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Release Number CB14-125
Component ID: #ti1675468305

Test Will Research Ways to Save Money on 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that today marks Census Day for the 2014 Census Test in parts of Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. This is the reference day for measuring the population of the test area. The test, during which participants are encouraged to fill out a census survey on the Internet and mobile devices, is part of efforts to explore innovative and cost-saving survey methods for the 2020 Census.

"D.C. and Maryland residents who participate now in this test are helping us find ways to reduce taxpayer costs for the 2020 Census," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "The census is mandated by the Constitution and is fundamental to our democracy, and by participating today, D.C. and Maryland residents are contributing to research on the effectiveness and efficiency of new operations, which will inform major design decisions made in late 2015 for the 2020 Census."

The 2014 Census Test will research, on a small scale, new methods and advanced technologies to make the constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade headcount quick, easy and secure with a goal of saving up to $5 billion in operating costs for the 2020 Census. Through the smart use of technology and information already available from government sources, the 2020 Census seeks to provide substantial taxpayer savings while maintaining a commitment to quality, accuracy and confidentiality.

The test strategies encourage householders to respond by Internet to reduce the reliance on paper questionnaires. The Census Bureau will also test strategies to efficiently follow up with households that do not self-respond.

Component ID: #ti487697889

Areas of Research for the 2014 Census Test for a Cost-Effective Census

  • Use of Internet: The goal for 2020 is to have as much as 55 percent of the population respond online, reducing the need to print, mail and process paper questionnaires. The test researches the Internet both as a self-response option and as a contact mode prior to the survey.
  • Information already available from government sources: The most expensive part of a census is following up with households that do not respond. The test researches the use of information already available from government sources to gather information for those households that do not respond.
  • Automate operations: The 2014 Census Test researches the use of mobile devices used by field staff to enumerate households that do not self-respond.

Component ID: #ti487697888

Participating in the 2014 Census Test

For the test, respondents should fill out the questionnaire based on information about their household as of July 1, 2014, which is Census Day.

Respondents to the 2014 Census Test are encouraged to use the Internet to fill out the questionnaire, thus reducing reliance on paper and having the potential to produce savings for taxpayers. Although Internet data collection was not offered for the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau has been using it for the American Community Survey and other surveys for several years now and will test how to best use it for response to the 2020 Census.

In addition, to conduct the test, the Census Bureau is continuing to hire 1,000 temporary office and field staff in the Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md., area. Pay ranges from $14 to $21.50 an hour. Prospective applicants can call 1-888-480-1639 for information on how to apply.



Virginia Hyer
Public Information Office

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