By mandate, the US Census Bureau is supposed to survey to find out the number of people who live in the country every ten years. The Bureau’s goal is to count every American, exactly once, in the right place to figure out the demographics of the country. As the amount of people in the US has grown, the task of figuring out who lives where has become even more complicated. However, by utilizing the latest advances in technology, the Census Bureau aims to get its job done faster.
Modern Methods of Data Collection
The Census Bureau intends to utilize technology such as satellite imagery, and digital maps along with a plethora of other tools to verify the vast majority of addresses in-office. Estimates from the Bureau indicate that as many as 65% of the population can be checked this way, meaning that site visits only need to be done for 35% of all the individuals that need to be counted. While efficiency is necessary for the Bureau, the upcoming 2020 elections suggest that accuracy is also of significant concern. The data the Bureau collects will be used to determine federal aid packages across the US based on populations and demand.
Some Issues Remain
Despite the use of new technology to aid the process, the population of the country is now more mobile and dynamic than ever before. Increasingly complex housing arrangements and a diverse populace make the business of demographic delineation a concern. Despite that, the Bureau has already cut down on its use of workforce for the 2020 census, with the number of regional offices halved since the department’s 2010 attempt.
The Bureau aims to address many of the issues by giving the citizens more agency in being noticed and recorded. Self-response and encouraging follow-up actions help the Bureau leverage the very people they are trying to account for. By focusing on the areas that have the most demographic changes since the 2010 Census, the Bureau also cuts down on the amount of work they need to do to adapt the numbers to other areas with less change in population demographics. While these innovative concepts are a blessing for the Bureau, it remains to be seen whether the increased speed will lead to better results.