10 Questions. 10 Minutes. Millions of Benefits.

  1. What is the Census?
  2. Why Should You Participate?
  3. Why does student participation matter?
  4. Is the Census confidential?
  5. FAQs

What is the Census?

Census 2010

This spring, every person in Douglas County has an opportunity to give millions of dollars to our local communities. 

April 1, 2010 is Census Day.  The census is a count of everyone in the United States – both citizens and non-citizens.  The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years.  The census will tally city, state and national populations that will determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A questionnaire will be mailed to your residence by April 1st. It is only 10 questions and is completely confidential. It is important to our local communities that you count yourself in Lawrence so our local agencies and organizations can continue to provide services our community uses on a daily basis.

Please return your Census questionnaire before April 1, 2010.  By answering the 10 questions, you can make a difference in your local community.  Your support can raise awareness of and encourage participation in this historic event.  With your help, the Census Bureau will continue to produce accurate data, which will directly affect the quality of life in our local community.  This is one clear example of how 10 minutes of your time can produce millions of benefits for your community.

Visit www.2010census.gov for more information.

Why Should You Participate?

It is estimated that over a ten-year period, $5,300 is lost in federal funding, per person, if an individual does not participate in the Census. What’s this money used for?

Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data. In Douglas County, that equates to over $180 million in grants that support our local community. Census data is used to determine locations for retail stores, schools, hospitals, childcare centers, senior service centers, new housing developments and other community facilities. Census data provides funding for highways, local transit, school lunch programs, grants for home rehabilitation and education programs that keep our schools drug free. Please do your part to make sure Lawrence is completely counted!

For 2008, a few examples of funding received for programs in Douglas County include:

  • $26.6 million in medical help for low-income seniors, children, and people with disabilities
  • $3.6 million for highway infrastructure
  • $1.1 million for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program for low-income families
  • $5 million in funding for local families using food stamps
  • $1.7 million for the National School Lunch program to provide healthy meals to Douglas County kids
  • $626,133 in grant funding to rehabilitate homes in Douglas County or invest in energy saving solutions for local families
  • $798,320 in funding for community development programs and support to local non-profit agencies
  • $858,496 funding for the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program
  • $87,730 in funding to provide emergency shelter loans or grants for persons needing assistance with utilities and rent
  • $1.9 million in funding for local small business loans

Why does student participation matter?

Since we are a university community, it is important that students know they must complete both a State and Federal Census.  On the Federal Census, students should denote where they live a majority of the year – and many times, they reside in Lawrence most of the time! Douglas County provides crucial support to our students and we need their support in helping provide funding to continue these services. For students, filling out the Census questionnaire is a way to keep on giving to your University and community long after you are gone.

Is the Census confidential?

The information you provide to the Census is kept completely confidential.  No person, government agency or business has access to your individual information. From May through June, if you do not mail your Census form back, a Census representative may visit your home to collect information.  Census workers will clearly identify themselves as representatives of the Census and will be able to provide you with their identification.


  • What is the 2010 U.S. Census?
  • The U.S. Census is a count of everyone in the United States, conducted every 10 years.
  • When is the 2010 U.S. Census?
  • The U.S. Census Bureau will mail questionnaires in mid-March 2010. After completing the questionnaire, recipients should mail it back to the U.S. Census Bureau by Census Day – April 1, 2010.
  • How do I know the form I received isn’t counterfeit?
  • Any request for census information from the Census Bureau will be clearly identified as coming from the U.S. Census Bureau and as OFFICIAL BUSINESS of the United States. Before your household receives a mailed form, a phone call, or a visit from the Census Bureau you will be given a few days notice by a letter from the Census Bureau Director.
  • How is Census data used and why do we have a Census?
  • The U.S. Constitution requires it. The Census determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. Congress. Census numbers are also used to help determine the allocation of federal funds for community services, such as school lunch programs and senior citizen centers, and new construction, such as highways and hospitals.
  • Who should fill out the Census form?
  • The individual in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented should complete the Census form on behalf of every person living in the residence, including relatives and non–relatives. The form is a simple one-page, 10-question form that will take less than 10 minutes to complete. It asks for information about the number of people living in your household, and their age, race, and gender.
  • What questions does the 2010 Census ask?
  • The Census asks four general questions about the household, such as whether you own or rent your home, and six questions about each individual in the household, including name, sex, age, date of birth and race. To view the Census form, click here.

  • How long will it take to fill out the Census form?
  • Approximately 10 minutes, depending on the number of individuals in the household.
  • Can I fill out the Census form online?
  • No, not this time. The Census Bureau is experimenting with internet response options for the future.
  • Is there another way to get the form other than the mail?
  • Be Counted forms are census forms that are available at various community locations for use by people who either did not receive a form in the mail or whose information was not collected on any other form. Be Counted forms are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. These forms can be picked up in various community locations and mailed back in the attached postage-paid envelope.
  • How do I get a form in a different language?
  • The forms are available in six languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. English/Spanish bi-lingual forms will be mailed to areas with large numbers of Spanish-only households. You will be able to request a form in one of the five non-English languages via toll-free numbers that will be available closer to Census Day. However, Language Assistance Guides are available in 59 different languages to help people fill out the English version of the census form. You may also access large print and Braille guides and a language reference dictionary.
  • Is the information I put on the Census form confidential?
  • Yes. Information given on the Census form is 100% confidential. By law, census information is not shared with any other government agency. Census workers take an oath to protect the privacy of respondents and face jail time and/or heavy fines if they violate that oath.
  • Do I have to take part in the 2010 Census?
  • Yes, participation in the 2010 Census is vital and required by law.

  • What if I provide false information?
  • According to Title 13, Chapter 7, Subtitle 2, anyone who willfully gives an answer that is false could be fined up to $500.
  • What if I don’t fill in the form and return it?
  • Many residents who do not complete and return a 2010 Census form will receive a replacement form. If no form is mailed back, residents can expect a personal visit from a census taker some time after March 2010. The census taker will ask you the questions on the form, record your answers and then submit the form for your household. Learn more about the Census Taker.
  • What if I lost, misplaced, or did not receive a form?
  • If you lost, misplaced, or did not receive a form, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at 1-866-872-6868. (If you prefer a Spanish-speaking operator, then dial 1-866-928-2010.) The lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (your local time) seven days a week from February 25, 2010 through July 30, 2010. For the hearing-impaired, TDD 1-866-783-2010 (during the times noted above).
  • If I live out of town over the winter (if I am a snowbird) where should I fill out my Census information?
  • You should wait until you return to Kansas! If you send in the census form you receive at your winter address the bar code on the form will place you as a resident in that state and not in Kansas. So please wait until you return to Kansas and be counted in the state in which you spend the majority of your year.
  • What if I don’t have a permanent address?
  • You should be counted where you live and sleep most of the time. These residence rules serve as the guiding principle for the census, whether you are living with relatives because of a natural disaster or foreclosure, or are a college student living away from home, or a soldier living on a military base.
  • How does the Census Bureau count people without a permanent residence?
  • Census Bureau workers undertake extensive operations to take in-person counts of people living in group quarters, such as college dormitories, military barracks, nursing homes, and shelters, as well as those who have been displaced by natural disasters.
  • What if I don’t have a home?
  • At the Census Bureau we understand that these can be challenging times for many people. Because of this, we created the Service Based Enumeration (SBE) operation. The SBE is designed to provide an opportunity for people experiencing some form of displacement or lack of permanent address to be included in the census, by counting them at service-based locations, such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. The Be Counted form is another way people can take part in the census. Be Counted forms are census forms that are available at various community locations for use by people who either did not receive a census form in the mail or who believe they were not otherwise included on any other census form.
  • What if I make a mistake on the form?
  • If you checked the wrong box, just draw a line through it and mark the correct box for the question. If the error is in a write-in box, carefully draw a line through the incorrect entry and write the correct information as close as possible to the entry.
  • How can I get help with completing the form?
  • Language assistance guides are available in 59 languages. Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) will also assist those unable to read or understand the form. A Teletext Device for the Deaf (TDD) program will help persons with hearing disabilities.
  • How does the 2010 Census differ from prior ones?
  • In 2010, every residence will receive a short questionnaire of just 10 questions. More detailed socioeconomic information previously collected through the decennial census will be asked of a small percentage of the population through the annual American Community Survey. To learn more about the American Community Survey, visit census.gov.
  • What is a Census Taker?
  • By being counted you are standing up for what your community’s needs are. That’s why census takers are so important. A census taker is a person from your community who is hired by the Census Bureau to make sure that your neighborhood gets represented as accurately as possible. The census taker’s primary responsibility is to collect census information from residences that have not sent back their 2010 Census form.
    The Census Bureau provides the census taker with a binder containing all of the addresses that didn’t send back a filled out census form. The census taker then visits all of those addresses and records the answers to the questions on the form. If no one answers at a particular residence, a census taker will visit that home up to three times, each time leaving a door hanger featuring a phone number; residents can call the number on the hanger to schedule the visit. The census taker will ONLY ask the questions that appear on the census form.
    Your privacy and confidentiality is our priority. The census taker who collects your information is sworn for life to protect your data under Federal Law Title 13. Those who violate the oath face criminal penalties: Under federal law, the penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.
  • Do I have to talk to the Census Taker?
  • Yes. Your participation in the 2010 Census is vital and required by law, (Section 221, of Title 13 of the U.S, Code). However, rather than rely on criminal charges, the Census Bureau is very successful in getting participation by explaining the importance of the questions we ask and how the information benefits our communities.
    Your privacy and confidentiality is our priority. The census taker who collects your information is sworn for life to protect your data under Federal Law Title 13. Those who violate the oath face criminal penalties: Under federal law, the penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.
  • Why does the Census want our names?
  • The Census requests names to help ensure people are not counted twice and to allow you, and only you, the right to obtain a record from the Census Bureau at a later time for proving age or citizenship.
  • Why does the Census Bureau ask about race and Hispanic origin?
  • The Census Bureau collects race data in accordance with guidelines provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Information on race is required for many federal programs and is used to assess health and environmental risks associated with specific race and ethnic groups.
  • Does the Census Bureau share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, courts or police?
  • No. It is against the law for the Census Bureau to give personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after it is collected for the decennial Census.
  • Who decides what questions will be asked?
  • The United States Congress approves the form and all procedures for the Census.
  • I filled out and returned the form but a census taker visited by home anyway.
  • Quality checks are used to assure our procedures are working and that our staff is doing the job they were assigned to do. These checks require that some households be visited more than once. Additionally, if you returned your form late, your response might not be logged before a census taker is sent out.
  • Why does the census taker visit my home more than once?
  • Census takers visit local homes up to three times to record resident information for 2010 Census. The census taker leaves a door hanger, featuring a phone number, each time, if the residents they’re trying to reach aren’t home. Residents can then call the number to schedule the visit. In addition, quality checks to ensure that census procedures are working and census staff is doing their job will require that some households be visited more than once.