Are the Census data really confidential?
All responses to Census Bureau surveys and censuses are confidential and protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code. Under this law, the Census Bureau is required to keep respondent information confidential. We will never share a respondent’s personal information with immigration enforcement agencies, like ICE; law enforcement agencies, like the FBI or police; or allow it to be used to determine their eligibility for government benefits.
The results from any census or survey are reported in statistical format only. Individual records from the decennial censuses are, by law (Title 44, U.S. Code), confidential for 72 years.
In addition, under Title 13, U.S. Code, all Census Bureau employees swear a lifetime oath to protect respondent data. It is a felony for any Census Bureau employee to disclose any confidential census information during or after employment, and the penalty for wrongful disclosure is up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.