Census readies tests ahead of 2020 headcount
- By Chase Gunter
- Nov 03, 2016
The Census Bureau plans to test new methods of counting the nation’s population that officials hope will save enumerators from physically walking an estimated 11 million blocks to verify addresses.
The address canvassing tests will begin this fall in Buncombe County, N.C., which offers a mix of urban, suburban and rural regions, and parts of St. Louis to offer an assortment of statistical areas. The two test sites will cover a total of roughly 7,500 blocks.
Testers will use geographic information systems and aerial imagery to tally the addresses in those areas and to validate and refine the technologies in advance of the 2020 headcount. Additionally, the collected data will be used to build a Master Address File of all the country's known housing units.
The 2018 end-to-end test that will validate operations, procedures, systems and field infrastructure for the 2020 Census will be conducted in Pierce County, Wash.; Providence County, R.I.; and Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, W.Va., the agency confirmed.
The tests will produce a prototype for geographic and spatial data and be a dry run for Census' new methodologies. They will cover in-field operations, mobile device applications, a new questionnaire and postal tracking systems as well as the readiness of the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing and the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing systems.
In the quarterly review, the bureau also announced the progress it has made. In fiscal 2016, 993 field representatives collected data on approximately 1 million addresses across 20,000 blocks on schedule and under budget, officials said. Census also tested its new Automated Listing and Mapping Instrument, Regional Office Survey Control and Mobile Case Management systems.
In fiscal 2017, officials plans to further test those systems and increase the number of field representatives to 1,030 to take on another 1 million addresses and 20,000 blocks.
This article first appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.
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