Frequently Asked Questions

QUICK TIPS

For Same-Sex Couples:

  • If you consider yourselves spouses or married, have Person 2 mark “Husband or wife”.
  • If you are married, have Person 2 mark “Husband or wife” — even if your home state doesn’t recognize your marriage.
  • If you consider yourselves partners, but not spouses or married, have Person 2 mark “Unmarried partner”.

For Transgender People:

  • Check the box (Male or Female) that best reflects your gender.

Why should I care about the census?

The census creates an essential portrait of our nation every 10 years. These data are used to determine the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives and provides key population numbers for Congress and the administration to determine how federal dollars flow to the states and cities for health care, housing, and English as a second language classes. Census information is also used in the enforcement of an array of civil rights laws in employment, housing, voting, lending, education, and the availability of bilingual ballots and interpreters at poll sites. The census has a big impact on our political power and economic security.

Since 1990, when the census added the “unmarried partner” designation on its form, LGBT people in same-sex relationships have provided the first visible record of our partnerships in the history of our nation. These data have been very important in countering anti-gay lies, myths and misperceptions about the diverse LGBT community. For instance, the 2000 Census showed that same-sex couples live in nearly every county in the nation, and that black and Latino same-sex couples are raising children at nearly the rates of their heterosexual peers, while earning lower incomes. The average household income of Asian Pacific Island same-sex couples is more than $3,800 less than that of non-API same-sex couples and more than $8,800 less than that of different-sex API couples.

How do I know that the government won’t use this information to target me or my family for the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws?

The census ensures confidentiality for families understandably sensitive about their immigration status and citizenship. No census data are shared with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or in any way used to target individuals and families for law enforcement purposes. The sole purpose of the census is to conduct an accurate count of all households in the United States.

What is being done to get sexual orientation/gender identity questions on the census or on other important federal survey instruments?

Many organizers of this campaign are also leading an independent coalition of strong advocacy partners to count LGBT people and our families in most major federal data collection efforts.

Survey targets include: the longer, annual Census Bureau form, called the American Community Survey, which is mailed to 2 million homes every year and provides a much more detailed picture of a significant cross-section of the U.S. population; and the National Health Interview Survey, a phone interview that is conducted among nearly 30,000 households annually and provides an essential snapshot of the nation’s health profile and challenges.

It is important to note that while these changes will take congressional action, our advocacy efforts are in place to push for significant advancement in this critical arena. In years to come, information that is routinely available to other communities at risk for discrimination — such as data on health disparities, income, home ownership and our family configurations — will support our struggle to secure legal and economic security for LGBT people.

When did Census 2010 begin?

The Census Bureau will began mailing census forms in March 2010, and the collection period continued for several months.

What if I didn’t receive a Census 2010 form?

If you did not receive a form, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance center at (866) 872-6868. Spanish-speaking operators are available at (866) 928-2010. Hearing-impaired respondents can dial TDD 1-866-783-2010. Lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. your local time everyday from Feb. 25, 2010 through July 30, 2010.

Can lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people work for the Census Bureau?

Conducting the census is a very large undertaking that requires huge numbers of temporary workers all over the country. For more information about working for the census, go to http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs/index.php .