09 March 2010

What Will Happen to the 2010 Census Records?

There has been some concern in the genealogy community about what the U.S. Census Bureau plans to do with our submitted 2010 census forms. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has created a blog to answer questions and explain some of the bureau's processes. The blog states in part:
Our paper forms for the 2010 census are being processed by very high speed optical scanners, which create a digital image of our forms exactly as we filled them out. Those machines also create a numeric data record that is used for the statistical aggregation of answers from all persons in the census.

One decision we had to make was whether to save both the numeric data record (for statistical purposes) and the digital image (to aid the genealogists of the future). We've decided to save the digital images and transfer them to the National Archives for safekeeping until 2082.

The blog is on the website 2010census.gov, or you can go directly to http://blogs.census.gov/2010census/


  1. Hallelujah! I wonder if the combined screams of thousands of genealogists and family historians had an impact on the decision? (grin)

    Seriously, the paper forms, or the digital images thereof, can have tremendous value not only to genealogists, but also to social historians, demographers, economists, and a host of other academic investigators. I think it would be a great loss for all that information to have been lost.

    I'm still going to make a copy of ours and file it away before I send the thing in.

  2. The National Archives also has a blog post on this topic. http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/?p=1192 There never were plans to destroy the 2010 Census.