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Memorandum 2021.01: Assessment of 2020 Census Data Quality Processes

Memorandum 2021.01

This memorandum releases the Assessment of 2020 Census Data Quality Processes report authored by the JASON group in response to the Census Bureau’s interest in engaging external organizations in their efforts to assess data quality processes, procedures, and plans and to provide insights and recommendations on areas for improvement and areas of strength. The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report are those of the MITRE Corporation and the JASON group and should not be construed as an official government position, policy, or decision, unless designated by other documentation.

JASON is an independent group of scientists and engineers formed to work on problems of importance to the federal government in technical areas related to national security and public benefit. Founded in 1959, it has a long history of performing studies for elements of the federal government including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Intelligence Community. JASON expertise is constantly refreshed through the addition of new members and spans the fields of science and engineering, including astrophysics, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, oceanography & planetary science, physics, and various engineering disciplines. Due to extraordinary circumstances faced by the Census Bureau in 2020 such as, COVID-19, wildfires, civil unrest, and natural disasters, the Census Bureau engaged with JASON to help assess their data quality processes and procedures, and to elicit recommendations on areas for improved communication.

The Census Bureau asked JASON to:

  1. provide recommendations, suggestions, and insights supporting 2020 Census efforts to ensure and provide quality data and metrics;
  2. identify strengths in the Census Bureau plans for data quality assessments and metrics;
  3. identify weaknesses and opportunities to strengthen Census Bureau plans for data quality assessments and metrics; and
  4. provide recommendations on communicating important aspects of data quality that could accompany release of 2020 Census data products.

This report is being issued in the 2020 Census Memorandum Series in accordance with efforts to inform stakeholders of important actions related to the decennial census program, as outlined below.

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series documents significant decisions, actions, and accomplishments of the 2020 Census Program for the purpose of informing stakeholders, coordinating interdivisional efforts, and documenting important historical changes.

A memorandum generally will be added to this series for any decision or documentation that meets the following criteria:

  1. A major program level decision that will affect the overall design or have significant effect on 2020 Census operations or systems.
  2. A major policy decision or change that will affect the overall design or significantly impact 2020 Census operations or systems.
  3. A report that documents the research and testing for 2020 Census operations or systems.


Visit 2020census.gov to access the Memorandum Series, the 2020 Census Operational Plan, and other information about preparations for the 2020 Census.

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