I keep seeing all kinds of stuff about participation in the 2010 census. Somewhere I read that you are mandated by law to participate in the census. Then elsewhere I read that you only have to answer the “how many people in your household” physical count portion of the survey. To say the least – the info from the gub-mint is a little sketchy on what you legally have to answer. I don’t want to provide any more information to the cronies than is legally required. Call me weird. Call me paranoid. But I just don’t think the government has any right to delve into my personal business. A physical count of the number of legal citizens in this country is just fine by me. But from what I understand, there are some pretty in-depth questions on the census. I came across a copy of the survey from a link at World Net Daily (which came my way from a post at YeOldFurt’s blog). I’m currently checking out the Census Bureau’s web site, trying to glean any info I can about the laws. But again – “real” answers are pretty vague. Typical government system.
I was finally able to find some info on the legalities at About.com, but the info is from 2000. And we all know how much the world has changed in the past 10 years.
Okay – so I know this doesn’t technically have anything to do with ditching the grid, so to speak. But in a way it does, if you consider mainstream society to be part of “the grid.”
Anyway, here’s what About.com has to say about the legalities. If I find anything more, I’ll post it for anyone interested.
Census Answers Are Required by Law
Yes, you are required by law to respond — honestly — to Census 2000.
Title 13, Section 221 (Census, Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers) of the United States Code reads:
- (a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.
- (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500.
- (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.
(U.S. citizens living outside the United States are not required to respond to the census.)
In other words, you can be fined up to $100 for not answering and up to $500 for lying on the census form.
So far the Census Bureau has offered no indication that it actually intends to charge violators or impose these fines, but if you fail to complete and return a Census 2000 questionnaire, a census-taker will be paying you a visit.
According to the Census Bureau, “Even though Census 2000 will make an unprecedented effort to encourage everyone to mail back a completed questionnaire, some people will not respond, and a census-taker must personally contact these households.”
Personal follow-up visits are currently scheduled to be conducted between April 27 and July 7, 2000 and you can be fined up to $500 for failing to let census-takers in or refusing to answer their questions. (Title 13, Section 223, USC)
The Census Bureau stresses the importance of responding to Census 2000 in the following statement:
“Participating in the census is in the individuals’ own self interest. People who answer the census help their communities obtain federal and state funding and valuable information for planning schools, hospitals, roads, and more. For example, census information helps decision makers understand which neighborhoods need new schools and which ones need greater services for the elderly. But they will not be able to tell what your neighborhood needs if you do not fill out your census form.”
About the Privacy of Census Responses
Under federal law, all employees and officials of the Census Bureau are prohibited from sharing a person’s personal information with anyone else, including welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, police and the military. Violation of this law carries penalties of $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. Millions of questionnaires were processed in the 1990 census without a single reported breach of trust.