Census pilots tech in Puerto Rico

Census pilots tech in Puerto Rico

In preparation for the 2020 Census, which will employ technology on an unprecedented scale, the bureau will test Internet self-response, address canvassing and the bureau's custom mobile application in Puerto Rico.

The test will cover approximately 123,000 housing units across three municipalities within the area of capital city San Juan -- Carolina, Loíza and Trujillo Alto -- and is scheduled to begin April 1, 2017. This marks the first time Puerto Rico was selected a test site for the census since 1978.

Testing the modes for self-response will sharpen the Internet data collection practice, Census officials hope, as well as the process of address canvassing, and updating and validating the bureau's address records.

The bureau’s Compass app guides enumerators through the response-gathering process, registering necessary census information as well as geolocation data. 

Testing in Puerto Rico also gives the bureau ample opportunity to use multilingual data collection capabilities of the app, which currently supports English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, with the possibility of adding more languages.

In addition to final operational strategies for self-response, the final decision for the languages to be included will be made in 2018, so the results from the Puerto Rico test will play a significant role in determining if adjustments need to be made.

This article originally appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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