Friday, March 12, 2010

Fill Out The Form

You'll be getting a note in the mail next week from the U.S. Census Bureau. There's some misinformation swirling around this year (happens every decade), so in case you need a nudge, here are the Better Business Bureau's "Top Five Reasons To Fill Out the Census Form":

* It’s safe - By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including the IRS, FBI, CIA, INS or any other government agency. All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.

* It’s easy - The mail-in census form is only ten questions long and, for many households, won’t take longer than ten minutes to answer. If you don’t return the form, you’ll be visited at your home by a census taker at least three times. Avoid the hassle and just fill out the form.

* It allocates money and resources to help you - The information the census collects helps determine how more than $400 billion dollars of annual federal funding is spent on infrastructure and services that go to benefit the public including hospitals, job training centers, schools, bridges and roads.

* It saves you money – For every 1 percent increase in mail response, the government—and ultimately taxpayers—save $80 to $90 million.

* It helps your voice be heard - Redistricting is the process of changing electoral district and constituency boundaries, usually in response to periodic census results. Census information affects the numbers of seats your state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives.

For more advice on filling out your census form, visit the bureau's website.


  1. Um, goofy question, and perhaps a kind reader knows the answer. What if I accidentally threw out the form?!?!?

  2. They are being mailed out next week so you couldn't have thrown it out yet. I got a "your census is coming soon" letter last Monday, so it's possible you tossed that. But that's not a problem. Just look for the real thing next week.

  3. Excellent post. You've inspired me.

  4. It will be most interesting to view the results of this one, given everything that's happened in the past few years.

  5. Great, Petrea! Tell your friends. ;-)

    Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens. Of course, those who are urging people not to fill out the form only shoot themselves and their communities in the foot by not getting counted. Like so many things, the priorities are backward.

  6. Got our form yesterday, filled it out last night and it's going back today.

    Interesting, after 27 years of marriage, we are officially a two-person household for the first time ever in census definition. Turns out that you don't list college students living away from home as members of your household. They are counted separately.

    A bittersweet moment for this two-person family. Even though we were kidless for six years in the early days, that fell between census markers.