Here you will learn whether an archive of past questionnaires - also known as schedules or forms – is available online. Many of our surveys now offer an online response in place of completing and mailing a printed form.
The 1970 census was the first to operate on a true mail-out mail-back system. Because enumerators were only sent out to collect information from non-responding residents, the census questionnaire was designed to be filled out by the members of each household. The first eight questions were asked of every resident. All following questions, including the entire census of housing, were asked of a sample of either five, fifteen, or twenty percent of residents. The questionnaires collected the following information, listed by question number:
Studies after the 1950 and 1960 censuses revealed that those censuses had undercounted certain segments of the population. Researchers also noted a growing distrust of government and resistance to responding to the census, despite an increasing need for accurate information in both the private and public sectors. In large measure, the increased need for data resulted from the federal government's reliance on population and other information collected by the census when distributing funds to state and local governments. In an effort to reduce the complexity of its products, the Census Bureau reduced the number of inquiries on the long-form questionnaire from 66 to 23.
The Census Bureau created an address register for densely settled areas that U.S. Post Office employees who were familiar with their routes were instructed to correct and update as needed. The register was also used to ensure that all housing units were accounted for when enumerators had completed their assignments.
The U.S. Post Office delivered census questionnaires with instruction sheets to every household several days prior to Census Day. In areas with a substantial number of Spanish-speaking households, a Spanish-language version of the instruction sheet was also enclosed. For the first time, a separate question on Hispanic origin or descent was asked, but only of a 5 percent sample of the population.
Also for the first time, residents of urban and surrounding areas were instructed to mail their forms back to the Census Bureau where enumerators reviewed them and used follow-up interviews to check on missing or incorrect responses. Rural householders received questionnaires in the mail, but were asked to hold the form for pickup by an enumerator. A letter explaining the need for the data collected and emphasizing the confidentiality of responses accompanied all census questionnaires.
The following questions comprised the "short form," and were of all residents.
The following questions were asked of only a sample of respondents
After completing this question, the person was to skip to question 33