2010 Census Poses More Questions Than Are Answered, for Military Families

Since 1790 when the US census was first performed, it has been used as a tool to provide support and power to the American people. It is taken every 10 years and has a history of being tedious and long. The 2010 census, however, is the shortest census the US has ever issued, culminating in a total of 10 questions. Unfortunately, for military families, the conciseness of the census doesn’t make answering the questions any easier. 

Military families often have to account for spouses that are serving overseas, but the US census doesn’t offer specifications for these situations. For example, the first question on the census requires citizens to indicate, “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?” 

Spouses serving overseas should not be counted on the US census because they will be part of an overseas enumeration. But, if a spouse is living on a military vessel and has a US homeport, that spouse must be accounted for on the census. Likewise, if their homeport is not located within the US, they should not be counted on the census as a member of the household. These stipulations can be confusing for citizens. 

Military families located overseas will not receive the 2010 census form. Instead, an organization called the Defense Manpower Data Center is in charge of providing the Census Bureau with accurate census records based on the home of record for service members and their families residing overseas. 

The Census Bureau requires families to return their forms within the specified time period. If families do not return the forms by the due date, they will be subject to a series of mailed reminders and home visits. 

Each census worker is required to carry a Census Bureau identification card. If a census worker does proceed with a home visit, the individuals in the home can request to see that identification.

Fortunately, military and non-military families can feel secure lending this information out because the Census Bureau is, by law, unable to disperse any information provided for the census to other agencies. 

If you would like further information on the 2010 census, you can find frequently asked questions, testimonials and more at www.census.gov.

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