The 2010 census questionnaire was one of the shortest in history - asking just 10 questions of all households in the United States and Island Areas related to name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether you own or rent your home. Collection of data about education, housing, jobs, etc. collected by previous censuses long-form questionnaires are now collected by the U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey.
In addition to the reduced number of questions, the Census Bureau announced it would count same-sex married couples in June 2009. When noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) who were not married.
Following the success of Census 2000's advertising, the 2010 census featured a $133 million, 4-month advertising campaign. Although officially beginning January 18, 2010, the advertising campaign debuted the night of January 17 during NBC's Golden Globe Awards broadcast.
In total, the 2010 advertising campaign included television, radio, print, outdoor and the Internet advertising, produced in an unprecedented 28 languages. More than half of the budgeted advertising would target media consumed by minority and ethnic audiences. The Census Bureau anticipated that the campaign would reach the average person 42 times with messages about the importance of participating in the census.
From Super Bowl XLIV and the 2010 Winter Olympics, to popular primetime shows, the 2010 Census advertising campaign represented the most extensive and diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history. The advertising rollout also included updates on other outreach efforts, such as the Census in Schools program, “Portrait of America” Road Tour, and the national and regional partnership programs targeted at reaching hard-to-count populations.
Other key elements of the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign included:
September 26, 2005 - The Census Bureau awards a $500+ million contract to the Lockheed Martin Corporation for the 2010 Census Decennial Response Integration System (DRIS).
September 6, 2007 - The Census Bureau awarded its 2010 Census communications contract, worth an estimated $200 million, to Draftfcb of New York.
March 30, 2009 - The Census Bureau launches a massive operation to verify and update more than 145 million addresses as it prepares to mail out 2010 census questionnaires.
July 23, 2009 - The Census Bureau began printing 2010 Census questionnaires.
October 26, 2009 - The Census Bureau launches the 2010 Census Web Site.
January 17, 2010 - First 2010 Census television advertisement airs during NBC's Golden Globe Awards broadcast.
January 18, 2010 - The 2010 census advertising campaign officially launches.
January 25, 2010 - Remote Alaska enumeration begins.
March 1, 2010 - 2010 census questionnaires begin arriving in mailboxes throughout the United States and Island Areas.
March 8, 2010 - Advance letters are mailed to 120 million addresses nationwide, notifying households that 2010 Census forms will be arriving March 15 -17.
April 1, 2010 - Census Day. Households are asked to supply data in their census questionnaire that is accurate as of April 1.
April 30, 2010 - Enumerators begin door-to-door operations to collect census data from households to follow up with households that either didn't mail back their form or didn't receive one.
July 30, 2010 - The toll-free telephone assistance line is closed, ending 2010 census data collection. More than 130,000 interviews were completed via the toll-free line.
August 10, 2010 - The Census Bureau announces that it will return $1.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury as a result of lower-than-expected census costs.
October 21, 2010 - The final 2010 census mail response rate is announced as 74 percent - matching Census 2000's rate.
December 21, 2010 - The Census Bureau announces the 2010 population counts and delivers the apportionment counts to the president.