The law requires, in the case of both the decennial census and the ACS, that all households that get a form must fill it out in its entirety, under penalty. Generally speaking, the Census Bureau is not interested in levying the fine, and prefers to gather the data. If a survey is not returned, the Census can follow up by phone or with a personal visit. There is, however, the threat of a penalty for non-response. The current penalty is $100 for failure to fill out the census forms.
The authority of the Congress to conduct the census in whatever way it wishes, and thus to require that the forms be filled out is found in the Constitution itself, which notes:
[The Census] shall be made … in such Manner as [Congress] shall by Law direct.
The Congress is also authorized to ask various questions in the census aside from the basic headcount by virtue of this clause and by virtue of the Necessary and Proper Clause.
Advice to leave the form blank or to fail to fill it in may actually bring more of the government into your life than you want — as noted above, unfilled and incomplete forms will be followed-up upon by actual census workers, either in person or by telephone.
Ok so I filled out the form in it’ s entirety as accurately as possible so why do they keep calling me? I ask them and it sounds like they are reading off a script. I ask what did I fill out wrong and they refuse to answer me with any specifics. the number on my caller Id says us census so anyone else have that experience?