Invasion of Privacy :The American Community Survey

I received a letter telling me that soon I would be receiving the American Community Survey, and that I was required to complete it and send it back. I was told that this information was crucial to the planning of my community for such important infrastructure items as fire stations, libraries, and schools.

The following week I received the 28 page booklet asking me for information that I would not share with 99.9% of the people I know. According to the US Constitution, a census is authorized once every ten years. If you complain to the Census Bureau, they point to Congress for authorizing the American Community Census. My contention is that this is unconstitutional. I reviewed my copy of the Constitution and saw no amendments that altered the frequency of the Census. If I have overlooked it, please point this out to me.

Second, the Fourth Amendment guarantees my right to be secure .

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

To gather all of the information below, they would have to invade my home, and search my documents for this data. I contend the information requested is my property and the US Government has no valid claim upon it.

My answers to this survey are not private forever, as in 72 years they are released to the public. None of the questions beyond how many people live at my address would seem to apply to fire stations, libraries, or schools, and so, I must confess I will not be answering them.

According to the Washington Post, over 1,100 laptops have been reported missing from the Commerce Department since 2001 including over 250 from the Census Bureau.

Do I really want the answers to the questions below floating around on a laptop that is misplaced or stolen?

Searching the internet, I have discovered I may be in for some harassment as Big Brother attempts to force me to complete this form. I have read reports of Census workers harassing individuals in an attempt to get them to complete the survey. For some interesting stories check out this link.

You will read some interesting stories about what will be done to collect the data.

Since this is not the year 2010 (truth be known I would answer this survey the same way if it was 2010), I feel in no way compelled to share with the government the answers to the following questions about my life the Federal Government wants to know:

Phone Number including Area Code


Age and Birth Date

If I am of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin

My race

What type of house I live in

When my house was built(year)

When I moved into this house(year)

How large is the lot?

Is there a business on this location?

How many separate rooms are in this house, apartment, or mobile home?

How many of these rooms are bedrooms?

Do I have

Hot and Cold Running Water?

Flush Toilet?

Bathtub or shower?

Sink with a faucet?

Stove or Range?


Telephone Service?

How many vehicles of 1 ton or less are kept at this address?

What fuel is used to heat this house, apartment, or mobile home?

What was the cost of electricity last month?

What was the cost of gas last month?

What was the cost of water and sewer for the past twelve months?

Did I receive Food Stamps?

Is my house, apartment or mobile home part of a condominium, and if yes, what are the fees?

Do I own the house with a mortgage?

Do I own this house free and clear?

Do I rent?

Do I occupy without rent?

What is the monthly rent for this house, apartment, or mobile home?

How much do I think this house, apartment, or mobile home would sell for?

What are the annual property taxes?

What is the annual property and flood insurance?

How much is the regular monthly mortgage?

Does that include the property taxes?

Does that include the insurance?

Do I have a second mortgage on this property?

How much are the monthly payments on all second and junior mortgages?

Where I was born?

Am I a citizen?

Have I attended college or school in the last three months?

What is my highest degree or level of school completed?

If I have a bachelor's degree, what is it in?

What is my ancestry or ethnic origin?

Do I speak any other languages besides English at home?

How well do I speak English?

Did I live here 1 year ago?

Do I have health insurance?

What type?

Do I have difficulty hearing or am I blind?

Do I have difficulty doing physical, mental, or emotional conditions that make it difficult for me to do errands alone, such as shopping or visiting a doctor's office?

Am I married?

Did I get married, widowed, or divorced in the last twelve months?

How many times have I been married?

What year did I last get married?

Am I a grandparent responsible for a grandchild living here?

How long have I been responsible for the grandchildren?

Have I ever served on active duty?

If so, when?

Do I have a VA service-connected Disability rating?

What is that rating?

Did I work for pay last week at a business?

Last week did I do any work for pay?

At what location did I do this work?

What is the address?

How did I get to work last week?

How many people rode with me to work?

When did I leave my house to go to work?

How many minutes does it usually take?

Who was my most recent job with? Name and location

What kind of work do I do?

What are my most important activities or duties?

What are my wages for the last twelve months?

What is my self-employment income for the last twelve months?

What are my interest and dividends(even small amounts)?

What are my social security or Railroad retirement amounts?

What are my Supplemental Social Security Income amounts?

Did I receive any public assistance or welfare payments from state or local welfare offices?

If so, how much?

What was my total income in the last twelve months?

(To my shock, there is no question about capital gains)

As I said, I cannot imagine giving anyone I know the answers to all of these questions, and I will not be doing so now.

All I will say is that one person lives here. If that affects the fire stations, libraries, and schools in a negative way, so be it. But the rest of the information is personal.

How far are we willing to go to let the government into our lives? Is there no limit to what they can sk of us? Or does it fall upon us to not only say “NO”, but “HELL NO!!!”

I understand there is a $100 fine for not completing the form, and a $500 fine for giving false information. Perhaps this could be a new source of revenue for the government: keep your privacy for a $100 fee.

The Federal Government is supposed to do an accurate headcount every ten years to allocate Representatives for Congress.  They are not supposed to dive into my private life regardless of what they believe.

From the questions they are asking, I can conclude that they are trying to determine how much more “wealth” they can remove from me so that we can “share prosperity” in the future. To provide this Federal Government with this information can only be asking for trouble in the future.

Did you happen to receive the American Community Survey? If so, what did you do? I would love to read your story.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author/contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Nolan Chart or its ownership


  1. says

    Good NEWS!!
    Rutherford Institute has issued a stern warning to the Census Bureau that Institute attorneys are prepared to challenge the American Community Survey. Many thanks to those brave Rutherford people! I pray it will help all of us!

  2. gammuys says

    I just received one, and I would rather not fill it out. It is very intrusive. However, I’m scared not to. Are we sure that all they can impose is $100.00 fine? I’ll just send them the check.

  3. conservativekaren says

    I have received 2 phone calls a day for a month, followed by an unannounced knock on my door by a Census Bureau employee. I was not quick enough to see that it
    was the Census Bureau, as I was expecting someone else, so I opened the
    door.  A very polite man asked if I had received my American Communities
    Survey.  I said that yes I had.  I then told him that I have been in
    contact with both my state and federal Representatives, and that I would
    refuse to answer the intrusive questions.

    He said that it is a mandate passed by Congress.  I replied that
    Congress is not always our friend. That elicited an agreeable shrug. I
    also said that I am aware that only 45% of those asked actually respond
    to the survey.  I said I know that only 21% of those people are visited in person. He just shrugged, said, “well”, and
    politely left.  I wonder what will be next.  I shall take my stand, and remind them that this is all publicly
    available, and I will not do their work for them.  In no way do I
    believe that all this information in one place on a government computer
    is safe from being hacked and used. I said I would not comply, and that Congress is not always my friend.  He left.

    Several weeks later the Supervisor of the N. MI unit knocked on my door.  I offered to cut off the name, street address and bar code
    and mail it in, and was told it was too late.  She could put it on her
    the same way, she said, but I declined.  She said she couldn’t
    waterboard me (in a nice way) and that this would be the end of what I
    called harassment.  She was nice, said she likes small gov’t. etc.  I
    then asked her if we never stand up for a principal,
    then where are we?  I’m waiting for the call to jail……

    When I told her the gov’t can go and get this information for
    themselves, she said, “Oh, they would never do that, for it could flag
    you.”  After laughing, I said the survey does as well.

    The fine can be $5000 and a time in jail, although that has not happened to anyone yet.  Since I write a right wing news service at, and write for my local paper, I think I may be targeted.  There is a bill being considered which would make non-compliance a non-felony………

  4. Brian S. says

    This morning, I mailed it in with, er, highly creative data. For instance, I called myself a 300-year-old non-Hispanic Klingon who speaks only Esperanto. If you have Facebook, you can read my note about it at

  5. D411 says

    My impression was that the census was used to count people for the House of Reps. Now any question they put on the census is umbrelled in? Why not ask our political partry? Have you ever had an abortion? Do you have Islamic friends? Private… The census was used to identify Japanese-Americans so they could be rounded up during WWII. They even ask about mental health issues. Too bad the only org. fighting it is the Rutherford Institute-they’re nuts!

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