By Terri Jo Neff |
The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced it wants the public to share ideas and comments about how the 2030 Census can be improved. The deadline for responding is Nov. 15, according to a Federal Register Notice.
The Census Bureau is in the early stages of planning the next decennial census, which includes “doing a deep dive on 2020 Census Data Quality,” the announcement states.
This is of particular interest in Arizona, where the Census Bureau estimated earlier this year that Hispanics and Native Americans were undercounted. The undercount in population is believed by many census observers to have cost Arizona a 10th seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
By late 2024, the agency expects to outline its initial operational design for the 2030 Census, followed by refining procedures and putting technology and other infrastructure in place for the national count in April 2030.
As part of the planning efforts, the public is invited to comment on how the Census Bureau can improve the public’s census experience. Particular attention will be paid to suggestions on how to better reach and count historically undercounted people.
“Public input is needed now so it can inform the Census Bureau’s decisions on the initial operational design, along with the findings of dozens of research projects underway,” according to the announcement.
Particular attention will be paid to more effectively reaching mobile populations as well as people living in informal, complex living arrangements. Planners are also interested in suggestions related to technology that can make responding to the census more user-friendly and enhance the efforts of census takers.
Census officials are also interested in better understanding additional data sources (administrative records or other data sources) and methods that could increase census operational efficiency and effectiveness and improve data quality, as well as tools and messaging that should be used to reach out to each household.
Another area for suggestions and comments involves how the Census Bureau can increase census access for people with disabilities, as well as improving support for the public in responding online, by phone, by mail, in English, or in another language.
Decennial census data is confidential under federal law for 72 years to protect respondents’ privacy. Data collected from the first census in 1790 through 1950 is available for free at most public libraries or from several pay-to-view online services.
Records of the 1960 to 2020 censuses can only be obtained by the person named in the record (or their heir) by submitting a required form.