Check out this story, which reveals that the maximum fine for not answering the census has risen from $100 to $5000, but also notes that the higher amount can be charged only as a result of a trial.
I continue to think that noncompliance with the census is likely to be a fairly safe form of resistance for most people; but one should of course keep all relevant data in mind.
I don’t even remember the last time I received such a notice in the mail; perhaps I’m missing something here?
They only come every ten years. You’ll probably get one this month or next.
I managed to evade the census in 2000. The thing about that fine is, plausible deniability is your friend. Just throw the form away and don’t answer the door for the census workers. They’ll eventually give up; it’s like evading a repo man, only those schmucks have a lot less personal incentive to keep trying. On the off chance they catch you outside, just act surprised and act like you don’t know what they’re talking about. At worst, a census worker will wind up “helping” you fill out the form after you wasted no telling how many hours of the bureau’s time.
BTW, here’s a fun census trick: Anonymously write the Census Bureau telling them you got the long form and deliberately lied on all the answers so their resulting statistics would all be worthless. Send copies to some news organizations. Encourage others to do same.
Wait, if the purpose of a census is to determine population and such, how do they know who to send it to? And if they do, wouldn’t that make the census irrelevant?
The fine has been $5k for some time. In 2008 I received the American Community Survey (the rolling census) and ended up getting by without them knowing even my name… though I was threatened quite a bit. I even called them after the threats stopped to ask what was going on and they told me the data was no longer useful to them and to forget it.
For those interested in how the threats were written it’s all up at
In 2000, I received what I assume was the “long form” that’s randomly sent to some certain percentage of households.
I answered every question.
The first question (number of people in household), I answered with the correct number.
All subsequent questions (I think there were about 40), I answered “none of your business.”
Never heard from them again.
On the subject of “Goons getting greedier” I read a news paper story about some corrupt cops (formerly praised as stalwart drug warriors, now found to be in league with drug gangs). It’s almost as if the agents of the state don’t themselves really believe in the state, which is kind of odd. Or maybe they just have problem with gangs per se, and so don’t feel moonlighting with a rival gang is a problem.
Heh. I’ve been doing what Knapp did since the 1980 Census. I got the long form then, the short forms in 1990 and 2000. I figured if I wound up in court, I could honestly say I DID answer the questions. Just not the answers the census takers wanted.