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Verify: Are these Census letters legit?

People are asking if the American Community Survey is part of the Census and why it's arriving in 2019.

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — The census is a constitutionally required count going back 229 years. It counts every person in the country in every year ending in zero.

So, if the next census isn't until 2020 why are people getting census letters in 2019?

Christine writes to the Verify team, "I have received 2 letters requesting that I fill out a United States Census...from The American Community Survey."

She's worried it could be a politically motivated scam.

"I have tried to contact multiple sources," she writes, "with no responses. I don't know who else to ask. Please help!"

Let's Verify.

Our sources: the U.S. Census Bureau and it's boss the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission. One of the FTC's jobs is to spot scams.

Christine is far from the first to question the The American Community Survey.

A quick search of consumer.ftc.gov brings up the post "Is the American Community Survey legit?"

And the answer is yes.

But what about that whole "every ten years" thing?

Well, the FTC and the U.S. Census Bureau explain that unlike the 10-year census, the American Community Survey runs all year, every year - reaching more than 3.5 million households. 

So, we can verify, the American Community Survey is part of the U.S. Census.

A response is required by law. 

The U.S. Census Bureau says individual responses are not shared with anyone.

Field staff will always have Bureau I.D. and a copy of the letter they sent you to prove they are who they say they are. 

And there is even this number 1-800-354-7271 that you can call to confirm your letter. 

More information from the Census Bureau about the American Community Survey can be found here.

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