Why should everyone participate in the 2010 Census?

Census data shape the future of your community and define your voice in Congress.

  • Census information helps determine locations for schools, roads, hospitals, child-care and senior citizen centers, and more.
  • Businesses use census data to locate supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other facilities.
  • The census determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the boundaries of legislative districts.

How long do I have to return my census form?

Census Forms should be returned by April 23, 2010.  If your form is not received by this date, Census Bureau employees will visit your residence in person to collect your information through a short interview on your doorstep.

I never received my census form in the mail, and the Questionnaire Assistance Centers are closed.  What should I do?

If you never received a census form or reminder, you should notify your local census office, so that your address will be included for follow up visits where Census Bureau employees can interview you in person.  The number for the San Francisco Local Census Office is 415-680-2001.

When will census takers start visiting households of those who did not mail in their forms?

Census takers will begin visiting homes on May 3, 2010.  Census takers visit local homes several times to capture resident information for the 2010 Census. If you prefer, you can schedule a visit with your census taker. Should the census taker come when you are away from your home, they will leave a contact number. If a census taker has not visited your home or you have a question about your participation with the census, call your Census office.

What should I do if a census taker visits my home?

You should do the following things:

  • First ask to see their ID. All census workers carry official government badges marked with just their name; they may also have a "U.S. Census Bureau" bag
  • Note that the census taker will never ask to enter your home
  • If you're still not certain about their identity, please call the Regional Census Centers to confirm they are employed by the Census Bureau
  • Answer the census form questions for your entire household (you must be at least 15 years old to answer questions) so that the census taker can record the results for submission to the Census Bureau

What happens when census takers visit a household that doesn't speak English?

Many census employees are local individuals hired from the same neighborhoods they are visitng, and may be fluent in languages used in those communities. In addition, census takers will have a flashcard containing a sentence about the 2010 Census written in approximately 50 languages. If a resident doesn't speak English, the census taker shows the flashcard to the resident, and the resident points to the language he/she speaks. A census crew Leader will then reassign the case to a person who speaks that language.


How will the 2010 Census differ from previous census effort?

In the last census, one in six households received a long questionnaire asking for detailed socioeconomic information. In 2010, every residence will receive a short questionnaire that is simple and fast to complete and return. More detailed information will be collected annually from a small percentage of the population through the American Community Survey.


Should I participate if I or my family members are not legal residents?

YES! The US Constitution requires the Census Bureau to count every person who lives in this country, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.


Are forms available in different languages?

YES! The census questionnaire form is available in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. Language assistance guides are available in different languages. Call the number on the English form to request materials in your language. They will be mailed to your home.


Will the information the Census Bureau collect remain confidential?

Yes. Every Census Bureau worker takes an oath for life to protect the confidentiality of census responses. Violation would result in a jail term of up to five years and/or fine of up to $250,000. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual's answers with anyone, including welfare and immigration agencies.


Why are partners so important to the 2010 Census campaign?

More than 140,000 organizations supported Census 2000, including state and local governments, community-and faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others. The Census Bureau relies on partners to help explain the importance of completing the 2010 CEnsus message to people in every corner of the United States. This is particularly important in areas isolated by language or geography. By joining forces with partners, the Census Bureau has a far greater chance to reach every U.S. resident than by attempting this monumental task alone.


Date Description
Fall 2008 Recruitment begins for local census jobs for early census operations.
Spring 2009 Census employees go door-to-door to update address list nationwide.
Fall 2009 Recruitment begins for census takers needed for peak workload in 2010.
Feb - Mar 2010 Census questionnaires are mailed or delivered to households.
April 1, 2010 Census Day
April - July 2010 Census takers visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail.
Dec 2010 By law, Census Bureau delivers population counts to President for apportionment.
March 2011 By law, Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states.