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The Census Bureau will conduct field testing for the 2010 census in Colquitt, Thomas and Tift counties in Georgia, Lake County in Illinois and a portion of northwestern Queens County in New York. The tests will take place in 2004.
"These field tests build upon Census 2000 successes and allow us to be innovative and expand the use of technology to make the 2010 Census the best ever," said Census Bureau Director C. Louis Kincannon.
A major innovation that will be studied in 2004 is equipping field interviewers with hand-held computing devices to collect questionnaire data, and to find their assigned work areas. The devices also will include global positioning system (GPS) technology that can improve the process of assigning addresses to their correct geographic location. In addition to studying new technologies, the 2004 census test will examine a variety of methodological and operational improvements.
Approximately 450,000 housing units will be involved in the test across the three sites. The Census Bureau estimates it will hire a total of about 3,000 local residents across all sites for temporary positions during peak operations. The Bureau will lease office space in each location.
Additional field tests are planned for 2006 that will build on operational, methodological and technological answers to be provided by the 2004 census test. In 2008, a full dress rehearsal census will be conducted in final preparation for 2010. In addition to these field studies, the 2010 Census planning effort uses mail surveys, cognitive testing and input from a wide range of advisors and stakeholders.