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Release Number CB15-52
Component ID: #ti927856300

Research Aims to Save Taxpayers Billions in 2020

Beginning today, residents in the Savannah, Ga., area can fill out the 2015 Census Test questionnaire online. The test census will help the U.S. Census Bureau evaluate technologies and advertising methods that will improve the efficiency of 2020 Census operations, thereby saving money while maintaining the Census Bureau’s commitment to quality data.

The Savannah area was selected for the test census for a number of reasons, including its population density, demographic diversity and the mixed rates of Internet access among the region’s residents. This allows the Census Bureau to test various digital outreach methods for different population groups in a self-contained media market.

“Coastal Empire residents who participate in this test now are helping us find ways to reduce up to $5 billion in taxpayer costs for the 2020 Census,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “The decennial census is mandated by the Constitution and is fundamental to our democracy.”

Through research in 20 counties in Georgia and South Carolina, the Census Bureau can identify strategies that increase online participation and the percentage of residents who complete the survey without a follow-up visit from a census worker.

“The information we get from each census is critical to laying the foundation for how a community plans its economic development, chooses its legislators and decides its priorities when it comes to public services,” said Lisa Blumerman, the Census Bureau’s associate director for decennial census programs. “The Census Bureau is putting into place cutting-edge technology to make it more convenient for residents to respond to surveys.”

The test census opening on March 23 follows a one-month registration period called Notify Me, during which residents were encouraged to sign up to receive an email or text message when it came time to complete the test. The test census will run through May 31.

“The census is the foundation for every aspect of our civic life,” said Thurmond Neill Tillman, a census partnership specialist in Savannah. “The Savannah area has a unique opportunity to be among the first communities to help test online self-response and digital outreach. The results of this test will help the Census Bureau make decisions that could result in substantial costs savings in 2020.”

Census Day 2015 — a community event on April 1 — will celebrate participation in the test and the many ways in which census data are used to improve neighborhoods across the nation.

Residents of the following 20 counties in the Savannah area are involved in the test census:

  • Georgia — Appling, Bacon, Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Montgomery, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs and Wayne.
  • South Carolina — Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper.

About the 2015 Census Test

The Census Bureau is researching modern and cost-efficient methods for the population to exercise its civic obligation to be counted in the 2020 Census. Whether through the Internet, telephone or traditional paper questionnaires, the Census Bureau is committed to making the mandatory once-a-decade headcount quick, easy and safe for all to participate. There are a number of tests planned for 2015, each with different goals and objectives.


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