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Ten FAQs of Census 2010

New America Media, News Report, Jun Wang Posted: Aug 04, 2009

On July 29, New America Media convened the fifth of 10 roundtable discussions between officials from the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington and its regional offices and ethnic media reporters in cities across the country. More than 70 media practitioners from San Bernardino to Orange County joined in the conversation held at the California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles.

What follows is a summary of the most frequently asked questions during the session.


Q: How many questions are on the Census 2010 questionnaire, and how long does it take to complete it?

A: There are 10 questions that take 10 minutes to complete.

Q: Why should I fill out the form?

A: The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of all people living in the United States whether citizen or non-citizen, legal or undocumented, homeless or housed-- be conducted every 10 years. The information collected is used to assist government leaders in making major decisions, such as the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data are also used to help distribute more than $435 billion in federal funds back to state and local governments each year.

Q: What will happen to me and my family if I dont fill out the form?

A: Participation in the survey is required by law. If there is not an accurate count of people, a community will not receive the federal resources it is entitled to.

Q: How confidential is the information I give to the Census?

A: Absolutely confidential. All Census Bureau employees take a life-long oath not to disclose the information--even after they leave the Bureau. Otherwise, they will face a $250,000 fine and five years imprisonment.

There has never been a single instance in which Census information was leaked to another agency or outside source.

Q: Whats the timeline of the survey?

A: The Census Bureau will mail out the questionnaires to street addresses (not P.O. boxes) in mid March 2010. All are expected to return their completed survey on April 2010. The Census workers will follow up with visits to every address from which they received no response.

Q: I dont see my race or ethnic origin on the survey. What shall I do?

A: You can use the box for other to report your ethnic or ancestral identity. The Census Bureau is collecting more specific race-related information, but not in the Census 2010.

Q: Elders are often living alone and away from their families. How will they be counted?

A: There will be special outreach programs targeting assisted-living facilities for elders, retirement homes, apartments and private single occupancies, etc. Social services agencies will make the survey materials in larger print to make them easier for elders to read.

Elders adult children and representatives with power of attorney can also fill out the form on their behalf.

Q: Whats the Paid Media Plan?

A: The Paid Media Plan encompasses all media types and is skewed towards those segments of the populations that are considered hard to count. For the first time, the Census will have advertisements in 14 different languages, including English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog/Taglish, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Khmer, Hindi/Hinglish, Arabic, Russian, Polish, and French Creole. Other promotional materials may be developed in additional languages based on population need at the local and regional levels.

Q: What are the qualifications for media to participate in the 2010 Census Paid Media Plan?

A: Media dont need to be certified by the government, but they need to demonstrate their circulation to join the program.

Q: Im a musician. Is there music-based messaging?

A: Yes, music is regarded as a media outlet in different languages.


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