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Address Canvassing Operation Begins

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When dealing with a diverse nation of over 330 million people living in more than 140 million housing units, the challenges of conducting a census can be quite complex. Our goal is to conduct a complete and accurate census – but, before we can do that, we need to establish where to count. We need to make sure we have a list of all the correct addresses to ensure that everyone living in the United States is invited to participate in the census and is counted in the correct location.

Address canvasser verifying an address.

As in prior censuses, we will be reviewing 100% of the nation’s address list—the difference this time around is we don’t have to do it all on foot. This month, up to 40,000 temporary field staff began reviewing and updating the nation’s address list for 35% of the country – about 50 million addresses. This decade, and concluding this past March, we used satellite imagery to detect areas where housing changes were occurring. The fieldwork focuses on areas where new addresses were added or removed over the last decade, or where change is expected to occur. Staff examined millions of census blocks nationally, comparing housing units visible in newer satellite imagery with older imagery.  We already reviewed 65% of addresses without the need for fieldwork thanks to the advancement of technology and innovation over the last 10 years.

The purpose of the Address Canvassing Operation is to deliver a complete and accurate address list and spatial database for census takers. And, to determine the type and address characteristics for each living quarter in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The technology advances and our continued partnerships with the U.S. Postal Service and with tribal, federal, state and local government partners, will help us have our most complete address list ever.

The design for the 2020 Census is a design for the 21st century. We are relying on advances in technology and available data to reduce cost, maximize quality, minimize risk and do an even better job protecting respondent confidentiality. With Census Day (April 1, 2020) fast approaching, our goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

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