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.
Since the first census in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected data using a census "schedule," also called a "questionnaire” or “form." Between 1790 and 1820, U.S. Marshals conducting the census were responsible for supplying paper and writing-in headings related to the questions asked (i.e., name, age, sex, race, etc.). In 1830, Congress authorized the printing of uniform schedules for use throughout the United States.
The 1940 Census included separate questionnaires to count the population and collect housing data. The 1960 and later censuses combined population and housing questions onto a single questionnaire mailed to households or completed during a census taker's visit.
Between 1970 and 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau used two questionnaires. Most households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions. A sample of households received a long-form questionnaire that included additional questions about the household. The 2010 Census had just one questionnaire consisting of ten questions.
This report contains detailed information on the questionnaires and instructions used for each census, plus individual histories of each census.