Distrust of the government may prompt some people to not fill out their census form - or to leave some items blank.
A friend puts it this way:
"First of all, i am only answering these questions. Number of people living in the household. Race. Adult or minor.
"If they come to the house demanding more information I will tell them to fine me."
My friend objects to the failure, on the form, to ask if each person is a citizen. He believes that if the reason for the census is to determine congressional districts, then it should be based on the number of citizens who live in an area.
He is also refusing to provide his phone number.
"The governemnt cannot and does not compel me to have a phone, my phone is private and unlisted and I pay for that luxury." He says if the government wants his phone number, his entire bill ought to be tax deductible.
"I will also not provide information on other folks who live in my house," he says. "They are adults and have privacy rights."
My friend says he won't allow himself to become "an agent of the governemnt to provide them with information" on others.
"A I see it," he says, "the maximum fine they can levy on me is $100 because if you read the law, you cannot be compelled to answer questions about non-relatives."
I'm not a lawyer so I don't know whether my friend is correct about his assertions. But I do know that he's not alone among people who claim they are reticent to complete their census forms because of their - valid or not - mistrust of the government.