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United States Census

Census Myths

What You Need to Know About the 2010 Census!

MYTH #1:  Information from the Census form will be given to the immigration and naturalization service or my landlord. – FALSE

  • THE TRUTH:  The Census Bureau is interested in statistical information only.  Your individual information is safe and your privacy is strongly protected.  In addition:
    • The census form does not ask about immigration status.
    • Census responses are confidential and protected by the strongest privacy laws in the country.
    • No other governmental agency – not even law enforcement or the courts – can get any person’s individual census information for 72 years.
    • No other law enforcement or governmental agency can override protections for the confidentiality of people’s responses to census questions – not the Patriot Act, the IRS, Homeland Security, or ICE.
    • No private company, landlord or employer can get any houseold’s census information, even with a court order.
    • Every census worker has to swear an oath to keep information confidential for a 72-year period.  If they violate that oath they face a fine up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in jail.

MYTH #2:  The Census form is too long and asks too many personal questions. – FALSE

  • THE TRUTH:  The 2010 Census Form is very short, with 10 questions, and will take only 10 minutes for the average family to answer.

MYTH #3:   It’s OK if I choose not to fill out the Census form.  – FALSE

  • THE TRUTH:  You are required by law requires a person receiving a Census form to fill it out truthfully and return it by April 1, 2010.  The law also stipulates the penalities for failling to do so.  If you do not return you Census form by April 1, 2010, you could have census workers come to your home up to six times to try to get a form completed.  If you don’t want a visit from the government, complete your Census form when you receive it.

MYTH #4:  The Census is only for U.S. citizens. – FALSE

  • THE TRUTH:  The census is a count of everyone living in the United States on April 1, 2010, regardless of citizenship or legal status.  It is mandated by the U.S. Constitution under Article 1, Section 2.

MYTH #5:  The Census information won’t help me.  – FALSE

  • THE TRUTH:  Census data are used to distribute Congresional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments each year.

Census at a Glance

Every 10 years, the Census counts everyone residing in the United States.

Census data is used to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds each year.

The next Census count begins April 1, 2010.

The Census form has only 10 questions.

Your answers on the Census form are confidential and protected by law.

U.S. Census 2010 web site has additional information.

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