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Facts for Features
April 30, 2010

*Special Edition*
2010 Census by the Numbers: Door-to-Door Follow-Up

Nearly three-fourths of American households — 72 percent — mailed back their 2010 Census forms in March and April of 2010 — a significant achievement. Now the census moves into its second half, the door-to-door follow-up phase or "non-response follow-up" (NRFU) in census jargon. The goal of this operation is to obtain a completed form from every remaining household in order to obtain a final census count. The task requires the deployment of hundreds of thousands of temporary census workers who will knock on millions of doors in the neighborhoods where they themselves live.

Both the mail back and door-to-door operations are massive undertakings. The numbers and descriptions that follow focus primarily on the door-to-door operation that must be executed completely and accurately in order to count every person in America.

Reach of 2010 Census: Mail back and Door-to-Door

134 million

Approximate number of total housing units in the U.S. that have to be contacted for the census, either via mail or in person, to collect a form or determine if vacant.

1.4 million

Approximate total number of positions to conduct the 2010 Census.

Recruiting and Staffing

3.8 million

Approximate number of people that were recruited to fill positions for 2010 Census operations between 2009 and 2010.


Approximate number of positions hired for door-to-door follow-up phase in 2010.


The number of weeks that temporary census jobs last for door-to-door follow-up, beginning with peak weeks in May. Duration is dependent upon the final workload and how efficiently assignments are completed.

$10 to $25

The hourly pay rates established for door-to-door census takers, which are based on local prevailing competitive wages using Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Door-to-Door Workload


Approximate number of total miles census takers will travel to obtain responses during door- to-door follow-up. This includes having to make up to three in-person visits if people are not at home.

48 million

Approximate number of housing units in door-to-door follow-up. This includes people who did not receive a form at their household because the address we have for the physical location of their residence is not used for mail delivery.

1.5 million

Approximate number unique workload assignment areas given to door-to-door census takers.


The average number of cases in an assignment area. An enumerator or census taker works an estimated average rate of .9 cases per hour.


Estimated number of hours that the typical census taker will work per week.


Maximum number of contacts with a household -- three in person and three by phone -- to obtain a complete census response.

Door-to-Door Training


Number of census taker training sessions held nationwide from April 27 through April 30 for door-to-door follow-up. Up to 10,000 sessions to train replacement workers and quality assurance will be conducted in weeks that follow.

$23 million

The estimated value of donated training room space for the four-day training session thanks to Census partners, such as schools, churches, community centers.

Local Census Management

3.4 million

Approximate number of square feet of office space that has been leased for the Regional Census Centers and Local Census Offices.


The number of Local Census Offices (LCOs) to manage local census operations.


The number of Regional Census Centers to manage local census operations.

Security and Confidentiality

1.4 million

The number of people hired and fingerprinted for the 2010 census in fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

For life

The length of time a census worker is sworn to protect the confidentiality of census information.

5 and $250,000

The maximum number of years in prison and the maximum amount of the fine for a census worker who reveals personally identifiable information.


The number of years census records are kept confidential before being released for genealogical research.


The minimum age of household members who can fill out the census questionnaire or respond to a census taker at the door.

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014