Replacement Census questionnaire mailed out
Edited by Chris Graham
Beginning today through April 10, many Virginia households will receive a replacement 2010 Census questionnaire designed to increase census mail participation, get a better count for the state, and save taxpayers the higher cost of sending out census takers to collect information.
“From our research, we estimate that mailing out a replacement questionnaire in targeted areas might save more than $500 million by raising the participation rate by 7 to 10 percentage points,” said William W. Hatcher, regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau. “The replacement form gives households a second chance to fill out the form and return it by mail before we begin going door-to-door May 1 to collect census information.”
Hatcher added that people who have completed and returned their questionnaires need not fill out the replacement census form. People who still have the original questionnaire should fill it out and mail it back immediately in the provided, postage-paid envelope.
People who discarded or misplaced the original questionnaire should fill out the replacement. You should only complete and return one census form. Extra census forms should be discarded.
The 10-question census questionnaires were mailed to 3.32 million Virginia households in mid-March. As of April 1, 57 percent of the received questionnaires had been returned. About 40 million replacement questionnaires are being sent nationwide to households in areas with low mail return rates in Census 2000, even if they have returned the original 2010 questionnaire.
“The replacement questionnaire is a safety net and a wise investment,” Hatcher said. “It reminds people who have not mailed back their questionnaires to send it in now. It doesn’t matter if they return the original form or the replacement form. Both are bar-coded to ensure that people are counted only once and in the right place.”
April 1 is Census Day, the reference day for the population count and a day marked by events to remind people to return their census questionnaires. Every person living in a household should be listed on the census form, including relatives and nonrelatives, as of April 1. People should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.
Federal law requires census participation and protects personal information. Title 13 of the U.S. Code prohibits sharing personal data with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. Census employees are sworn to secrecy for life and face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or five years imprisonment for violating the oath.
For help in completing the census form, call the toll-free Telephone Questionnaire Help Line at 1-866-872-6868. Spanish speakers can call 1-866-928-2010. Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QACs) also are open across the state to assist people in filling out their census forms. Language Assistance Guides are available in 59 languages. QAC locations can be found at www.2010census.gov.