American Community Survey questioned by people in East Tennessee

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The U.S. Census Bureau officially started counting the population for the 2020 census at a remote Alaskan village last week.

It won’t be until mid-March until the rest of the country receives the official Census Bureau Mail detailing how to respond to the 2020 Census. However, there is another form sent by the bureau that some people are questioning.

The Standard Population Census, mentioned in the Constitution, takes place once per decade, in years ending in zero, like 2020.

The Census Bureau also runs the American Community Survey, every year, which the bureau describes as a mandatory ongoing statistical report.

Well, some of the questions in that survey are annoying people.

In Knoxville, Larry Conn is not happy with the survey he received from the Census Bureau last month. He started filling out the American Community Survey, then stopped.

“It’s asking all kind of questions that I don’t think are right. They want to know how much I’d sell my house for.”

Larry Conn

“They want to know how many times I was married, my ancestry, cost of my electricity, cost of water. These concern me.”

Larry Conn

Last year, Ron Arthurs received the same survey as Larry and raised similar questions.

“They want to know where I went to school. How many grandkids I got. They’re asking too much on housing. How many bathrooms you have. I do not want to give this information out. It is too much.”

Ron Arthurs

It was 11 years ago when Carol King called WATE 6 On Your Side with some of the same concerns as Ron and Larry. They said the survey felt too intrusive.

King had reservations after printing her name.

“I started filling it out. Then the questions got a little personal. I thought, wait a minute, is this really something that is legitimate?”

Carol King

The Census Bureau tells WATE, it understands that some people do not like the questions, but the bureau would like to have as many questions answered as possible.

The Census Bureau assures those sent the American Community Survey that all of the information collected is confidential and is not shared with any other U.S. government agency.

The bureau has sent Larry Conn several reminders to complete the survey. He still doesn’t like the questions but he says he will send it off.

Some people in East Tennessee may be sent both the American Community Survey and the 2020 Census.

The bureau says if your household was selected for the American Community Survey, you must complete it in addition to the 2020 Census.

The government says the American Community Survey includes questions that will not be asked on the 2020 Census, and the two serve different purposes.

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