Is the American Community Survey legit? Do I really have to answer the questions? – Muddy River News

Dear MNR,

IIs the American Community Survey legit? Is it really from the United States Census Bureau? Do I really have to answer the questions?

The answers, in order, are yes, yes and yes.

The American Community Survey provides information on an annual basis about the United States and its people. Information from the survey generates data to determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed.

The ACS provides information on jobs and occupations, education level, veterans, whether people own or rent their homes, and other topics.

A passage from the ACS website states: “When you respond to ACS, you are doing your part to help your community plan hospitals and schools, support school lunch programs, improve health services. emergency, to build bridges, to inform businesses looking to create jobs and expand to new markets, and more.

A letter like this might appear at your doorstep, asking you to participate in the American Community Survey. | Photo submitted

If you do not respond to the survey, the Census Bureau will follow up in person

Don O’Brien, regional director of the Better Business Bureau in Quincy, has received many inquiries about the American Community Survey. He says it’s legit. People have a legal obligation to answer survey questions.

“Some people don’t feel comfortable answering the survey. They’re a bit temperamental,” O’Brien said. “Now if you decide to just put that in the circular file and throw it away, the Census Bureau will follow up in person.

“I got a call maybe six weeks ago from someone who had a census taker come to his door, because he wanted to get the information for this survey. If someone shows up at your door saying they are from the Census Bureau, be sure to get credentials and information. If they are legit, they will give you their name and any ID number they might have. You can always follow up with the Census Bureau.

The initial ACS mailing provides instructions for completing the online survey. People who prefer not to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire by mail. A census employee will visit some hard-to-reach addresses, such as remote Alaska, to allow people to complete the form.

If a person does not respond via the Internet or through a paper questionnaire, a field representative may come to the site to conduct an in-person interview.

Call 1-800-354-7271 if you think the American Community Survey has contacted your household and to verify that the survey is legitimate.

Randomly selected addresses to participate in the survey

Unlike the census conducted every 10 years, the American Community Survey continues year-round each year. The Census Bureau randomly selects addresses in each state, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It selects approximately 3.5 million addresses annually.

Each question has a purpose and many statistical uses.

“I got this five or six years ago, and the questions they asked aren’t that intrusive, even though some people think they are,” O’Brien lamented. “They ask how many people you have in your family, what is your household income, things of that nature. Some people don’t like to answer that.

People usually complete the survey online. If someone doesn’t have a computer or prefers to complete a survey on paper, O’Brien recommends contacting the Census Bureau.

O’Brien also knows of cases where scammers have sent emails trying to impersonate the Census Bureau.

“If you get an email, always look up who it’s from,” he said. “If it’s from a random Gmail or Yahoo email account, it’s fake. No one at the Census Bureau will use a Gmail account to contact you and ask for information.

People with further questions about the American Community Survey can contact O’Brien at 217-209-3972 or [email protected]

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