Frequently Asked Questions
For the 2010 Decennial Census, MIT is working hard to meet its Federal obligation of counting every person who resides on our campus or in institute-approved housing. Census forms will be distributed in March 2010 and must be completed and returned immediately. Every residence has a census point person who will distribute and collect forms. The form asks for name, address, date of birth, gender, Hispanic origin, and race. It’s quick and easy. Be counted!
Why is the census so important? What is the information used for?
Census data is used to make critical decisions nationally, locally, and on college campuses. On a national level, the information collected helps to determine representation in the House of Representatives and the allocation of Federal funds. On a state level, the data is used to inform decisions regarding redistricting and funding for statewide programs. For colleges and universities, the census data is used to determine funding for tuition grant and loan programs, and services on campus such as transportation and public safety. Also, university research performed by faculty, staff, and students relies heavily on the accurate collection of census information.
Do I need to fill out a form?
Yes. In almost every case, each member of the MIT community needs to complete and submit a census form to be counted at the place he or she lives and sleeps in April of 2010.
I’m a citizen of another country. Do I have to fill out the census form?
Yes. Even if you are a citizen of another country, you must fill out the form if you are living here.
I am a visitor at MIT for the academic year. Do I have to fill out the census form?
Yes. If you live and sleep here as of April 1, 2010, you must fill out the form.
I’m graduating in June and plan to leave MIT. Since this is less than half the year, do I have to fill out a census form?
Yes. The official census date is April 1, 2010. If you live and sleep here as of that date, you must fill out the form.
I’m a legal resident of another state. Do I have to fill out the census form?
Yes. Your legal residency does not dictate where you fill out your census form. If you are living here right now, you must fill out the form.
I’m registered to vote in my hometown. Do I have to fill out the census form?
Yes. Where you are registered to vote has no bearing on where you fill out your census form. If you are living here right now, you must fill out your form here.
Won’t my parents just include me on their census form at home?
No. Your parents are required by law to indicate that you are away at college. In meeting its legal obligation to the census, MIT has provided the US Census with a names and addresses of everyone living in MIT residences and MIT approved housing.
I’m a graduate student with a family living on campus. Do I fill out a form for my whole family?
Yes. Your residence hall census point person will provide you with a “Head of Household” form so you can supply the information requested about your family.
I am a student or have an appointment at MIT (postdoctoral position, visiting faculty member, scholar, scientist, etc…), but I do not live on campus. Do I need to fill out a form?
Yes, but you will receive your form from the Census Bureau in the mail. You should complete it and mail it back. MIT will only be distributing and collecting forms for those who live on campus or in Institute-approved housing.
What does “most of the time” mean for the census?
The Census Bureau provides the guiding principle that people should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time, regardless of the permanence of their residential situation. If you are working or studying at MIT during the Spring term of 2010, you should complete a census form with your spring term address.
I already filled out a census form from my city or town. Do I have to do it again?
The Federal Census is separate from the municipal censuses that cities and towns conduct. You must fill out a Federal census form even if you have already reported some census information to your municipality.
Can I fill out my census form online?
No. The Census Bureau does not yet have an Internet response option.
I am concerned about my privacy. Who will see the information I provide on my census form?
By law, the Census Bureau cannot give personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency, including the IRS and law enforcement agencies, until 72 years after it is collected for the decennial census. More information about confidentiality is available at the 2010 Census website.
If I fill out the form, will I be recruited for jury duty in Massachusetts?
No. Decennial census information is not provided to any governmental organizations including those that recruit jurors.
Will the answers that I provide become public information?
No. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share the answers that respondents provide with anyone, such as law enforcement, courts, or any other organization or governmental agency, including those involved in immigration services. All Census records are sealed for 72 years.
What if I don’t fill out the form?
MIT is legally obligated to provide “Directory Information” to census officials for all individuals living on campus or in Institute-approved housing. This information includes name, address, and date of birth, but not race or gender. Only you can provide information regarding race and gender by filling out your official census form. Federal law stipulates that a $100 Federal fine that can be assessed by the Federal government for not completing the 2010 census form.
I thought that I had protection regarding my personal information and that MIT couldn’t disclose it.
You do have Federal privacy protection regarding your personal information through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, FERPA allows educational institutions to provide “Directory Information” as long as you have not specifically blocked disclosure. Please see 2010 Census: Guidance on the Applicability of FERPA.
I just answered some census questions a few months ago. Why am I doing it again?
You likely participated in the “American Community Survey” which is a monthly survey administered by the Census Bureau that collects information through random samplings of residents throughout the country. Now, you are being asked to participate in the Decennial Census, which is different. Please see Making Sense of the Census for more information about the data being collected through these efforts.
Are the forms provided in other languages?
Yes. The Census Bureau has extensive information and forms in other languages. Please see your residence hall census point person to obtain these materials.
I don't have or lost my form - where do I get another one?
If you live on campus or in Institute-approved housing, please ask your campus contact for another form. If you live off campus, please visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/bcqac-textview.php to find the nearest "Be Counted" site for a form. The Shaw's Supermarket near MIT at 20 Sidney Street has a Be Counted site open from 7 AM to 12 AM. The Harvest Co-op Market at 581 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square has a Be Counted site open from 8 AM to 10 PM, Sunday to 9 PM.