Everyone in the US should have just gone through this experience, but I’m blogging about it since I may find it fun to read later, and you may find it interesting if you’re not in the United States.

2010 Census bag

On March 8, 2010, I found a plastic bag hanging on my door. It contained a census form. I knew it was coming, because about a week before it arrived, I received a letter from the US Census Bureau informing me that I would soon be receiving one. It’s a good thing they spent money on sending me that warning letter, because if the form had arrived unexpectedly, I would have no idea what to do with it, even if it came with a letter explaining how important it was, just like the warning letter had done.

Inside of the bag was an envelope:


The envelope contained a letter explaining a little bit about the census. It asked me to mail back the form that day, so even though I saw the census when I came back to my apartment after work, I got it in the mailbox before midnight.


The back of the letter revealed an interesting note about confidentiality. I didn’t know that the replies were kept confidential for 72 years and then made public.

Ah, yes, the old “use the destination address as the return address to avoid postage fees” trick 🙂

return envelope

It was comforting knowing that if I ran into trouble, help was only a phone call away:

help instructions

I didn’t need any help, though, as the form was very short, and only took me a couple of minutes to fill out. Here are some pictures of it:

number of people in household

Full first page | Full second page

These are the ways Person 2 could be related to Person 1:


And here were some of the options for race:

race choices

Pretty painless, huh? All that was left was to seal the form inside of the postage-paid envelope and drop it in the mail. And the U.S. Census Bureau even had a well-placed thank-you note on the flap of the envelope:

Thank you for participating in the 2010 Census.

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