An estimated 48 million addresses will be visited by census workers before July 10. Approximately 635,000 census workers will be making door to door visits to obtain information from households which did not mail back their census forms.
“America’s had a very successful first half of the 2010 Census, where more than 72 percent of the nation’s households mailed back their census forms,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said. “But achieving a complete and accurate census requires us to now go door to door to count all the remaining households we’ve not heard back from.”
The Census Bureau offered the following tips to verify that an individual is a legitimate census worker:
• The census taker must present an ID badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. The census taker may also be carrying a black canvass bag with a Census Bureau logo.
• The census taker will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the local census office phone number for verification, if asked.
• The census taker will only ask you the questions that appear on the 2010 Census form.
• The 2010 Census taker will not ask for social security number, bank account number or credit card number and will never solicit for donations or contact you by e-mail.
Census workers will typically make up to six attempts at each residence to count occupants.
This includes leaving notifications of the attempted visit at the house or apartment door, in addition to trying to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview or schedule an in-person interview.
“If a census taker knocks on your door, please help by providing the basic information required for the census,” Groves said. “Your answers are strictly confidential. There are just 10 questions on the form and it should only take about 10 minutes to complete.”
In the event that a census worker is unable to reach a household resident, they may seek out proxy sources — a neighbor, a rental agent, a building manager or some other knowledgeable person familiar with the housing unit — to obtain as much basic information about the occupants as they can.
Some households will receive a visit even though they may have mailed back their form. If the form arrived too late to be processed before nonresponse follow-up packets were sent to one of the 494 local census offices, the household occupants must still be interviewed when the census taker arrives. The Census Bureau is urging cooperation and patience with the census takers, as this is the best way to ensure that everyone is counted properly.
All census takers undergo an FBI background check that includes both name and fingerprint checks. All have taken an oath for life to protect the information they collect and understand that they face stiff penalties, jail time or both for any disclosure of personally identifiable information.