s phones. Sometimes leaving a message, sometimes letting it ring 4 times then hanging up and repeating several times in a row. Our number is unpublished, he has now violated confidentiality. His whole family and God knows who else has our number! Yesterday he banged on the front door and I mean hit it hard several times then rang the doorbell. I looked outside and noticed a man standing to the side. I didn’t know who it was and I was alone so I didn’t answer it. Five minutes later he circled around to my back screen porch and proceded to tell me he was a census worker and demanded in a very threatening voice to know who I was and told me he wanted info on our family. HE NEVER SHOWED ID ONE TIME. He finally left when I got up and went inside. THIS IS PURE HARASSMENT! He has all of our info and he keep coming back each time more aggressively. We are filing harassment charges today.No ONE HAS TO PUT UP WITH THIS!

  37. You are in the wrong by not answering the questions for the Census. If they are trying to contact you, then obviously they did NOT get your form or there is a discrepency that needs to be corrected. You could have easily avoided all of this and not wasted so much taxpayer money by just answering the first time he came out or called. I hope you are fined for non-compliance with the Census.

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