“The Census paper form only has space for 10 people, but my household has more than that.”
What if your house has more than 10 people? It definitely is the case for many people living in America, like in mixed generation households or established families hosting newly arrived relatives. It’s so important to count everyone, but the paper form only has spaces for 10 people, so what do you do?
The best option is to fill out the 2020 Census over the phone or online. In both of those scenarios, there is no limit to the number of people you can count on your 2020 Census form. Filling out the 2020 Census completely – and as soon as you can – is the best way to make sure your entire household is counted and to prevent Census Bureau employees, called Enumerators, from coming to your house or calling you to ask follow up questions.
If you do fill out the 2020 Census on a paper form, when question 1 asks:
“How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020?” you should answer the full number in your household, even if it’s more than 10.
The instructions on the top of Page 8 of the sample form state: “Use this section to complete information for the rest of the people you counted in Question 1 on the front page. We may call for additional information about them.” That indicates that enumerator follow up will be necessary when there are more people in the household than spaces on the form, so doing the 2020 Census this way will likely trigger an Enumerator visit and/or call.
There are other situations where enumerator follow up is necessary to clarify the information provided, too. For example, if the Census receives suspicious looking responses (i.e., Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck) or multiple responses for the same people, they are also likely to call or visit to clarify that information.
It is highly unlikely that additional pages or additional 2020 Census forms will be available anyone, since the Census Bureau is trying to push people to online or phone responses. The answer to questions about obtaining additional paper forms has been: “no, you only get the paper form that is mailed to you or dropped off at your door; if you don’t receive any paper forms, you must go online or call in to provide your information.”
Bottom line, best policy for larger households is to fill out the 2020 Census online or call in over the phones. Both options will be available starting on March 12, 2020.