I am the mother of a soldier who is stationed in Germany and living on post. I am a bit confused, as I called the census help line, and they gave me information that led me to believe I should add my son to my 2010 Census form and check the box saying he is military.

What I read in your article (Spouse Calls, Mar. 14) seems to indicate to me that I should not. According to your column, he would be counted with the military living over there.

The person on the phone had to ask a supervisor for information. It seems that I was the first to ask her that question. Our address is where my son votes, pays taxes and lives when he is stateside. I would hate for him to not be counted.

This has confused me. My question to you is, should I add him to my form or not? Thank you for your time. I will also pass this information to others with military connections in my area who need to know.

— Gretchen, Proud Army Mom

Thank you for reading Spouse Calls and for sending me your question. I’m always happy to hear from the proud parents of servicemembers.

Your son, while stationed in Germany, will be counted automatically by the U.S. Census, as are all military personnel and their family members living overseas on Census Day, April 1, according to the residence rules posted on the 2010 Census Web site.

Sometimes, as military families know well, the active-duty member is assigned overseas, while the family remains in the United States. When corresponding with Census Bureau officials concerning the column you mentioned, I asked a specific question on that subject.

You should not include your son as a member of your stateside household on your 2010 Census form while he is stationed outside the U.S. The same applies to military family members who reside in the U.S. while their active-duty sponsor — for example, a parent or spouse — is deployed or stationed overseas.

Military family members living in the U.S. while the active-duty member serves overseas should fill out a census form for their actual residence, not including the absent active-duty member.

Robert Crockett, a spokesman from the U.S. Census Bureau, who provided information for my column about the census, explained to me that the census counts people where they live and sleep most of the time, not where they pay taxes, vote or have their legal residence.

When military personnel and families are stationed overseas — because they are U.S. citizens, but not living and sleeping in any state — the census counts them in the military member’s home of record. That is the home the member declared at the time he or she joined the service and may be different from the legal residence.

I hope this clears up any confusion, Gretchen.

Some reminders for all of us in the military:

Census participation is required by law.Only military members and their families living overseas are counted automatically.Military members and families in the U.S. should fill out a census form and will be counted in their place of actual residence, not legal residence if that is different.See the Spouse Calls blog for more information and links concerning the 2010 Census.

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Contact her at and see the Spouse Calls blog at

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