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2012 Census of Governments Collection

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2012 Census of Governments - Employment

Employment Component Questions and Answers

Why should I complete this form? What is the purpose of this survey?

This survey provides the only source of government employment and payroll data. Government employment represents 15 percent of the total workforce and the data the Census Bureau collect are often requested by other governments, researchers, and reporters. Amongst its many uses, these data are used to compare salaries between governments, aid in developing policy for state and local governments, and contribute to the government component of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This survey is endorsed by many national associations:

  • Schools - The National School Boards Association endorses the survey.
  • County - The National Association of Counties endorses the survey.
  • City - The National League of Cities endorses the survey.
  • Township - The National Association of Towns and Townships endorses the survey.

Is this survey mandatory?

This is a voluntary survey. However, our report is the only source of nationwide, comprehensive information on state and local government employment and payrolls. This survey is authorized by Title 13, U.S. Code, Section 161. Also, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state, and other local governments such as yours, educational and research organizations, and the general public use the results of our data collection.


How do I get taken off of your mailing list?

From a purely data collection methodology standpoint, we cannot remove you from our mailing list. For years ending in '2' and '7' we conduct a complete census, in which we attempt to collect employment data from all governments. For the four years between our censuses, we collect data from a sample of governments in which case some governments are not surveyed.


Why did I receive this survey?

If you have received the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll, we have determined your entity is part of the 50 state governments or one of the approximately 90,690 local governments in the United States. Every five years (years ending in '2' and '7') we conduct a census, in which we attempt to collect employment data from all governments in the country. For the four years between our censuses, we collect data from a sample of governments in which case some governments are not surveyed.


I do not have any paid employees. Should I complete the survey?

Yes. If your entity does not have any paid employees please make note of this on the form and send it back to us. Although you have no paid employees, providing this information is still an essential component in our data and is a completed response for your government.


We are not a government. Should I complete the survey?

If you have received a copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll it is because your agency has fallen in scope of our definition of a government. We define a government to be "an organized entity which, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit." If you believe your agency does not fall under the scope of our definition of a government, please contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

For further details on the definition and characteristics of a government entity for Census Bureau reporting, refer to the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual at http://www.census.gov/govs/classification


We are a non-profit organization. Should I complete the survey?

If you have received a copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll it is because your agency has fallen in scope of our definition of a government. We define a government to be "an organized entity which, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit." If you believe your agency does not fall under the scope of our definition of a government, please contact a member of the Public Employment and Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.


For further details on the definition and characteristics of a government entity for Census Bureau reporting, refer to the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual at http://www.census.gov/govs/classification

The name of our government is incorrect. How do I get it changed?

The best way to ensure the name of your government is properly corrected and recorded in our database is to return a completed copy of the survey indicating the correction and by contacting a member of the Employment & Benefit Statistics Branch by phone at 1-800-642-4901 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.


Some of my employees work in more than one function. How do I report these employees?

If some employees complete tasks that fall under more than one function available for reporting on the survey, please place the employees at the function in which the majority of their work load is spent. If the employees spend an equal share of time at different functions, place the employee and their payroll information at only one function and indicate in the remarks section the other functions the employee completes. If you have any questions or continued difficulties placing employees at the appropriate function, contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

How do I correct data after I have already submitted the survey?

If you have already submitted data for your agency and would like to make a correction, please contact a member of the Employment Benefit & Statistics Branch by phone at 1-800-642-4901 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

How can I upload a payroll file?

The option to upload electronic correspondence in addition to the completion of the paper or electronic version of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll is new for 2012. To upload an electronic payroll file you must log in to the interactive web collection system at https://respond.census.gov/aspep and select the "Attach File" tab at the top of the toolbar. From there, you can select the file you wish to upload and provide a brief description of the file's contents. Multiple files up to 75MB each may be attached. You must be sure to go through all of the prompted screens to successfully upload the file(s).

Why doesn't my password from last year work?

A new interactive Web collection system has been implemented for 2012. In previous years, a User ID was provided on the paper copy of the survey form and when attempting to complete the survey online, the user was prompted to create a password following a set of listed criteria. Now, a unique User ID and password is provided on the paper copy of the survey form and both are required to log into the interactive system. Because of the new Web collection system, passwords from previous years are no longer valid. In addition, the unique password will be changed and reissued every year. If you have difficulty finding your User ID and/or password, or if you are having trouble logging into the Web collection system, please contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

I've been timed out. What do I do?

If you have been inactive for 45 minutes or longer, you will automatically be logged off of the interactive Web collection system. Any unsaved information will be lost. To access the online version of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll again, return to https://respond.census.gov/aspep and log in using your unique User ID and password. Any information that was saved will be available for review. No information will be submitted to us at any time unless you have selected the "Submit" button at the end of the survey.

I can not access the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll online.

To properly access the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll online, you must type https://respond.census.gov/aspep into the Web address bar at the top of your internet browser window. Trying to find the Website for the survey through Internet search engines usually will not direct you to the correct Website. If you continue to have trouble accessing the Web collection site, contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

When is the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll due?

The Survey of Public Employment & Payroll is due April 30th of every year. If you would like to request a time extension for completing the survey, please contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

How do I request a time extension?

To request a time extension for completing the survey, please contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

Where can I obtain a paper copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll?

There are a few options to obtain a paper copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll.

1. If you are logged into the interactive Web collection system at https://respond.census.gov/aspep you can select the “Print Form” option from the top toolbar. After selecting the tab, a list of available print options will appear. Selecting the first listed option "Print Blank Form" will allow you to print the appropriate form for your government.

2. You can access all forms relating to the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll by year at http://www.census.gov/cog2012/cog_employment/get_forms.html. To determine the appropriate form number to print for your government, you may need to contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

How do I confirm the Census Bureau received my data?

If you have completed the survey through the Web application, you can print your completed form while logged in by selecting the "Print Submitted Form" from the "Print Form" option on the top toolbar. If you have submitted your survey by mail, fax, or over the phone you can contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.

How do I contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team?

You can contact the Public Employment & Payroll team by phone at 1-800-832-2839 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, or by email at govs.employ@census.gov.


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census of Governments | 1(888)202-2691| govs.gus@census.gov |  Last Revised: May 09, 2012