Skip Header


Census Day 2015 in Maricopa County and Savannah Will Help Determine Scope and Scale of Planned 2020 Census Innovations

Release Number CB15-63
Component ID: #ti2106747777

Test Results Could Yield Billions in Savings

Two locations — Maricopa County, Ariz., and the Savannah, Ga., area — are celebrating “Census Day” today as test sites for the most fundamentally redesigned census in U.S. history.  Five years before the actual Census Day on April 1, 2020, these and other tests are telling census planners whether new technology and innovative methods can work as planned in a real-world census environment. The ultimate goal is an accurate census that is more efficient and more cost-effective than any other in our nation’s history.

“We estimate that up to $5 billion in savings could result from providing an Internet response option, automating field operations, repurposing existing information and other innovations,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “But timing is critical. By 2018, we must lock in our plans. This will give us the time we need to build out our systems and ensure that the technology can handle the capacity the 2020 Census requires.”

About the 2015 Census Test in Savannah

The Savannah area test focuses on ways to increase “self-response” since most of the expenses of a census are spent following up with nonresponding households. Savannah’s population density, demographic diversity and the mixed rates of Internet access among its residents were key to its site selection.

Test goals include:

  • Enabling an online response without a unique identification number.
  • Reaching designated areas, including hard-to-count areas, using advertising and targeted social media.
  • Motivating respondents with promotional and partnership approaches.

About the 2015 Census Test in Maricopa

Operations in Maricopa County include testing innovations in “nonresponse follow-up,” the costly in-person visits to households that did not fill out the census form. Maricopa County’s mobile and diverse population will help the Census Bureau study new ways to conduct field operations and manage field staff.

Test goals include:

  • Testing computer-based training for field staff.
  • Testing automated management of work assignments.
  • Capturing data directly into a smartphone, rather than on paper.
  • Testing whether allowing employees to use their own mobile device to capture census data is cost-efficient and effective.
  • Testing a streamlined approach to field staff management.
  • Testing how well information already provided to the government, such as tax forms or other records (existing government data sources), could fill the gaps in data collection caused by vacant and nonresponding households.

More About the Road to the 2020 Census

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.


Public Information Office


  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
Comments or suggestions?
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?
Back to Header