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Results of the 1980 Applied Behavior Analysis Survey or What People Do With Their Census Forms

Theresa J. DeMaio

KEY WORDS: response rates; decennial census; long form; short form


Interviews (n = 8550) were conducted with respondents in 20 districts to determine from whom, how and why nonresponse occurs in decennial census surveys. Results clarified that there are five stages in the return process: 1) receipt of the form; 2) opening the envelope; 3) starting to fill out the form; 4) finishing the form; and 5) mailing the form. Mail return rates varied by race/ethnicity, income, exposure to census publicity and information on nonreturn penalties, and district office type, but were not affected by receipt of a long vs. short form. The primary contributor to nonmail return was reported nonreceipt of the form, which occurred most frequently among low-income households, households that do not receive mail directly to their door or mailbox, and households in multi-unit structures. Perceived difficulty of the form negatively related to starting to fill out the form, while form length and household size negatively related to finishing the form.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Created: May 1, 2007
Last revised: May 1, 2007

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010