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Here we are in 2015. The 2010 Census is five years behind us and the 2020 Census is five years away. Have you wondered about the next Census? How will data be collected? Will the questionnaire catch up with current technology? What happens to non-responders? Since much of our demographic data is based upon the results from each Census (whether from the Census Bureau or demographic vendors like Experian), I went looking on the Census Bureau's web site for a preview of coming attractions. And I found a page at A cost-effective 2020 Census answering my questions.
The decennial Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. If you answered the Census in 2000, you took black/blue pen to paper for either a short or long-form questionnaire. No Internet access back then. In 2010 you still used a black/blue pen on paper and answered 10 simple questions even though the Internet was integrated in much of our day-to-day life. Are we relegated to a black/blue pen on paper to answer the 2020 Census Questionnaire? Based on information at census.gov, the next Census will encourage self-response via the Internet. Nice! And for those who do not respond, other existing governmental data may be used as a supplement. This equates to cost reductions with fewer physical offices, fewer staff and less followup with non responders. In 2010 there were 500+ Census offices and more than 750,000 staff on the ground. The 2020 Census may have as few as 150 Census offices and 200,000 staff on the ground.
Technology may also influence another component of the U.S. Census - the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) database. These are reference maps, created for the Census, used to visualize geographic and statistical data. Maps are the basis for companies such as TomTom who offer enhanced versions for licensing and inclusion in navigation products. Alteryx users can find mapping layers in the Map Input, Reporting and Browse tools as backdrop references for spatial objects. As referenced on census.gov, existing maps and address lists may be updated using technology, data and GPS to collect interviews efficiently. In the past enumerators walked EVERY block in EVERY neighborhood in the United States gathering responses and information. You can read more about the Census Bureau's 155-year history of mapping here: 155 years of mapping
From what I read, these changes have the potential to save taxpayer dollars, maintain a high level of accuracy and make responding to the Census easier. So what happens next? Testing these new processes began this year on a small-scale and national basis. On April 1, 2017, Congress will be delivered the 2020 Census "topics." On April 1, 2018, "question wording" will be delivered. April 1, 2020 is Census Day! On December 31, 2020 apportionment counts are delivered to the President. Results of the Census were historically not instantaneously available but were released over a period of a few years. But who knows what WILL be available in another 5 years.
http://census.gov/ is an excellent resource for information on the Census, American Community Survey (ACS), geographies, news and events.