Today, Monday, April 12, the Census Bureau’s toll-free line will be open to requests for questionnaires. Callers may dial 866-872-6868 (in Spanish, 866-928-2010), where operators will take requests from households that have yet to receive or lost 2010 Census forms. Households that don’t mail their questionnaires to the Census Bureau by April 16 can expect a knock on the door from Census workers who are collecting information in person. Door-to-door visits begin in May.
“If you don’t want a census worker knocking on your door, complete your census form and mail it back before mid April,” said Dallas Regional Census Center Director Gabriel Sanchez. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Mailing back completed census forms is the least costly way for the Census Bureau to count individuals living in the United States. It costs the federal government an average of $57 per household to send census takers to each address, versus the 42-cent cost to mail back a questionnaire.
Individuals from households that haven’t received census questionnaires may also visit “Be Counted” sites in their neighborhoods, which can be located via the Census Bureau’s web site: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/bcqac-textview.php. Hours and days of operation vary by site, but the information, along with addresses of both the closest assistance centers and “Be Counted” sites to you, can be found on the interactive map on the 2010 Census Web site.
Individuals who visit a “Be Counted” site may complete a “Be Counted” form, which asks for similar
information as the 2010 Census questionnaire. Regardless, those households that don’t submit a 2010 Census questionnaire will still be visited by census takers. All Be Counted forms received by the Census Bureau will be cross-checked against all other forms received to ensure households aren't counted twice. There are 10,000 stand-alone (unstaffed) “Be Counted” sites where these special forms can be picked up (in addition to the questionnaire assistance centers). Callers who dial the 866 numbers can also submit their census information to the call center, but callers will likely still be visited by census workers in May during their door-to-door enumeration.
One of the main avenues for assistance and information about the form is the 2010 Census Web site, www.2010census.gov. It contains a plethora of information about the 10-question census, including the uses and history of the questions. It also includes form-filling instructions in 59 languages other than English, as well as in-language instructional videos and updates on the latest census news.
The Census Bureau has opened 30,000 questionnaire assistance centers throughout the country to help people navigate the form and answer such questions as: “Do I include my son who's away at college?” (no) and “What box should I check as my race?” (there's no right or wrong answer; it's however individuals choose to identify themselves). People who need help understanding the questionnaire in languages other than English are also able to get in-language guidance on how to fill out the form.
The Be Counted forms for people who have misplaced their form or never received one are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. Both the questionnaire assistance centers and the “Be Counted” sites are operational until April 19 and can be found in public areas such as libraries and community centers donated by businesses and organizations.
People may call the questionnaire assistance hotlines for more help— English: 1-866-872-6868, Spanish: 1-866-928-2010, Chinese: 1-866-935-2010, Korean: 1-866-955-2010, Russian: 1-866-965-2010, Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010, TDD (hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010.
A new page on the 2010 Census Web site can answer many of the questions people have about how and where people should be counted (http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/where-counted.php).
The Census Bureau estimates that if every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of the census by $1.5 billion.