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LEGISLATION TRACKER
Reduce Census Bureau data collection that is beyond the Constitutional mandate

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: SAVES UP TO $2.4 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS
In addition to the constitutionally mandated decennial headcount census, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau conducts a number of other surveys intended to gather statistics of interest to governments or the business community. One of these activities is the American Community Survey, an annual survey sample which replaced the old long form census questionnaire in the decennial census. The ACS will survey 3.5 million households at a cost of nearly $250 million in 2012. Some of the questions the ACS contains have been routinely criticized as invasions of privacy, such inquiring about the respondent's emotional condition, or whether respondents have difficulty dressing or need help to go shopping. Failure to comply with the survey is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines. Data from the survey is available free of charge to commercial businesses seeking to hone marketing strategies by targeting their most promising customers. Given the commercial applications of this survey, it might be more appropriate eliminate the survey as a taxpayer-funded activity of the U.S. government.

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