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Plain Writing

Plain Language infographic

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 [PDF 153kb] requires federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way the public can understand. The Act states that plain writing means "writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience."

The Census Bureau has long sought to improve communications with the public, dependent as we are on public cooperation in our censuses and surveys. We at the Census Bureau are committed to writing new documents in plain language.

The Plain Writing Act requires federal agencies to use plain language in public documents, particularly those that —

  • Explain a benefit or service.
  • Show how to apply for a benefit or service.
  • Meet a federal requirement.

We see the act as an opportunity to enhance our own plans to improve communication with the public, especially via the web. We implemented a business case to meet the requirements of the act: specifically to enhance glossary resources on our site and in general to provide our staff with the tools needed to communicate more clearly with the public. We are encouraging our staff to follow 10 simple steps to plain language.

Annual Compliance Reports

Let us know if you have trouble understanding our documents or the pages on our website. Please contact our plain language officer and plain language working group.

We hope you'll see the results of this plan. Watch this page for periodic updates as we progress!


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Application Services Division | Last Revised: July 21, 2014