October 13, 2009

Justification for Questions included in the Census and ACS

Submission of Subjects for the 2010 Decennial Census Program
Section 141 (f) of the Census Act requires that not later than 3 years before the next census, the subjects to be included on that census be submitted to Congress. The contents of this notebook [link below] describe the subjects that will be asked on the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey, including proposed new subjects, as well as the subject that will be dropped because it is no longer required by federal agencies.

The Census Act also requires that not later than two years before the Census date, the questions to be included in the next census be submitted to Congress. A document that meets that requirement for the 2010 Decennial Census will be submitted to Congress by March 31, 2008.

In advance of providing the subjects to be included on the next census to Congress, the U.S. Census Bureau asked federal agencies to provide information on their data needs, so that only necessary data are collected, as opposed to data that could be acquired by other means. The Office of Management and Budget facilitates the process to validate current uses of census data, determine unnecessary subjects and questions, and identify new subjects for which questions are required.

Subjects Planned for the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey: Federal Legislative and Program Uses

Question by Question Fact Sheets
Information on the origin of each question, how long the question has been in use, a description of how the federal government uses the data and how those uses translate into community benefits.

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American Community Survey (ACS) Questionnaires

Here are links to the 2009 ACS questionnaire - in the field right now:

English: Questionnaire | Instruction Guide
Spanish: Questionnaire | Instruction Guide

Group Quarters: Questionnaire | Instruction Guide

For links to questionnaires for previous years and/or changes across questionnaires:


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Census 2010 Questionnaires

Here is a link to two versions of the 2010 Census questionnaire:


Bilingual (English/Spanish)

The bilingual questionnaire will be sent to 13.5 million households. For further information:


If a respondent calls the telephone questionnaire assistance phone number located on the back of their English form, they may request a questionnaire in Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, or Russian.

There are Be Counted forms available in these five non-English languages in local libraries and other public locations across the country. Here are links to sample questionnaires in these additional languages:

Chinese (Simplified)

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