Census workers begin gathering addresses

Posted May 4, 2009 11:23 a.m. EDT

Employees of the U.S. Census Bureau are already at work in North Carolina, checking out addresses to build a database for the forms to be mailed in 2010.

Thousands of census employees began work April 6 using handheld computers that capture GPS information. Sometimes they may ring the doorbell to ask residents about additional living quarters on the premises.

Census workers wear official identification badges and might also carry black workbags with the words “U.S. Census Bureau” on them.

“Anyone who is worried by someone gazing at his house or knocking at her door should ask for identification,” said William W. Hatcher, regional director in the Charlotte Regional Census Center.

“Our address listers record only address information during this operation,” Hatcher said. He pointed out that census workers never ask for a bank account number or social security information.

Census employees take an oath of confidentiality and can face a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison for violating that oath, he said.

Five local census offices are open in the state – in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Greenville. An additional 10 offices are planned in the coming year.