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By GCN Staff

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Man filling out online census form

Census launches online option for annual community survey

The U.S. Census Bureau is making it easier for millions of Americans to participate in its ongoing American Community Survey  by making the questionnaire available online.

The ACS, an ever-changing portrait of America's towns and neighborhoods, becomes the 61st Census Bureau survey with Internet response capability, which saves on printing, paper, postage and processing costs, while maintaining security, the demographic agency said.

ACS provides data every year on more than 40 topics — giving state and local communities information to plan investments and services and to help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed annually.

The survey is sent to more than 3.5 million housing unit addresses on a rotating basis throughout the year. Households selected to participate will receive a letter in the mail with instructions about how to log on to the secure website and complete the survey online.

 “The online response option is part of an ongoing digital transformation at the Census Bureau,”  said Thomas Mesenbourg, the bureau's acting director. “The Census Bureau is transforming to make responding to surveys more convenient, conducting surveys more cost-effective and America's statistics more accessible on digital and mobile devices.”

The online option is the easiest and least expensive way to respond, the bureau said. Other options include responding by mail, phone or in-person interview.

When using the online response option, participants will have the ability to review their answers and receive help. This response option, which is secure and confidential, will be available for almost everyone in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition, the Census Bureau is adding a series of questions on computer and Internet usage. The data gathered through these questions will become available beginning in 2014.

Posted by David Hubler on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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