What Happened to the Census Long Form?

I recall in past censuses (censi? :slight_smile: ), there was talk of a long form that polls how many TVs, bathtubs, etc. are in your house. Have the Feds turned kinder and gentler about what they ask? …Or, are they spying on us so well, there’s no more need to ask! :wink:

So, what happened to the long form? I don’t hear any mention of it at all. …And, by the way, those ads claiming “just 10 questions” is a lie. Perhaps that’s all I should answer to keep them honest?

Oh, I should ask: They say answering the census form is required by law, but where do they cite the law? Usually, the section of USC is cited. So, where is my participation required? (As opposed to a law giving them the right to use our tax dollars to ask…and send a bunch of useless reminders before AND after the forms went out…without giving people ample time to respond. Next time, I suggest stun guns…it’d be cheaper than postal rates! :smiley: )

I heard an interview on NPR that they’ve mostly done away with the long form for this year, but a small segment of the population is going to receive something similar, along with the regular census. If you’re unfortunate to get them both, you’re obligated by law to fill them both out.

They “waste” money sending out additional notices and reminders because they’ve found that sending out those reminders increases the response rate by something like 10%. Every additional 1% response rate saves the US government some ridiculous amount of money (10’s of millions of dollars) because they don’t have to send out followup workers to come knock on your door.

We were one of the lucky ones who got both. It was a bit inconvenient. It confused me at first; I hadn’t heard of the other form and wanted to make sure it wasn’t some form of mail fraud.

The long decennial Census form was replaced by the American Community Survey, sent to about 250,000 different households each month (rather than just once in ten years).

The long form census has given way to the American Community Survey. Unlike the Census, it isn’t universal. However, it’s taken more frequently.

As for the law the OP is asking about, surely everyone who’s taken a basic civics course is aware that Article 1., Section 2 of the Constitution calls for an “Enumeration” every ten years. And 13 USC 221 pretty clearly spells out that “Whoever, being over eighteen years of age” participates.

[Editorial comment] Really, the guvamint can’t get much closer to the “original intent” of the Constitution than a Census.[/Editorial Comment]

Don’t know if this is close enough to the Op’s call, but is there any rational reason the census forms can’t be completed online? (it can’t)

Unless you are not free, or an untaxed Indian.


You still have to count them. It was just for the purpose of the House that they didn’t count. It doesn’t mean they didn’t count for anything. It is just in some things they didn’t count :slight_smile:

Just as long as they’re not counting coup.

Well, even if you weren’t free, you were still worth three-fifths.:slight_smile:

But you’d get one hell of a whippin’ if they caught you reading the form.

There are actually three reasons.

First, if people are allowed to complete the census form online, there is no way to tell if they also filled out their census on paper, and it would mean a great deal of work for the lovely folks who are in charge of gathering the data to make sure there are no duplicates.

Second, the Internet is by no means universal. It’s true that most libraries have access, but who wants to trust a public computer and public network with their private information? Even though the Census doesn’t ask for as much personal information as the IRS or other federal agencies do, I wouldn’t do it online unless I knew I could trust the computer and network.

Which brings us to the third reason, and that is that the security just isn’t there. Much of the success of the Census depends on trust, and if the data can be stolen or intercepted somehow, people just won’t trust the Census.

Perhaps we’ll see an online Census in 2020. But it’s not happening anytime soon.

Yes, I know it is in the US Constitution which only gives creedence to the Census, but still there has to be a USC that lays out the letter of the law and the consequences for not following through. Ergo, thanks for the USC link!

I don’t agree that the Census needs birthdate info, and such…especially from minors in my household. I can understand the Gov counting the population, but it should be done with dignity and respect for the very people it was formed to protect!