Census Confidentiality

When you fill out and mail back your 2010 Census form, your responses are safe and confidential.

Every Census Bureau employee must pass a background check before being hired and must swear under oath to protect the confidentiality of census responses. This is an oath for life. Any employee who reveals any personal census information is subject to severe penalties — including a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

By law, no other government agency, law enforcement agency, national security agency, court, or anyone else can access your responses — not anyone for any reason.

No law overrides the confidentiality law that protects personal information collected by the Census Bureau, or can force the Census Bureau to share census responses.

The Justice Department recently confirmed that no provision of the Patriot Act overrides the confidentiality law that protects census responses.

> 2010 Census Confidentiality letter from the Department of Justice

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