Over 120 million households will receive the ten question form. The 2010 Census marks the 23rd time the country has undertaken the constitutionally mandated population count first conducted in 1790.
The Census is used to determine Congressional representation and is also used to redraw state and local legislative boundaries for the purpose of fairly distributing political representation across changing populations.
“When you receive your 2010 Census, please fill it out and mail it back,” Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said. “It’s one of the shortest forms in our lifetime with just 10 questions very much like the questions James Madison and Thomas Jefferson helped craft on the very first Census.”
The Census Bureau estimates that if every household completes and mails back their form, the cost of conducting the Census will be reduced by $1.5 billion.
“Here is something every family can do to help their government save money, and get an accurate Census at the same time. Mailing back your census form when it arrives will contribute to saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars,” Groves said. “It’s a lot less expensive to get responses back by mail than it is to send census takers to knock on doors of households that failed to respond.”
“It costs the government just 42 cents for a postage paid envelope when a household mails back the form,” Groves added. “It costs $57 to send a census taker door-to-door to follow up with each household that fails to respond.”
Letters were mailed last week advising citizens to watch for the 2010 Census form to arrive in the mail. Reminder postcards will be sent later this month as part of a strategy to increase participation and reduce costs.
Even with the reminders, the Census Bureau projects that an additional 650,000 census workers will be needed to visit the 48 million households expected not to respond by mail.
Participation in the census is required by law. The public is encouraged to promptly mail back their 2010 Census forms which are scheduled to be delivered between March 15-17.
The 2010 Census asks the following questions:
1. The number of people living in the residence.
2. Any additional people that might be living there as of April 1, 2010.
3. Whether the residence is owned or rented.
4. Telephone number (in case the Census Bureau has follow-up questions).
7. Age and date of birth.
8. Whether of Hispanic origin.
10. Whether that person sometimes lives somewhere else.
Census forms are available upon request in six languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. For the first time, bilingual English/Spanish forms will be mailed out to 13 million households where Spanish is the predominant language spoken at home. Braille and large print forms are also available on request. For the hearing impaired, a TDD program is available at 1-866-738-2010.
The Census Bureau will also be staffing more than 30,000 Questionnaire Assistance Centers around the country where people can get help with their forms in multiple languages. Locations of the centers are being publicized locally and can also be found on 2010census.gov.