FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Why should I fill out the Census?
    A. The 2010 Census helps ensure that your academic community receives its fair share of political representation and government funding. Census data directly affect how billions of dollars per year in federal funding are allocated to local, state, and tribal governments. Data about how are communities are changing are crucial to many planning decisions -- in education, transportation, public safety, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, neighborhood improvements, public health, and much more. Census data also inform important research done by college faculty, students, librarians, and community leaders. Your participation is vital to ensure a complete and accurate count for your community in 2010.

  • Q. What kinds of questions will the Census ask me?
    A. The 2010 Census will have one of the shortest Census questionnaires in the history of the United States, dating back to the nation's first Census in 1790. It asks only a few simple questions about each of the people living in your household, including name, age, date of birth, sex, race, Hispanic origin, relationship to others in the household, whether you sometimes live or stay somewhere else, and four questions about the household in general. The Census form will take only about 10 minutes to complete.

  • Q. Can my parents just include me on their Census questionnaire?
    A. If you're not living with your parents during the school year, then NO, they should not include you on their Census questionnaire. The Census Bureau conducts counts of people where they live and sleep most of the year. Parents should leave students off their forms, even if they will return to live at home after they leave college. Otherwise, they may be counted twice.

  • Q. Can I complete the Census online?
    For the 2010 Census, questionnaires are not available online. In September 2008, a Census Bureau Internet data collection team completed a thorough analysis of implementing an Internet reporting option. From a technical perspective, they found using the Internet was feasible; however, without time to fully test the entire system, security concerns led the Census Bureau to decide not to offer the 2010 Census questionnaire online. However, the Census Bureau plans to introduce an Internet data collection option in the 2020 Census.

  • Q. Will the Census share my information with anyone?
    A. NO. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual's Census questionnaire responses with anyone, including the FBI, the CIA, Welfare, Immigration, other government agencies, or law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees have taken an oath to protect confidentiality and know that they are subject to a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both, for disclosing any information that could identify a respondent or household.

  • Q. How should I be counted if I am...

    • Living on Campus?
      You should be counted where you live on campus. Residence Halls and Empire Commons are considered Group Quarters, and will be counted during Group Quarters Enumeration the week of April 12th. During this time, Residential Assistants will deliver individual questionnaires to on campus students to complete and return.

    • Living off-campus?
      Students who live off-campus in residential housing, such as those who rent apartments or rooms in local residents' homes, will complete the Census questionnaire, which will be delivered or mailed to your home in March 2010. You should complete the questionnaire and mail it back in the enclosed, postage-paid envelope as soon as possible. Census workers will visit households that do not return questionnaires.

    • Not a U.S. Citizen?
      The Census is a count of everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens. So even if you are not a U.S. citizen but you live and sleep in the U.S. most of the year, you will be counted in the Census.

    • An international student?
      As the above point explains, the Census is a count of everyone residing in the United States. The Census Bureau is mandated by the Constitution to count everyone who lives in the country, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. So, even if the U.S. is not your country of citizenship, if you live and sleep in the U.S. most of the year, you will be counted in the Census.

    • Studying abroad for part of the year?
      Census Day is April 1, 2010. Questionnaire responses should represent your household as it exists on this day. Thus, if you are living and studying abroad during part of the year but are living in the U.S. on April 1, 2010, you will be counted in the Census.


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