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American Community Survey not a scam

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on March 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
March 23, 2010 5:31 pm

We’re seeing some more confusion over the census. Some folks are puzzling over why they seem to be getting both a short form census and a more extensive list of questions called the American Community Survey. With word out about scammers sending out census-like questionnaires to obtain personal information, folks are wondering if the survey is legitimate, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Here’s the scoop:

• The American Community Survey is a bona fide mailing from the Census Bureau.

• The survey is separate from the once-a-decade census. It is randomly mailed to 250,000 households a month to gather more detailed demographic information, such as housing, commuting, income, ancestry and other items. It replaces the long form that was sent out to some households every 10 years. The idea is to provide more timely information on demographic trends.

• If you happen to get both the census and The American Community Survey, you are required to answer both, says the Census Bureau:

The American Community Survey, which replaced the decennial census long form, has different questions and purposes than the 2010 Census population headcount. Your participation in both is vital and required by law. Data about how our communities are changing are crucial to many planning decisions that affect you—such as neighborhood improvements, emergency preparedness, transportation, senior services and much more.

Here’s more from the Census Bureau.

Take a look at the American Community Survey.

Here’s a press release the Better Business Bureau on put out about the community survey:

SOME RECEIVE MORE THAN JUST THE 2010 CENSUS FORM
Other Legitimate Surveys May Appear in Some Mailboxes

DuPont, Wash. – March 23, 2010 – “Is this legitimate?” A question some consumers are asking when they receive more than just their 2010 Census in the mail.

As consumers around the U.S. are opening their mailboxes to find the 2010 Census in March, Better Business Bureau reminds recipients to be wary of scams and impersonations claiming to be connected with the U.S. Census, but rest assured that the American Community Survey (ACS) is legitimate.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Community Survey is sent to 250,000 households each month at random, and is separate from the 2010 Census. This survey collects information such as income, commute time to work, housing, veteran status and other data. It replaces the long form of the decennially sent census in previous years.

Differences between the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census:

- The American Community Survey is 48 questions, as opposed to the 2010 Census’ ten questions.

- Every household should receive the 2010 Census form, but not every household will receive the American Community Survey.

Similarities between the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census:
- Households who receive these are required by law to respond.

- Recipients are asked to fill these forms out and send them back in the provided postage paid envelopes. With each mailed response, the government saves tax payer money.

- Information collected in both will aid community leaders in deciding where schools, highways, hospitals and other beneficial services are needed.

- Detailed information the Census Bureau receives from both are not shared with anyone else, including other government agencies.

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