Though more than 70 percent of households mailed back their census form, the census is far from over.
On May 1, the Census Bureau launched the next phase of the national head count, called Non-Response Follow Up, during which census takers visit the roughly 30 percent of households that did not mail back their forms.
Census takers will be visiting addresses of people who did not return their form, returned an incomplete form, or who did not receive forms in the mail. Residents will be asked the same 10 questions that were on the original form, plus a few extra in order to make sure the census taker is at the correct house.
The Census Bureau will hire approximately 700,000 temporary workers to conduct the door-to-door count. People may understandably be worried about opening their door to strangers and answering personal questions. In order to ensure the privacy and safety of the public, census takers are given FBI background checks and are bound by law not to release the information they collect.
“Our message … today is the same as it has been for previous operations. Participating in the census is easy, important and safe,” Census Director Robert Groves said.
Census takers will be easily identifiable. They will:
- Carry an ID badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and a black census shoulder bag.
- Have a black three-ringed binder containing census forms, maps, etc.
- Be able to provide contact information for their supervisor and their local Census office.
- NOT ask to come inside a home, or ask for money, bank account, credit, or Social Security numbers.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund has partnered with four national civil rights organizations to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations in 13 key areas around the country. The Education Fund’s campaign is currently doing follow-up work in a few cities around the country.