U.S. Census Bureau Banner

Census Bureau FOIA Office

Census Seal

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Census Bureau records are handled through the Office of Analysis and Executive Support (Policy Office). The FOIA staff are responsible for reviewing, coordinating, and responding to requests coming to the Census Bureau that request records under the FOIA and Privacy Act (PA).

Requesting Census Bureau Records

Follow the links below to learn how to:

Records About Yourself

The Privacy Act (PA) of 1974 is a Federal law that is set forth in Title 5, Section 552a, of the United States Code (5 U.S.C.552a), as amended. The purpose of the PA is to balance the Government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy resulting from the collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information. In general, the PA allows individuals to learn how the Federal Government collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates records containing personal information. It also safeguards confidentiality by limiting or restricting disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by Federal agencies. The PA allows individuals to gain access to their own personal records (unless the requested records are exempted from disclosure), and to seek correction or amendment of Federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant. As such, the PA establishes a "code of fair information practices," which requires Federal agencies to comply with statutory norms for collecting, maintaining, and disseminating records containing information about individuals.

Under the Privacy Act, you may request copies of any Census Bureau records that:

  • are about you, and
  • are filed and can be retrieved by your name or by a personal identifier (such as your Social Security number).

You can also ask the Census Bureau to correct records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant.

In some cases, the Privacy Act may not allow release of your personal records.

Request records about yourself under the Privacy Act


Other Census Bureau Records

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552 was enacted in 1966 so that any individual or organization would have access to government records, unless the records are protected by one of nine FOIA Exemptions (link to Department of Commerce website), or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. FOIA does not apply to records held by Congress, Federal Courts, state and local governments, private businesses, schools, private organizations, or private individuals.

Request records under the Freedom of Information Act

Contact Information

FOIA staff are located in room 8H027 of the U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters at the Suitland Federal Complex in Suitland, MD. 

Telephone (Toll Free)

(ATTN: FOIA Officer)

U.S. Mail
Mary C. Potter, FOIA Officer
U.S. Census Bureau , Room 8H027
Washington, DC 20233-3700 
Courier or Hand Delivery
Mary C. Potter, FOIA Officer
U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8H027
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD   20746

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Office of Analysis and Executive Support (Policy Office),
FOIA and Information Branch

Census Bureau Links:   Home · Accessibility · Search · Subjects A-Z · FAQs· Census 2010 · Information Quality · Privacy Policy · Contact Us

U.S. Census Bureau: Helping You Make Informed Decisions

Page Last Modified: August 26, 2008