During the recent 2020 Census Program Management Review webcast, Burton Reist, chief of the 2020 Census Research and Planning Office at the U.S. Census Bureau, announced there will be census tests in Maricopa County, Ariz., and the Savannah, Ga. area in 2015 to research more modern and efficient ways to count the population in the 2020 Census. The tests will explore new ways for the population to respond to the once-a-decade census, as well as more cost effective ways for census takers to follow up with households that fail to respond.
The Savannah test will primarily focus on increasing self-response to the census by providing ways to pre-register and respond via the Internet or by phone. The Savannah area was chosen for its demographic diversity, level of computer ownership and being an area that represents a specific media market. This kind of area can help the Census Bureau test new forms of digital advertising and targeted promotion for increasing response, particularly via the Internet.Hiring staff to follow up with non responding households is not needed because the main focus of the Savanna test is self-response.
The test in Maricopa County will be smaller, concentrating on following up with households that fail to respond to the census. Maricopa County has a mobile and diverse population, which will help the Census Bureau study new ways to conduct field operations and manage field staff. Conducting this test will require recruiting and hiring more than 800 temporary office and field staff. Pay ranges from $16.25 to $28.25 per hour. Recruiting will begin in early November and more information will be available at that time.
The census tests are being used to make the constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade headcount quick, easy and safe. By using technology and existing government data, the 2020 Census seeks to provide substantial taxpayer savings while maintaining a commitment to quality, accuracy and confidentiality.