Don’t Forget to Mail In Your Census

I just filled mine out and dropped it in the mailbox, but don’t forget to fill yours out and send it in. Every one who fills out their census helps save the government big piles of cash:

“All of those of you who’ve kind of put it aside, put it on your desk or on your table, pick that little form up. It’ll just take you a few minutes,” said Robert Groves, U.S. Census Bureau director.

Mailing your forms back can even save money. That’s because for every percent increase in the mail-back response rate, the Census Bureau saves 85 million because they won’t have to send counters door to door in May.

And in this economy, that is music to almost everyone’s ears.

Not to mention, with all the irresponsible people on the right whipping people into a froth, it might not be safe for those poor schmucks who have to go door to door. So take two minutes, fill it out, and mail it in.

35 replies
  1. 1

    Yea, I finally got mine spread out on the kitchen table, I plan to fill it out tomorrow. This is The Land of Manana, so procrastination is a virtue that must by followed.

  2. 2
    jayackroyd says:


    I though we were still in the situation that supports paying a bunch of people to dig holes, and a bunch of other people to fill them up.

    There are many, many more wasteful expenditures than employing people in the bottom quintile who would be otherwise unemployed.

    But yes, send them in. I did!

    No, that doesn’t really make sense, but there is a win-win quality to this in the current job market.

  3. 3
    Mark says:

    We had a census stalker at my place. He came by 20-30 times and was always calling. And that was just part of the random sampling they do every two years.

    So I actually decided to not answer the census this year and let them come and get me. They were willing before, they should be willing again.

  4. 4
    furioso ateo says:

    This is a bummer. I can’t fill out a census from out here, and now I have to wait ten whole years for my next chance! I was looking forward to it too.

    Yeah, I’m kind of a dork.

  5. 5
    LuciaMia says:

    Sent mine in a couple weeks ago. Only questions were what kind of domicile and how many folks living there, and their relationship?
    Oh, and whether you’re Hispanic or not.
    Such a disappointment. Nothing about who’s your favorite Beatle or Coke vs. Pepsi.
    I would have loved putting down how many times I flush my toilet per diem, as Eric Erickson insisted they’d query me.

  6. 6
    henqiguai says:

    Point of information —
    I didn’t get a form, so I called a local office to find out why. After some genial conversation it turns out Census forms are not delivered to Post Office Boxes. Oh my. Local postmaster’s option, here in semi-rural New England, is to not deliver to homes within a mile of the post office (supposedly a cost savings). The Census office guy was shocked, surprised, and amused at those country folk. Took detailed information and wanted permission to call back if they needed more.

  7. 7
    RSA says:

    Census sent in last week, tax forms sent in today–I think I’m about done for the year.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    I’m annoyed by the Census this year. Got a form a few weeks ago. Filled it out, dropped it in the mail earlier this week.

    Go down to get the mail today. What do I find, but another census form. But this one is a little different from the last one.

    The previous Census form was not folded and the envelope was a full 8.5 x 11 size. It had greenish color. The Census form that arrived today is blueish and is folded in half from top to bottom.

    I couldn’t figure out what was going on – why did I get two of them? Did some searching around online about “two census forms”, and found that illegal census forms are being mailed out. Sigh. Did I fill out the wrong one? It didn’t have any unusual questions, like asking for bank info or SSN or whatever. It seemed legit. I didn’t bother making a copy – why would I?

    Phoned the Census people and the one-enchilada-short-of-a-combo-plate phone representative asked me various questions, none of which were very helpful. Finally we decided that the previous one was a bilingual form and this one is the regular one. So I don’t have to fill this one out.

    Why did they send two different forms? I have no idea. He couldn’t tell me. I suppose I should have remembered the bilingual part, but it’s so common I barely pay attention to it.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    Did both the census and the tax forms last week. Wouldn’t it be nice if the former was annual and the latter decennial?

    Though on second thought, the number of pieces of paper that one would have to keep track of over the course of a decade in that scenario would defy belief.


  10. 10
    phantomist says:

    I know what you mean, but…

    schmuck-n. Slang
    A clumsy or stupid person; an oaf.

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    Did it last week. It’s so simple and they pay postage.

    Naturally, idiots are going to get upset.

  12. 12
    JenJen says:

    I am a good American who returned my Census Form but still groused a bit about providing my name and what-not. I looked at the thing and thought “This is going to take forever to fill out!” and then quickly realized, yeah, not so much.

    But dammit, I’m patriotic and I mailed that shit back. And don’t expect to be put in a FEMA Camp because of it; I must be nuts, right?

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    Did mine a couple of weeks ago. Took me less than 2 minutes. Maybe even less than a minute. O do not understand the hysteria over it and you would think those who claim eternal and undying love of the Constitution to the point of inducing nausea would happily comply with a survey explicitly required in the Constitution.

  14. 14
    Tazistan Jen says:

    It was so short and easy I kept turning it over looking for the rest of the questions.

  15. 15
    Zulif tyrese says:

    I’m deliberately not filling mine out. The reason is because tomorrow I’m moving from this very conservative county, to a much more liberal county. I want these idiots getting as little representation as possible.

  16. 16
    JasonF says:

    Did mine on Thursday and pout it in the mail yesterday.

    On a message board I frequent, I’m having a debate with a some folks who are insisting that the fact that they got two copies of the form and a postcard letting them know the form is on its way proves that the government is wasting money and can’t do anything right. I keep trying to explain that getting three or four pieces of mail relating to the census increases the chance that people will fill the form out, thereby reducing the amount of money to be spent on door-to-door canvassing, thereby saving the taxpayers money. I analogize to advertising, and the fact that I get a flier in the mail once a week from Verizon offering me the opportunity to get a new phone and sign a new 2-year agreement, or the fact that everyone in the world has heard of Coke but Coke still pays for advertising because that repetition creates results. The response is “Yeah, but Coke and Verizon aren’t spending my money!”


  17. 17
    bemused says:

    I can’t remember where I heard or read this but those very, very conservative voting areas have the lowest numbers sending in census forms. You’d think the R’s would have been more concerned about urging their base to send theirs in other than a few quietly telling Michele Bachmann to shut up.

  18. 18
    donnah says:

    There are five of us currently in our household, but next week one of my sons moves into his own apartment, the middle son joins Americorps in May, and the youngest son was accepted at college. So the accuracy is only temporary.

  19. 19

    To furioso ateo:

    If I had thought about it, I could have added you to my census form.

    Relationship = imaginary son. There is a space for that, right?

  20. 20
    RSA says:

    I do not understand the hysteria over it and you would think those who claim eternal and undying love of the Constitution to the point of inducing nausea would happily comply with a survey explicitly required in the Constitution.

    Well, the questions about how many times I flush my toilet made me want to go get my wife’s shotgun…

  21. 21
    ellaesther says:

    It took less than 10 minutes last night to fill out (really, when I was done, I turned it over a couple of times and went “that’s it?”) and when I put in the mailbox this morning, I felt patriotic.

    And then I felt annoyed, because just filling in the damn census form shouldn’t feel like Taking A Stand. But the right wing of this country has turned every.damn.thing. into a patriotism test.

    So, yes: Do your patriotic, Constitutionally mandated duty, and mail in your census form!

  22. 22
    ellaesther says:

    @ Zulif tyrese I think I can actually get behind this….

    Call when you’re settled in and say “Hey, didn’t get my form!” and see if you can be counted in the new place.

  23. 23
    JGabriel says:

    … for every percent increase in the mail-back response rate, the Census Bureau saves 85 million because they won’t have to send counters door to door in May. And in this economy, that is music to almost everyone’s ears.

    Damn, now that I’ve read that, I kind of wish I hadn’t sent mine in.

    I mean, 85 mil? That’s nothing. That’s like a quarter per American, which could be going towards paying people who will put the money back in the economy.

    Okay, for reals, you should send in your census forms. But that’s a lousy argument for it.


  24. 24
    FlyingToaster says:

    I mailed it yesterday, but the bar-code is blurred out because our mailbox was flooded by the first New England Monsoon, and all of that Monday’s mail was soaked. It took a week to dry out HerrDoktor’s copy of Wire.

    Since it was the short form, it took about a minute to fill out — but I’m still not giving them my phone number. However, the chances that they need more information than the 3-appliance Toaster household has already provided is highly unlikely. If not, I’m sure they’ll be walking our neighborhood anyway, for the over-85 crowd who simply forgot :)

  25. 25

    Mailed ours a couple weeks ago, so this week it promptly became inaccurate when the girl and grandbaby moved out. I suppose Unca Sammy will get over it.

  26. 26
    bago says:

    Meh. I live in a real city, workfor a real Corp, and spent almost three whole minutes filling it out, and dropped it off into the office mail alongside a netflix DVD. I chuckled at how the same amount of money was being used to transmit 8 billion bytes of data in one envelope, and a few thousand, tops in the next.

    We’re stupid.

  27. 27
    hamletta says:


    They don’t deliver to PO boxes? Wow! My hometown in the DC suburbs doesn’t have home mail delivery, so I guess they have to send people there.

    The fine citizens of Washington Grove, Maryland are mostly flaming liberal goo-goo types, and half of them work for the federales, anyway, so they’ll get counted.

    But I gotta remind my mom.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    Bizarre true story: as Census proles, we’re cautioned not to open storm doors to knock on inner doors, since in some jurisdictions that’s considered “Breaking & Entering” and you can be prosecuted by local law enforcement!

  29. 29
    Johnny Pez says:

    Mailed ours in a couple weeks ago.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    I hope Cole was honest and put down Tunch as the head of the household.

    Ha ha. Joke. They don’t have that question this year (though they did in the first census, back then when the founding fathers wrote it and wanted to snoop into who was in charge of each home, for when they needed to round up everyone who got uppity)

  31. 31
    SadieSue says:

    henqiguai – at 5:48 pm

    Yeah, we didn’t get one either (small town WMass PO – maybe the gubbmint wants MA to lose reps?! =D). Nerd that I am, I watched & watched the mail for the census form because I adore filling out forms but after everyone I knew got one & we didn’t, I tried to find out what was going on but couldn’t until I heard someone on NPR mention that they weren’t sending them to PO Boxes —- which is mighty odd as we got the last census (long form) at our PO Box. What changed? We’re still in the same place AND all the folks at the PO know us by both sight & by name.

    It is really pissing me off that I’m going to end up costing the country money simply because I get my mail at a PO Box (just like henquiguai, our town doesn’t do delivery to the area right around the PO).

  32. 32
    Persia says:

    I got mine on my door– I have a PO Box. Maybe it’s because they know I can’t have a mailbox?

  33. 33
    RandyH says:

    We filled out the long-drawn-out household expenses, etc survey earlier in the year as we were selected to be a random sample for our zip code or whatever. My dad made a big retired-person’s project out of it. Now the real one’s a breeze. 10 easy questions per household member. 10 minutes tops. It took me a few days to remember to take it to a big streetside post-box, as it was too big an envelope to fit in our local one. They’ve already sent a follow-up letter and another survey book in case we forgot or lost it. Very aggressive survey-takers.

    Here in Nevada, we’ve apparently had poor response rates in the past and suffered losses of hundreds of millions of dollars that we should have gotten. They’re advertising that each person counted on each form is worth $10K to state and local funding from the feds. And thankfully they’re pressing the message that you should count the undocumented persons as well, as this won’t go to any law enforcement agencies. That should be obvious, but some people are paranoid.

  34. 34
    Robert Waldmann says:

    But Mr Cole we are through the looking glass down the rabbit hole and in a liquidity trap.

    What the USA needs right now is a larger federal budget deficit. Best of all one increased by hiring large numbers of people who would otherwise be unemployed, and paying each of them not very much.

    Didn’t you notice the Republican argument about the latest not bad employment report ? They argued that it was mostly the census (using Republican arithmetic in which 48 is most of 162). Hmmm does that suggest that Census employment is a good thing ? Yes.

    I am quite serious. Everything is upside down right now. Forcing the Federal Government to hire more census workers by refraining from mailing in the form is a public service.

    It would be even better if people just sent in the forms and the Federal government temporarily hired people to do something else, but said Federal government just won’t do that, so the argument is relevant only to cloud cookoo land and not to the USA.

    This comment is not a parody or a joke. I am absolutely 100% serious.

  35. 35
    sbjules says:

    I didn’t get my form. I have notified them. I do genealogy as a hobby & love all my ancestors who filled out census forms! In 1930 they asked things like do you own a radio set and how many weeks were you out of work.

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