Young People Make Up Large Proportion of Census Hold-Outs

  • March 24, 2010

A large majority of Americans say they will participate in the census: 87% say they definitely or probably will fill out and return their forms, or have already done so. But in a recent Pew Research Center survey, 12% still said they may not participate – 5% might or might not, 4% probably will not and 3% definitely will not fill out and return their census forms.1

Age is the demographic characteristic most strongly associated with participation. The median age of those who may not participate is 31, compared with a median age of 47 among likely participants. Put differently, among the 12% who say they might or will not participate in the census, 44% are younger than age 30. By comparison, among the 87% who say they will participate, only 17% are ages 18-29.

Home ownership – which is correlated with age – is also related to census participation. Only 39% of those who are uncertain or say they will not participate own their home, while 40% rent and 20% have some other arrangement (including living in a dorm or with their parents). By comparison, a majority (64%) of those who will definitely or probably participate own their homes.

Read the full report Young People Make Up Large Proportion of Census Hold-Outs on the Pew Research Center's Web site.