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"Why We Ask" Mail Package Insert Test

Sarah K. Heimel, Dorothy Barth, Megan Rabe

The American Community Survey provides vital information about our nation and its people, though it may not be obvious to respondents why each question on the survey is asked. Having a better understanding of why the Census Bureau asks each question and how the data from their responses are used to benefit their community has shown to be an effective means of addressing respondent concerns. A new insert was developed for inclusion in a mailing to respondents; the insert provided short summaries of why the Census Bureau asked each series of questions. This research was conducted to assess whether housing units that received the insert showed any changes in unit response rates or item response rates, and what the subsequent cost impact would be of any changes in response rate.

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