Written by: Director Robert Groves
There has been some Internet activity lately about the possibility of using an iPhone app to answer the census. Using an iPhone app (or apps for other such devices) to answer the census is certainly the wave of the future, and an innovative way to get people to easily fill out and submit their form, thereby increasing response rates.
This is one of the many mobile options the Census Bureau is currently evaluating for future survey response via the Internet, both with some internal research and with the help of outside advisory groups.
We are looking both at new tools of data collection that make it easy for people to respond and tools that can guarantee that information people provide can be kept confidential. We have to worry about both.
It’s easy to predict that there will be many generations of technologies suitable for data collection invented over the coming years. The Census Bureau needs to stay on top of these developments to fulfill its mission to the taxpayers efficiently.
For now, we all need to remember that the 2010 Census will not use the Internet to collect data during the March-July period of activity. During that time, if you see a Web site asking you to complete the decennial census form online, it’s bogus. Don’t use it. (Our tests of Web survey capabilities will be clearly labeled as tests and requests will come from mailed letters to small samples of households.)