Good Question: Is the Census Test legit?

June 24, 2019 08:33 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some of you are wondering about a survey you got in the mail. Pat Taney was asked if it's a scam for this week's Good Question report.

It's called the U.S. Census Test and it comes with a pretty staunch warning. The letter reads if you don't respond, you're violating federal law.


Deanna Young sent us photos of the letter she received recently. It asks her to go online to answer questions. 

"I've never heard of this before. Is it legit or a scam?" She asked.

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is legitimate.

This isn't the actual census — that takes place next year. The survey is a test to help the bureau figure out how to handle next year's census.

"The test will help fine-tune the planning for the 2020 Census Nonresponse Followup Operation, which is designed to collect responses from addresses that do not self-respond," spokesperson Daniel Velez said.

The test is also taking a look at one of the questions that may be asked on the 2020 Census.

"It's a test to measure self-response rates and possible operational impacts of a citizenship question being included on the 2020 Census." 

That question has been in the headlines and is a bit controversial.

It asks whether you are or are not a U.S. citizen. One test form asks the question, the other does not.

This is all happening as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule whether the bureau can legally ask that question.

We're told about 480,000 of these surveys were sent out nationwide. Most were mailed out in mid-June.

If you get one and don't respond, a census worker could come to your door to do the survey in person.

If you have a question you'd like answered, send Pat an email at


Pat Taney

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


We no longer have Facebook comments on this site. Please visit our Facebook Page to join the conversation.