Census Q & A

Mar 17, 2010

What is the census?

Required once every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution, the census will count every person living in the United States.  The 2010 Census is one of the shortest census forms in history and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

When should I receive my form?

By March 2010, more than 130 million addresses across the country will receive a census questionnaire.

Why is it important?

Census data guides the distribution of more than $400 billion per year in federal funding to state and local governments.

Census data is used to reapportion representative districts such as the U.S. House of Representatives and determine the distribution of the Electoral College.  Census data is critical in determining locations for new hospitals, improving schools, building new roads, expanding public transportation options and creating new maps for emergency responders.

I received a form much longer than 10 questions.  What is it?

You likely received the American Community Survey, which is separate from the census, although the Census Bureau handles both forms.  The ACS replaced the long-form U.S. Census that was sent to a small percentage of U.S. households every 10 years.  Now, 250,000 households each month receive the ACS and participation is mandated by law.  With the introduction of the ACS the ‘long-form’ census will no longer be used and every U.S. household will receive the same 10 question census by March of 2010.

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