The Nuts and Bolts of the 2010 Census

By Laura Waldon, LGBT Partnership Specialist, U.S. Census
The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United
States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10
years. Data from the 2010 Census help allocate more than $400
billion in federal funds each year to communities for things like
hospitals, schools, public transportation, job training centers,
elder services, emergency services, and public works projects. The
data collected by the census also help determine the number of
seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.In
addition, educators, advocates, and community leaders rely on LGBT
census statistics to support important causes and advocate for
goals like marriage equality and funding for LGBT seniors,
children, and families. Statistics on the LGBT community are also
used to establish visibility, showing the geographic distribution
and demographic makeup of same-sex-headed households.The 2010
Census paints a portrait of who we are as a nation-but only if we
participate will this portrait be accurate.

When and Where The Census
Bureau will deliver questionnaires to every residential address in
March 2010, with delivery scheduled for March 15-17. Most
households will receive their questionnaire in the mail, but some
will have their census form delivered by hand or have a census
taker visit to conduct an interview. The questionnaire contains
only 10 questions.People should fill out their census
questionnaires and return them right away in the self-addressed,
stamped envelope provided. For every one percent increase in mail
response in 2010, the census will save $85 million in taxpayer
money that would otherwise have to be spent on door-to-door
follow-up with households that didn’t respond.Each household will
receive one form. The responses that people provide should include
everyone living at their address and should reflect their household
as it exists on April 1, 2010. College students living on campus
will receive their own questionnaires, so parents and guardians
should not include their students on their household forms.Everyone
residing in the U.S. must be counted-both citizens and
non-citizens.If you don’t receive a census questionnaire, wait
until April 12 to allow time for it to be delivered to your
address. If you still don’t receive your form by April 12, or if
you lost or misplaced your form, you may contact the 2010 Census
Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868.If you
don’t receive a questionnaire, if you believe you were not included
in the census questionnaire received at your home, or if you were
without conventional housing on April 1, 2010, you can also pick up
a form at a Be Counted site or Questionnaire Assistance
Center.Boxes containing Be Counted questionnaires are located in
public places, such as libraries and community centers, in areas
that have been historically undercounted by the census. Be Counted
boxes offer the questionnaire in six different languages: English,
Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian. People can
simply take a questionnaire from the box, complete it, and return
it via mail in the envelope provided.Questionnaire Assistance
Centers will also have the Be Counted questionnaires in six
languages, and will offer language assistance guides in 60
languages, Braille, and large print. Questionnaire Assistance
Centers will be staffed by census workers who can assist people in
completing their questionnaires. These centers will open on March
19 and close on April 19. Beginning March 18, these locations will
be posted on that don’t return their
questionnaires by April 19 may be visited by a census taker, who
will ask the questions contained in the form. Census takers will
conduct these face-to-face interviews at households beginning in
May and ending in July.Your Responses are
When you fill
out and mail back your 2010 Census form, your responses are safe
and confidential.Every Census Bureau employee must pass a
background check before being hired and must swear under oath to
protect the confidentiality of census responses. This is an oath
for life. Any employee who reveals any personal census information
is subject to severe penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000,
imprisonment of up to five years, or both.By law, no other
government agency, law enforcement agency, national security
agency, court, or anyone else can access your responses – not
anyone for any reason. No law overrides the confidentiality law
that protects personal information collected by the Census Bureau,
or can force the Census Bureau to share census responses.For more
information on the 2010 Census, visit An LGBT
toolkit is also available at