April 16, 2010
Re: Replacement Census Forms
The census bureau will mail a second round of questionnaires out to about 40 million housing units in early April. These questionnaires will give households that have not yet mailed back their form a second chance to fill out their census form and return it by mail, which should increase mail response rates and decrease expensive follow-up costs. The mailing of a second questionnaire is a polite way to remind people that they have not yet returned the original form. Quick responses generally result.
The Census Bureau is dedicated to being a careful steward of the taxpayers’ money. The Census believe this use of money is a wise investment to avoid much larger salary costs of staff to follow up with those who do not fill out the form and mail it back. The savings from those increases in response rates more than pay for these mailings.
The “replacement,” or second, forms will be sent to areas of the country that mailed back their forms at lower rates in Census 2000. In areas with the lowest Census 2000 response rates, The Census will mail a replacement form to every address, whether they returned a form or not. For other areas with Census 2000 response rates lower than the national rate but higher than the lowest rates, The Census will mail a replacement form only to those households from whom they have not yet received a completed form. Areas with higher Census 2000 response rates will not receive a replacement form, regardless of whether housing units have returned a census form. These housing units will still receive a reminder postcard urging them to return their form.
The replacement form will only be in English. Households that received a bilingual English/Spanish questionnaire initially will now receive an English-only form, if they receive a second questionnaire.
Households that have already returned their form should ignore the second mailing. Households should only complete and return one form. They may use either the first or the second form that they have received. The extra form should be discarded in a manner comfortable for the resident. If for some reason two forms are returned for a housing unit, the Census Bureau has a process for unduplicating them.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.