The 2015 National Content Test Is Now Underway

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Written by: John H. Thompson

This month, 1.2 million households began receiving the questionnaire for the 2015 National Content Test. For those who receive the test, your participation in this important milestone on the road to the 2020 Census will help us determine the best questions for you to respond to in the next census. September 1 marks Census Day for the test.

The National Content Test has two main objectives. First, we want to evaluate and compare different versions of questions to ask in the 2020 Census, such as those about race and origin, relationships, and the best questions for determining where people should be counted as of Census Day.

Second, during the National Content Test, the U.S. Census Bureau will try different strategies for encouraging households to respond to the census on their own. We will test nine different approaches to encourage households to respond via the Internet – the least costly and most efficient response option.

The Census Bureau has sent National Content Test questionnaires to a statistically representative sample of households in the United States and Puerto Rico. For each household, we ask how many people live in the house, and each person’s name, sex, age, relationship, and race and ethnic origin. We ask whether the housing unit is owned or rented. Finally, we ask for the respondent’s telephone number and email address. Because studying the effectiveness of different content is part of the test, different households will receive different versions of question wording.

If you receive a form, please perform your civic duty and complete it. You will help inform our decisions as we design the 2020 Census. Your participation will also help us to identify additional topics for 2020 Census testing later this decade. As always, the information we collect is subject to strict privacy and confidentiality laws, and we go to great lengths to protect your data. The National Content Test is part of our ongoing testing activities to research innovative methods for reducing the cost of the 2020 Census, while still maintaining a high-quality census. It will help us develop a census that is cost-effective, improves coverage, and reduces operational risk.

The 2015 National Content Test is scheduled to run through November 2015. You can learn more by visiting our FAQ page.

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141 Responses to The 2015 National Content Test Is Now Underway

  1. Arthur J Giovannoni, Jr says:

    Today I received a post card stating that the US Census Bureau is conducting a 2015
    National Content Test and that I am required by law to respond to this survey.
    Is this on the level? I am leery of these mailings. Please inform me on this subject as soon as possible. Thank you, Arthur Giovannoni

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is one of the tests we are conducting in preparation for the 2020 census.

      For assistance, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  2. ELIZABETH ABATE says:

    https://survey.census.gov/censustest does not work…..I’ve tried about eight times…..

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  3. Nancy Daley says:

    I have tried to log on but the server says it can’t be located

  4. Nancy Daley says:

    Sorry. It’s fine now. I originally did not include the “s” after http.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      We’re glad you were able to access the 2015 National Content Test online questionnaire. If you need further assistance, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  5. Karmen Brower says:

    Having our household “selected” for the “census test” survey is not helpful. Your intrusive questions are just that – intrusive. The Census Bureau has gone far and above it’s constitutional mandate.

    It’s no one’s business about age, martial status, whether or not one as or does not have a mortgage, etc. It is most assuredly NOT the business of the U. S. government in spite of the liberties that have been taken over the years.

    Karmen Brower
    Citizen

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census.

    • Patricia Smith says:

      I agree with Karmen, your questions are out of line. I was very nervous answering these questions as there are so many people out there wanting to rip you off. The questions were very personal and beyond what is needed. Please do not add me to any list in the future.

      Patricia Smith
      Citizen

      • U.S. Census Bureau says:

        Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. We are testing wording and question structure for the 2020 Census to evaluate how people respond to different options. During the census the answers to these questions help determine allocation of federal funds.

        • L says:

          where on the census can we give our opinion of the various questions to help in your determination? can we not answer a question?

    • melba murray says:

      I think its important that you put the names, ages, martial status, addresses, and head of house hold of everyone who lives in the house with you. The mortgage is not important. I’m so glad my grandparents filled out there’s in 30’s it helped in my research of the family.

  6. Charles V. Bremer says:

    So, where’s the test ? I don’t see any test.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

      • Steve Avila says:

        I found your response to Mr Bremer’s comment to be canned. What you said did not address his concern. It is reflective of how government sees us citizens and how it deals with us, badly. Save the word play for the high priced marketing bozos.

  7. Jane Farnan says:

    Just two comments. At the end of the survey it asks how did I find out about the survey. The first answer said … “postcard, letter or mailed invitation”. The use of the word “invitation” implies that the recipient can accept or decline the invitation to respond. The envelope states that “… response is required by law” and in the body of the letter it said “Respond on time to avoid a personal visit from a Census Bureau interviewer” these statements imply that the recipient has a choice. In the future consider changing the wording for this answer. Also, please make sure that your security software is updated and impervious to hacking – we are victims in identity theft with someone filing a fraudulent tax return in our names. I am wary of having our personal information on-line or stored in a computer. I prefer the old mail Census process!

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.

      • Steve Avila says:

        Jane Farnan’s observations were quite on point. After the heavy-handed tone you set at the outset, you go and change up and call it an invitation? Please, who are you kidding or trying to fool. It shows a disrespect for the very people you want to have cooperate with you. Government needs to change it’s attitude!

  8. Virginia Traylor says:

    Our household received your request today. It requires it to be completed online. I’m just curious how that can be considered a statistically valid sample given that by your own report only 74.8% of US households have internet access?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test will help determine the best ways to encourage people to respond to the 2020 Census.

      We recognize that not everyone will be able to respond online. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  9. Beatrice says:

    What do people do that do not have a computer or even access to a computer? I only have my work e-mail and computer which should only be used for business.
    I don’t have an I-phone or other e-mail address, I don’t have a face book account. Can this be done via regular mail?
    I know that the Census is important and I am willing to do my part.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  10. Mark Kincaid says:

    I can’t find the test itself. Shouldn’t it available?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  11. David H. Campbell says:

    So how do I give my input?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  12. Dan says:

    I don’t trust that you will keep any information I have private. I don’t want to participate in this test.

    Thanks

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

      • Citizen says:

        To Whom it May Concern,
        Pursuant to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the only information you are empowered to request is the total number of occupants at this address, and that may only be done in a Census year. My “name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, telephone number, relationship and housing tenure” have absolutely nothing to do with apportioning direct taxes or determining the number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Therefore, neither Congress nor the Census Bureau have the constitutional authority to make that information request a component of the enumeration outlined in Article I, Section 2, Clause 3. In addition, I cannot be subject to a fine for basing my conduct on the Constitution because that document trumps laws passed by Congress, and defines their power, or in this case the lack thereof. Also the personal information you are asking is of no business of the Federal Government and a violation of the rights forwarded every citizen under the 4th amendment, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizures, shall not be violated”. Even though this is not a census year I will provide you the Constitutionally required information that I provided on my census form last year.

        Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479 (May 26, 1894)

        “Neither branch of the legislative department [House of Representatives or Senate], still less any merely administrative body [such as the Census Bureau], established by congress, possesses, or can be invested with, a general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 190. We said in Boyd v. U.S., 116 U. S. 616, 630, 6 Sup. Ct. 524,―and it cannot be too often repeated,―that the principles that embody the essence of constitutional liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and it’s employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life. As said by Mr. Justice Field in Re Pacific Ry. Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250, ‘of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.’”

        Note: This United States Supreme Court case has never been overturned.

        Respectfully,
        A Citizen of the United States of America

        • JBurton says:

          It amazes me how many people on this blog comment that the Census should not ask for sex, marital status, age, and ethnicity. This information has been on the census from the beginning.

          • JBurton says:

            However, I am concerned about questions regarding mortgages, property values, income, and finances….those are intrusive and the information is available through a number of government agencies as it is.

          • U.S. Census Bureau says:

            You may be part of one of other surveys. Please contact your regional office for support (www.census.gov/regions).

            The National Content Test asks how many people live in the house, and for each person we will ask the name, sex, age, relationship, and race/origin. We also will ask whether the housing unit is owned or rented, the telephone number, and an email address. Some people will receive different versions of question wording because studying the effectiveness of different content is a part of the test.

  13. Justin Hanley says:

    I was wondering what measures the Census Bureau is taking to ensure the information provided will be secure? The paper copy includes names, birthdays, ages and race of each member of my family.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.

  14. Thomas E. Maddox, Jr. says:

    Please cite the statutory authority by which you claim that a response is required by law.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The Census Bureau operates under Title 13 and Title 26 of the U.S. Code. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  15. Ben F says:

    Received notice I must participate. Strange it is not a census year. What is the penalty for ignoring this? If the government can ignore any law it wants, why can’t I.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  16. Mark Falso says:

    While this is a great concept. However, I noticed when I was doing family tree research, I review the census of the past and I noticed a huge problem. What are the maiden names of the wives of the Head of Household or themselves if they are themselves head of Household. This rise a new question because I was doing a family research and I found two conflicting maiden last names of a wife of a relative. I knew of one last name but then a new report I researched it came out with different maiden name. It is harder to trace back before the bride got married. I would like to see for 2020 and beyond that all wives have maiden names as required added on the forms. Also many wives today are keeping their maiden names such as actresses and TV personalities. This is why it is important to add maiden names.

    Another problem rise as per Supreme Court of the United States Decision on homosexuality marriages, you will need to add the status of type of marriage now saying, “Straight” or “Gay” to the U.S. Census. It makes more clear and it would be easier for all Genealogy websites and software to understand those new Census methods.

    I would like to see your examples of the census forms and I can tell you if they are good or still need to add both of those things I highly recommended. Please if you can, email me those forms and I will be happy to evaluate. Thank you.

    Thank you!

  17. Conway L. Hunt says:

    During the 2015 National Content Test I was given a 4-digit PIN, but was never asked for it during the interview. Please explain.

  18. tim walsh says:

    “page not found”

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  19. bonnie christie says:

    I started to do it online then felt I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t a scam. I emailed a local tv station to ask if anyone else had questioned it. Apparently several people had contacted them to find out if it’s legitimate. I hadn’t seen anything about it on the news or in the papers. Somehow you need to make this more public so when people receive it they won’t wonder if they should be responding. I will complete it now, only because I asked, and was given this link.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

      • Charles Palumbo says:

        I do not understand this whole census procedure. Cant find test on line. Too many unclear websites on census. Called number on card and they said I won a cruise. Did not accept or want cruise and they said good bye. Sounds like a scam.

        • U.S. Census Bureau says:

          Thank you for your comments. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

    • Karen says:

      Agreed! I also thought this was a scam and almost threw this out. It referenced another item of mail was sent to me prior to this. Probably threw that out as a scam. Waste of Govt money if half of us are throwing stuff out as potential scam material….. Then I had to spend time researching the validity of this 2nd request. Census Bureau Should spend more time marketing or communicating that this as government sponsored action, or have some pre survey link, some alternate layer of security.

      • U.S. Census Bureau says:

        Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  20. Norman Green says:

    none

  21. Stephen Banian says:

    The web site for Census information is very comprehensive and has useful data and information.

  22. Glen Jewell says:

    I recived your notice went to web site but no content test did i find

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  23. Erna B. Lett says:

    I do not understand what I am to do and how do I get to the 2015 National Content Test?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  24. Mitch says:

    I’m not going to reply to this test since it asks for the “names, ages, sexes, etc” of the people living in this house. The way I see it, “who lives in this house is none of your business”. You can ask how many live here but not their names. Stay out of my house.
    Your questions do not match your objectives. If you want to know the best cost effective way to do the census, just ask that question directly to us, not all the other stuff.
    I want the gov’t out of my house, it’s about the only freedom we have left and I am a 24 year military retired veteran too.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census.

    • Keith H says:

      I will not comply with this. Not only are you asking for names, emails, & phone numbers of the people who live there, you still want my name, email and phone number even if I don’t live there and what my address is where I do live? If this isn’t government intrusion and over reach, I don’t know what is… This is genuinely scary!

      It’s asking for much more personal information than I’ve ever had to provide in the past. And to put it online w/ your continual insistence that it will be safe is very unnerving. Not to mention the statement on the envelope, ‘YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW’ What are the consequences?

      • U.S. Census Bureau says:

        Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.

        For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  25. Raymond Bachtal says:

    nune

  26. James Neary says:

    I run the Neighborhood Watch for a retirement community of 19,000 homes and 26,000 people in south New Jersey. I have been inundated with questions about the 2015 National Content Test. My people are asking if this is another SENIOR SCAM. Nice job guys. No warning and no publicity. About 75% of our people do not use a computer. The form is addressed to RESIDENT AT. You advise that “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Who are you going to go after? RESIDENT AT? I have contacted the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office and Congressman Tom MacArthur. This whole thing is a fiasco.

  27. George Sheldon says:

    By chance I received an invitation (“requirement”) to complete online the “2015 National Content Test.” (What an obtuse survey title for the general public!) I saved my nearly completed survey and did not hit “Submit” so that I could return and fix up pages that asked for the full name and ethnicity of the second person living at my address (a single family home at one time where the first and second floors have been rented out separately). However, when I logged back in with my 14-digit User ID and 4-digit PIN, I could not go back to the middle of the survey. I could only go to the Submit page where I ended up. So, I could not go back and edit some information that was neither correct nor complete. Why have a “save” function if you cannot edit any page of an incomplete survey? Not good online survey design, it seems to me.

    PS: Note that I called the number 1-888-262-5931. I mentioned the online survey design problem described above. The interviewer noted that. He also astutely observed that I should only report for myself living on the first floor of this residence (and not for the person living on the second floor even though the house is designed as a single family house and both of us use the same mailing address; there are different names on different mail baskets.) So, I ultimately did not submit an online response to the survey. Instead, my information was taken telephonically.

    Final note …

    The person I spoke to at the Census Bureau call center stated that the email address for comments is . Surely some will wonder why this address is different than the email address given on the back of the cover letter signed by John Thompson:

    Feel free to contact me at my Census email address if you have questions. I am a federal government (VA) employee working here at Census with “special sworn status.”

  28. George Sheldon says:

    Just note the email address discrepancy noted at the end of my first email wasn’t communicated with any clarity as the discrepant email addresses were deleted from my message.

  29. Gina Chan says:

    Our mailer arrived at our house with the correct street address and state, but the city was incorrect. (not just incorrectly spelled) I called the help line, where I was told to lie on the question that asks if the address if correct. I emailed for help to get the correct the city attached to the mailer’s identification code. In response , what I got was the threatening card in the mail saying we’d better complete the survey ‘or else’.

    The survey responses are to benefit MY COMMUNITY MEMBERS, to get the funding, programs and help it needs. If the code is attached to another city, it negates the benefits of answering the survey.

    And, I think a second look should be taken at who is supplying the Census Bureau with addresses. This kind of mistake really messes up the goal of the survey.

  30. Nancy N says:

    Would have been nice to have a notice, warning and/or publicity that you plan to conduct this 2015 National Content Test. My fear was another SENIOR SCAM.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  31. P H'kin says:

    I too received the package and the post card. However since I receive numerous bogus official looking documents in the mail I shred the form thinking this was just one more. I guess I will have to wait for the interviewer. My advice; publicize the survey so one has some confidence that this survey is official.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comment. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  32. Margaret M says:

    I found the “test” questions very intrusive. In order to determine the population of the country why is it necessary to ask ethnicity questions? If this is necessary why isn’t it “necessary” to ask residency status as in resident, documented or undocumented alien? Why does the census bureau need to know if I own or rent my residence and if this information is needed whether or not I have a mortgage? I find most of these questions to be very intrusive. It seems to me you would need to know how many people live in a household, whether or not they could be counted in another residence and number of males, females, adults 18 or over and children under 18.
    Finally, who developed this questionnaire and if it was outsourced how much are they being paid or have they been paid? If this test was outsourced I would be even more upset because I don’t have confidence that the information will be kept secure.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.

      We are testing wording and question structure for the 2020 Census to evaluate how people respond to different options. During the census the answers to these questions help determine allocation of federal funds.

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  33. Charles Palumbo says:

    Very poor directions. phone number was no help. Sounds like a scam.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments.

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  34. mary says:

    My 91 year old dad got this survey letter and was concerned how to do it. He has no computer and can’t hear over the phone. Threatening seniors by saying this is required by law is very unnerving for them. If this is not a scam it should be in the news that it is happening now. I will forward this to my local postmaster to make sure this is not a scam!!

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments.

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  35. Wallace Whitmore says:

    I just spent several hours over the last 3 days to verify that this wasn’t a scam. With Government databases ineffectively protected and personal experience with a dubious veracity from the US Postal Service, the postage permit was not necessarily credible. The unfamiliar Indiana return address did not help. With this administrations history of turning agency after agency into a political tool/weapon to further a personal political agenda beyond Constitutional restraints, every agency is going to have to deal with an enormous credibility gap for, I suspect, decades. With this “Test” occurring in the middle of the Census Cycle, it will still be suspect. The person/persons responsible for the wording on the card did not know the history of our Country and Government, did not apply it or wasn’t allowed to apply it. It might have just stopped short of requiring the Revolutionary War to be fought all over again. It may have put this agency on the tip of the spear. In any case, I am concerned from the other comments I have read, that your task may have become harder than you would have any right to expect. Strangely enough, the ability to accurately quantify and report that might even be a far greater service to the country. Good luck!

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census.

  36. B. says:

    Cornell University Law School     U.S. Code › Title 13 › Chapter 7 › Subchapter II › § 221   (a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100. (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500. (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body. (Aug. 31, 1954, ch. 1158, 68 Stat. 1023; Pub. L. 85–207, § 15, Aug. 28, 1957, 71 Stat. 484; Pub. L. 94–521, § 13, Oct. 17, 1976, 90 Stat. 2465.)

  37. Virgini says:

    I found the survey but dd not find the 2015 National Content Test. I found where I was asked for 10 digit code but I have a 14 digit code? Does this mean I don’t have to take it? I entered first 10 digits, last 10 digits got login failed.

  38. Inez J. Howe says:

    Could not find the test. First time I tried I got Ancestry.com. Will call phone number on card.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  39. Mike Y says:

    Based on the announcement letter I received in the mail, I believed the 2015 National Content Test might be scam until I called the help line to verify authenticity. Maybe a little more explanation in the opening sentence would be helpful.

    The “required by law” and “personal visit from a Census Bureau interviewer” text in the letter seemed harsh to me. I recommend you reconsider the need for such language in future mailings.

    Finally, I recommend striking the sentence, “Results from the next census will be used to help each community get its fair share of federal funding for many programs that you and your neighbors need.” I participate in census activities and surveys because I believe doing so is a civic duty, not because I am looking for a piece of the fiscal pie. I hope others share my view.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census.

  40. Bert says:

    I will let the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration come to my house to take the United States Department of Commerce Census Test. I do not want to avoid a personal visit from a Census Bureau interviewer. I will be happy to see them and take the test as is required by law. Thanks for the choice and have a great day!

  41. I'm Concerned says:

    On July 27, 2015, Representatives of the United States Census Bureau confirmed that hacktivists of the Anonymous movement breached part of the organization’s systems.
    The attackers leaked thousands of usernames, passwords, email addresses, and other data obtained from a census.gov subdomain.
    How can we trust the system if we read the news abotu it being breached just over a month ago? What kind of rigorous penetrations testing do the systems that store and transmit the data go through? Could you please provide more specifics than just a vague canned statement saying “We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential.” Your non-canned response with more specifics on the results of the rigorous penetration testing would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    I’m Concerned

  42. Dorothy Blasy says:

    There are three people living in our house. That is all the information that the Census Bureau is mandated to receive. Thank you.

  43. Al says:

    Why isn’t there a prominent link on this page to the survey?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  44. steve eckardt says:

    I can’t believe how badly the Census Bureau is screwing this up: i got a postcard saying i’d been sent a paper survey – but i never did;

    i followed the link on the postcard only to find that there were many surveys –but no indication which one was for me;

    i emailed the CB and did get a response –links to this and that, but none to the actual survey.

    I am a dutiful citizen and a college grad with high-speed internet access – if you guys can’t simply give ME a way to complete the survey, i can’t imagine how you are reaching other kinds of folks.

    Stunning incompetence.

  45. steve eckardt says:

    ps. looking over your past responses, let me guess: after all i’ve done, you’re going to tell me to call the 800 number

    unbelievable…..

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      We appreciate your comments. Your response will help inform our decisions as we design and finalize the 2020 Census.

  46. Sh Kreps says:

    My 93 yo mother threw away the test thinking it was junk mail. She has no computer but she reads the paper every day and watches TV news. Obviously you need better communication about this. Now she has the reminder card which also looks suspiciously like a pfishing scam. I think it too will end up in recycle bin.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  47. John Ranyak says:

    Your survey has two basic flaws in its design and execution. Designwise, instructions should provide an advance list of exactly what information is needed to be gathered before starting the survey. In today’s hard times, households often include more than one family. Each bedroom can be rented and subrented to meet high housing costs, and occupants are often unrelated and of mixed culture/race. As I moved from page to page of your survey, I had to locate each cohabitant with a new question which should have been available before starting. Finally, the execution is flawed because a return to edit answers is blocked if all questions are answered BUT NOT SUBMITTED. There IS ONLY a warning that there is no returning after submitting. I got to the birth dates question and decided I needed to know what other questions were coming in all the unseeable pages, as my cohabitants were scattering out of town; so I entered imaginary birth dates for absent individuals and logged back in when I was ready to edit the UNSUBMITTED data. You know what happened, of course: your answers are of questionable value. You are capturing inaccurate data before it is submitted!

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. We are learning from your response to inform our design and how we move the 2020 Census into the Internet and finalize the 2020 Census.

  48. John says:

    After reading all of the above, it confirms my suspicion of the governments intrusion into our private lives. I pay taxes and plenty of them for the government to do their job. Please stop sending stuff for me to do for you.

  49. Harry says:

    If I answer wrong by mistake, will I go to jail? Or only be fined?

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Yes. Participation in the test is mandated by law (Title 13 of the U.S. Code). This same law also requires the Census Bureau to keep your answers confidential and allows them to be used only to produce statistical summary data. In other words, the Census Bureau does not publish data that would identify individuals.

  50. Vijay says:

    Questions are very personal, too prying and creepy and I do not like this test at all.
    Please remove me from all mailing lists.

    How do I execuse myself from your encroachment into my personal life and questions?

  51. Kenneth Lee says:

    I, too, assumed this survey was just another scam. Wrote to my Congressman Cleaver to determine its authenticity…no answer. Wrote to my Senator McCaskill, asking the same question…no answer. After reading all the above messages, I guess it is a legitimate survey that was poorly planned.

  52. PD K says:

    The postcard I just received said that previous notices were sent. I have not received them. When were the first notices sent out?

  53. Kelly says:

    I am not comfortable using my personal computer to access any unknown website. I would rather someone send me a paper survey. Too many scams out there to even bother messing with it.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  54. Maddy says:

    Received Census & mailed it back the same day. Obviously you didn’t receive it. Now I’m getting postcards to take the 2015 “test”. One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.
    Why call it a “test”? Just call it a survey. It’s less intimidating.

  55. Leila says:

    I’m an international student and not a US citizen, do I still need to complete the survey?

  56. George says:

    Not comfortable answering the questions in the survey – very personal. the problem is: in the past years, there have been so many cases the information intended to be kept confidential were “leaked out” and so many people fell victims.

    Once we give out our personal and private information to you, all what I can do is to only hope you will protect it, AND hope the hackers will not get it.

    Also, when I received the “invitation” from mail, I thought it was a fishing mail, just because I received so many mails and emails asking me to compete this and that form and mail back …

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      Thank you for your comments. We are committed to handling your information responsibly. Your information is kept confidential. For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  57. Christina Purdy says:

    I agree with those who suspected a scam. There should have been better advance warning in the media (print, broadcast, social, etc) so we wouldn’t have to waste our time verifying the legitimacy of the inquiry.

    To further add to the “scammy” feeling, I have now received–count ’em–four (4) emails telling me that my response has been received and I have no further obligations. Enough already! I have gone back to making sure there’s no funny English or references to Nigeria.

  58. MCR says:

    I received the 2015 Natl. Content Test, completed it, and sent it in. Thought this was a great idea until I started receiving confirmation, after confirmation, after confirmation through my email. I get it! You have received my responses and the email I’m receiving is to confirm receipt of those responses. How many times do I need to receive the confirmation email?!? It’s great that I’m not getting additional U.S. Mail, but now I keep getting email messages! Ugh!

  59. Cory says:

    Like MCR above, I keep getting thank you notices for completing the Content Test. A thank you is nice, but so far I’ve received, maybe, a dozen thank you notes about the same thing over the past month. I hope the Census Bureau gets it resolved soon, or I’ll soon be adding any email received from census.gov to my spam filter.

  60. Latarsha says:

    I received an email, asking did I fill out the Census Survey but I never received anything in the mail about it.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      For assistance in completing the 2015 National Content Test questionnaire, please call 1-866-226-2836, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00am EST, and Sunday from 11:00am to 12am EST. The telephone call is free.

  61. Oleg says:

    I am happy to answer any questions. But I’m not American.

  62. Mary Cicero says:

    I think this is a great idea please send me one i don’t have a computer at home .

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  63. NJL says:

    Fellow citizens: For the sake of the public good, please complete the survey. 1st, our government is trying to improve a process which is required by law. 2nd, the information you provide, as intrusive as you may think, is confidential and probably more secure than the same info you give a credit card company, car dealership or the Apple Store. 3rd and most important to me, the information provided is used to make some of the most important decisions affecting everything in our community from economic development to business decisions, and strategic planning. http://www.census.gov/econ/census/use_data/

  64. Cosmas Likunguala says:

    I am not in state but why do i received mail about state census survey

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  65. Michael zugerburg says:

    dear Katherina my missionary has meaning for you?
    What was it?
    Tell me…

  66. christian chiazalam chibueze says:

    I am very happy for this

  67. MICHAEL .N. UGOCHUKWU says:

    MICHAEL N. UGOCHUKWU SAYS… I APPRECIATE YOUR REGISTRATION AND MECHANISM FOR THE 2020 AMERICAN CENSUS..WISHING YOU THE BEST EFFORTS YOU ARE MAKING TO BE A HUGE SUCCESS.. MORE GREASE TO YOUR ELBOWS.. I REMAIN.. A CITIZEN..ON ABROAD.. MICHAEL ,.N. UGOCHUKWU IN JOS. NIGERIA

  68. Fernando Camberos says:

    I never liked the census program because they come in and ask questions that are intrusive. The gathering methods through the internet will make matters much worse. I assume the Bureau has already gathered intel through the electronic data systems via the hospitals because they are more accurate than person to person or the internet. If party A claims 3 people in a house but the insurance states there are 9 registered then there is a problem. I understand it is for demographics because I have accessed the website for research however there are much more things to consider when gathering this information.

  69. Manuel Saenz says:

    Is there a possible participation of citicens residing overseas.
    Thank you.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The 2015 National Content Test is sent to a statistically representative sample of approximately 1.2 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico. Households included in this sample have been mailed information on responding to the test.

  70. FrankFurter says:

    Don’t trust this.
    It just shows up in my mailbox threatening me to complete or else and it’s not a census year? Smells like a scam. So I’m not inclined to participate, particularly under threat or duress. You people are gutting vital social services and support daily to pay for unfunded wars and corporate tax breaks. Ask them for more money.
    I choose to not supply you with more information to be used against myself and my community.

  71. JRR says:

    We responded to the 2015 Content via internet. Did our duty. Now I am getting repeated, and I mean repeated phone calls from people claiming to be from the Bureau asking more questions. I told them I refused to participate further than what we have already complied with and was told this was mandatory. I still said no and the “agents” were still aggressive, hung up on them. But the calls keep coming through. And when they leave messages the call back number is 888, not 866. I too am beginning to think there is a scam operation somewhere lurking behind this program.

    I think as a US Citizen I have the right to refuse participation beyond the point of meeting the primary request. Please advise.

    • U.S. Census Bureau says:

      The National Content Test also includes a reinterview to assess accuracy and reliability. This will enable us to evaluate the key research questions, results, and findings to inform the 2020 census.

  72. Michael says:

    I received a call from someone purporting to be from the Census Bureau, how can I be sure it is not a phishing scam?

  73. Alan Lauffer says:

    I am going no further. this is not a constitutional requirement. Don’t mail anything to me that cost tax dollars, I will not fill it out.

  74. Anadon says:

    It would appear that the Census test is on again. I received my letter telling me to go to the gov website and answer the questions and that it was the law that I answer said questions. Well those questions were beyond intrusive. They asked things like, What time do I leave my house in the morning for work and what time I get to work. They also wanted to know how much I pay in insurance for my home, how much my escrow for my house was. I felt interrogated and a little wierded out. The I go on to read about this non-census questioning only to find that it is unconstitutional to gather this information under duress, this is not a census year. A little further investigation reveals that the census website was hacked last year, not long after they gathered this type of information. Know the law and you constitutional rights.

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