Historically, conversations around the US Census revolve around political party representation and funding. But as we move closer to the 2020 inaugural year, the Census is moving toward a digital era, and the data that is being gathered could impact citizens and the cities they live in for the next ten years.
In addition to this technological shift, there has been much conversation about President Trump’s push to have a citizenship question added. Some believe the addition would undermine the Census counts.
Did you know the United States has surveyed its citizens every ten years since 1790? And that the reference day used for the US Census has been April 1st since 1930? The same date will be used for this coming Census. Data collected has also remained virtually unchanged including things like age, genre, ethnicity, and addresses. But not everything is staying the same, including the way that we as citizens share and utilize information.
So why is accurate Census information so critical?
Funding and political representation mostly, but the value of the data is increasing in importance. Specifically, it’s in the way that state and local governments are utilizing it in both tech and innovation.
Okay so the way we use data is changing, but what does that have to do with the upcoming Census?
It all comes down to traditional vs nontraditional. As hacks and data breaches become more commonplace, the Census could a target for a data hack from both foreign countries and criminals looking for a financial gain. The sticky part is, younger generations are becoming more and more unreachable via ‘traditional’ correspondence methods like home visits, mail, or phone calls. All of that makes the 2020 Census a far more complicated one that its predecessors.
With this shift in the way certain generations communicate, the Census is also changing. For the first time ever, residents will be able to fill out the Census online. I do want to note and emphasize the ‘be able’ portion, meaning residents have the option to continue with old options or fill out their information online.
The hope with this shift is that more people will respond and, in turn, benefit local and state governments. San Jose, California Mayor, Sam Liccardo estimated that for every person the Census misses, his community can lose about $2,000. He also went on to say the messaging of the Census is equally important, as about 40 percent of his community residents were born outside of the United States.
While San Jose is just one example, it shows what is at stake for this upcoming Census and the importance of leveraging different communication methods and ensuring messaging isn’t skewed toward one particular group.
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About the Author: Taylor Genter
Taylor is the Marketing Specialist at Extract with experience in data analytics, graphic design, and both digital and social media marketing. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. Taylor enjoys analyzing people’s behaviors and attitudes to find out what motivates them, and then curating better ways to communicate with them.