The law says yes.
The facts say no.
Fortunately, the Census Bureau has not enforced the law since about 1970.
Over 50 years ago, Murray Rothbard said that statistics are the Achilles’ heel of government planning. That is why the following is good news.
Bob Cole, who hosts Austin radio station KOKE-FM’s weekday morning show, said on the air Jan. 7, 2014, that he couldn’t believe the U.S. Census Bureau told him he was legally required to participate in a government survey.
“In a few days you will receive an American Community Survey questionnaire in the mail,” the bureau said in a letter to Cole, which he said he received in late 2013 or early in the new year. The letter said: “Because you are living in the United States, you are required by law to respond to this survey.” Cole gave us a copy of a bureau envelope with this nudge outside: “Your response is required by law.”
The ACS, sent annually in recent years to a sampling of more than 3 million U.S. households, collects detailed information on population and housing, helping to update the information gathered in every decennial census, the bureau says online. “Estimates from the ACS contribute to providing an important picture of America, and an accurate response to the ACS questionnaire is important,” the agency says. “When used in conjunction with the most recently available decennial census counts, information from the ACS documents how we live as a nation, including our education, housing, jobs, and many other issues.”
Cole asked us to verify that Americans are legally bound to fill out the survey. “I can see the validity of some of the questions,” he said, others less so. The material he received said the bureau estimates it takes 40 minutes to complete. (See the 2014 questionnaire, which has more than 50 questions for each person in a household, here.)
Bureau cites statutes
The materials received by Cole included an FAQ with this question: “Do I have to answer the questions?”
(For the rest of the article, click the link.)