Margolin Talks to the Census Bureau About His Zip Code
I live in Storey County Nevada (population 4,600) but the zip code in my mailing address is in Reno (Washoe County).
I wanted to know if I would be counted in Storey County (where I live) or in Washoe County (my mailing address).
I called the Census Bureau in Washington DC, Denver, and Reno. Initially I didn't get the right answer. Eventually I did. (I am persistent.)
The following is from the Census Bureau internal memo:
INCOMING PHONE CALL TRAINING
MARCH 25, 1020
(Note the typo in the year.)
Q: The city listed on my form is not the city where I live.
1) Some of the addresses on census forms list a city name that is not yours (some even arrive without a city name). Don’t worry.
IF YOU RECEIVED A CENSUS FORM AT YOUR HOME, YOUR RETURN WILL BE COUNTED
IN THE JURISDICTION WHERE YOUR HOME IS PHYSICALLY LOCATED.
The 2010 Census mail-out is the largest single delivery ever undertaken
by the U.S. Postal Service – over 120 million forms were mailed in
March. To streamline delivery in a mailing this large, addresses in a
particular ZIP code sometimes were all labeled using a single city name
that is valid for the ZIP code, even though some people in that area
usually receive mail addressed to a different city name. The Postal
Service does not have a problem with this because for many addresses
there are multiple city names that are perfectly acceptable for
4) If you got a form at your address, you’re
fine. Fill it out, mail it back, just as it is. We will place your
return with the right area. If you got the form, we have coded your
house to the right geography.
This was expanded on in the Yahoo Group for my Community.
year the Census Bureau sent people out with GPS units and got the GPS
location for every house. The location of each house was assigned to a
Census tract. The Census Bureau knows what county each Census Tract is
It has been brought to our
attention that residents are concerned that they will not be counted in
Storey County for the Census based on their zip code. We took your
concern to our local Census Office to get the facts.
is you will be counted in the Census tract in which you live, and all
tracts are coded to the County in which they are located, not the zip
code. Zip codes are from the Postal Service; Census Bureau uses its own
system - the Census tract.
The Census Bureau internal memo contains other interesting items:
• The post office will not forward Questionnaires.This
last item explains why no one in Virginia City received a
questionaire. Everyone in Virginia City has a Post Office Box.
Enumerators will start going to homes on May 1. Enumerators will have
badges (not photo) and carry Census briefcases. They use paper forms
instead of carrying laptops.
• The administrative hot line is
1-877-233-4677. Phone calls can also be transferred to our office admin
line #54100. This is a good way for people to confirm whether or not
someone at their door is a Census employee.
• The law says that Census employees may cross “No trespassing” signs if necessary to do their job.
The penalty for not returning a form can be up to $5000. The Census
will try everything possible to get information without threatening a
• Mailboxes are USPS domain and therefore a Census employee cannot put the questionnaire in a mailbox.
• A form is federal property and cannot be tampered with by anyone except the recipient and Census employee.
When 2010 Census questionnaires are initially mailed to households,
they are not mailed to PO box mailing addresses. However, when a
request is made to a TQA call center to send a replacement
questionnaire or a Language Assistance Guide (LAG), the TQA WILL mail
the questionnaire or LAG to a PO Box mailing address. TQA operators
will begin sending replacement forms to callers with or without an ID
on April 12. Prior to April 12, TQA only sends replacement forms to
callers who can provide their ID number from their questionnaire.
Click here for the complete memo.
a Census-related matter, the Census Bureau has had a part in the
history of technology. Years ago I wrote a book about the history of
technology. I could not persuade a publisher to publish it so you
probably haven't read it, except for the chapter I adapted for my web
site: The Road to the Transistor.
Click here for the part of the book that mentions the Census Bureau.
Virginia City Highlands (which is in Storey County, NV, despite the zip code in his mailing address)
April 14, 2010