Keyword Search:

What exactly is the Census?

The Constitution requires that the entire population of the United States be counted once every ten years. On April 1, 2000, every household will be asked to fill out a Census form that asks questions about the number of people living in the household, their ages, race and other important demographic data.

To top.

Why is the Census important?

  1. These counts are used to determine the number of members of Congress allocated to each state and how each district map is drawn.

  2. They are used to distribute money from federal, state and local governments for schools, bridges, hospitals, social programs and other uses. 

  3. They are used for future planning and policy decisions.

  4. They are used for enforcement of civil rights laws.

To top.

How much money is distributed by the federal government based on the census?

Twenty-two of the 25 largest Federal funding grant programs of fiscal year 1998 are responsible for $162 billion being distributed to state, local, and tribal governments; about half of this money was distributed using formulas involving census population data. We expect that at least $182 billion will be distributed annually based on formulas using Census 2000 data.

To top.

Is the Census Bureau really going to count everyone?

They are going to try, but even with their very best efforts, some people will be missed. Minorities, children, the poor, people in rural areas are most likely not to respond to the census.

To top.

How will I know when the Census is happening?

The Census Bureau, for the first time in history, will be using a nationwide advertising campaign to announce the Census and persuade people to participate. The Census Bureau will utilize radio, TV, print and outdoor advertising in 18 different languages to raise awareness and drive participation.

To top.

What if I forget to fill out my form?

Past Censuses have taught us that about 40 million households will fail to return a completed form. To count those people, the Census Bureau will be hiring over 800,000 people to conduct a door-to-door headcount of those people who fail to return their form. It is an expensive process. It is much more cost effective for the taxpayers to return their forms than to wait for an enumerator to knock on their door.

To top.

Is the information I give the Census Bureau confidential?

Absolutely. The Census Bureau does not share its information about individuals with anyone, not even other government agencies. Not the IRS. Not the INS. Not the police. No one.

To top.

Does everyone fill out the same Census form?

No. Five out of six households will get the "short form." This asks just eight questions: name, sex, age, race, relationship, Hispanic origin, whether you rent or own your home and how many people live in the household. A randomly selected one in six households will be asked to complete the "long form." The long form contains fifty-three questions in twenty-seven different subject areas related to work, technologies in the home and other demographic information.

To top.

How will people know that the person at their door is really a Census taker?

All Census Bureau employees will have proper identification, but also, whenever possible, they will be people from your own neighborhood. The Census Bureau knows that no one wants to open the door to a stranger. That is why they are hiring people from the local area to count their own neighborhoods. They know where the houses are, where the doors are, and often, who lives behind those doors.

To top.

What kinds of Census jobs are available?

The Census bureau needs people for data entry, clerical, enumerator and team leader positions. Testing for these jobs is starting soon and will continue into the beginning of next year. If individuals are interested in working for the Census Bureau, call them at 1-888-325-7733 or visit the Census Bureau website at

To top.

How do people get Census forms?

In March of 2000, every home in America will receive a pre notification letter by mail telling them that their Census form is on it~Rs way. Those letters will also contain instructions on how to obtain forms in more than 37 different languages. Then, census forms will be mailed out to every household in the United States. If you do not receive a pre-notification or an actual Census form in the mail, you can contact the local census office or your local government to find one.

To top.

How does the Census Bureau plan to use sampling now that the Supreme Court has restricted its use?

On January 25, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibits the use of statistical sampling to determine the population count for congressional apportionment purposes.

The Census Bureau, however, intends to release two sets of numbers -- adjusted and unadjusted. This will allow governments to use the more accurate adjusted data for non-apportionment purposes like redistricting, funds distribution, and fiscal planning.

To top.

How will the Census Bureau collect information on the homeless?

An operation called Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) is designed to provide people without "usual residence," who might not be included through other enumeration methods, an opportunity to be enumerated. Additionally, people without a "usual residence" will be able to pick up Be Counted questionnaires at selected non-SBE service locations, such as travelers' aid centers and health care clinics.

To top.

What is the Census Bureau doing to provide non-English language assistance?

Individuals receiving the census form in the mail will have the option of requesting a new form in a different language. The Census Bureau is also launching the Census 2000 Language program to overcome language barriers. Census Bureau Language Assistance Guides will use visual aids to assist respondents in completing the census 2000 forms. Their will be guides available in 49 different languages.

To top.

U.S. Census Monitoring Board
Presidential Members
4700 Silver Hill Road
Suite 1250 – 3
Suitland, MD 20746
Phone: (301) 457-9900
Fax: (301) 457-9901