population data (kentoh/Shutterstock.com)

Census ramps up COVID-19 survey

The Census Bureau plans to launch a large-scale survey of households to collect information on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on American life.

In a limited-sources justification document, Census said it will leverage its data collection infrastructure to provide timely information on how changes in employment, income, education and the availability of housing, food and other consumer goods are affecting Americans to inform lawmakers as they draft policy to help restart the economy.

Census wants to launch its survey by the end of April to get data to decision-makers as soon as possible. Given the urgency, It plans to use Qualtrics, a web-based survey programming and administration cloud service, supported by Carahsoft Technology – a combination the bureau has previously used for surveys. Both Qualtrics and Carahsoft have been certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, and Qualtrics already has authority to operate with the Census Bureau.

“Due to the critical nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent and compelling need for real time data, the extensive amount of time involved in obtaining an ATO for another provider would jeopardize the expedient delivery of secure and necessary data to Federal decision makers.” Census officials said.

The $2 million acquisition for survey programming, administration, analysis and dissemination will run through April 14, 2021, with an option to extend the contract, should the impact of the pandemic continue.

“The timely information will better position the policymakers for data driven decision-making, aid with better understanding of viable healthcare solutions, and support the speed of the economic recovery including those businesses being impacted while this pandemic continues to grow exponentially,” Census said.

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