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NAA; Americas leading advocate for quality rental housing

Print ArticlePrintEmail ArticleEmailEDITED Mon, 29 March 2010 03:39:58 EDT

The U.S. Census Bureau is preparing for the 2010 Census. This constitutionally mandated survey is conducted every 10 years for the purpose of counting every resident in the U.S. The information is used to determine how federal dollars are spent in communities for services such as hospitals, schools, public work projects and emergency services. It also affects the number of seats each state is allocated in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Most households, including those in apartment buildings, should receive Census questionnaires in the mail in March 2010. (A sample questionnaire is available at http://bit.ly/7Imp35.) Responses are due by April 1, 2010. If households do not return their completed forms by the end of April, apartment operators can expect Census enumerators to visit their communities in an effort to get residents who have not responded to complete the form. These visits will take place from approximately May through August 2010.

Participation in the Census is required by law, so property managers are advised to provide Census enumerators with reasonable access to requested individual apartments. This includes allowing enumerators to knock on apartment doors, or, where present, buzz apartment call boxes. Enumerators may have to return to the property several times to secure interviews, and these repeat visits should be accommodated.

If enumerators are unable to contact apartment residents, they may ask a property manager for occupant information. Property staff should cooperate to the extent they can, and enumerators are required to allow for a reasonable amount of time for compilation of information.

In all cases, property managers should ask for official identification before cooperating with any Census Bureau employees, which in most cases will be limited to a Census badge and bag. (If property managers are uncertain about a Census enumerator's identity, they can contact the Regional Census Centers to confirm their employment by the Census Bureau as official enumerators. The Centers are listed at http://bit.ly/6LoThH.)

Census employees may also visit apartment properties outside of the 2010 Census as part of several other surveys sponsored by the Census Bureau, including the American Community Survey (ACS). (See http://bit.ly/4VVIxQ.) The ACS is considered part of the Census and thus participation is also mandatory. Property managers should provide the same level of access and cooperation to ACS field representatives as to Census 2010 enumerators.

In contrast, other Census Bureau surveys, such as the American Housing Survey and the Current Population Surveys, are voluntary. While the multifamily industry benefits from the data collected from households during these surveys, property managers are not required to allow the same level of access or provide the same level of cooperation as with the Census or American Community Survey.

All information collected during federal censuses and surveys is kept confidential (per Title 13) and only used for compiling aggregate statistics.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) -  www.naahq.org - is America's leading advocate for quality rental housing. NAA's mission is to serve the interests of multifamily housing owners, managers, developers and suppliers.


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