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The April 2011 American Community Survey Internet Test: Attitudes and Behavior Study Follow-up

Elizabeth M. Nichols


In April 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted an Internet Test in which different mailing materials and mailing strategies were used to offer an Internet reporting option for the American Community Survey (ACS). In two treatments, only an Internet reporting option was initially offered, with a paper form following in a subsequent mailing. The timing of the subsequent mailing varied. In two other treatments, both modes were offered simultaneously, but the treatments varied the amount of emphasis on the Internet option. In April and May, the Census Bureau fielded a follow-up telephone survey of approximately 1,200 ACS respondents and nonrespondents to the Internet Test survey. This follow-up study gathered information about how effectively the mailing materials for the Internet Test conveyed the response option choices. Follow-up questions focused on which components of the mailing materials or mailing strategy motivated sample households to respond by the Internet or by the paper form. Questions were also included to determine why some households did not respond at all.

This report presents results from the follow-up telephone study of respondents and nonrespondents to the 2011 ACS Internet Test. Results of the follow-up study show that the majority of respondents knew they could respond either by paper or via the Internet to the ACS. The mode choice did not seem to affect the decision not to respond. Many nonrespondents in this study claimed never to have received the ACS envelope; if they did receive the envelope, many said they did not open it because they were too busy.


Elizabeth M. Nichols. (2012). The April 2011 American Community Survey Internet Test: Attitudes and Behavior Study Follow-up . Center for Survey Measurement Research Report Series (Survey Methodology #2012-03). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Statistical Research & Methodology

Published online: March 9, 2012
Last revised: March 9, 2012


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Center for Statistical Research & Methodology | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: September 11, 2013