Using Census Bureau Technology to Help

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

The Census Bureau is at its best when it develops new techniques and technology to improve its own processes. Whenever we see a good opportunity to share the techniques, we do. The U.S. Census Bureau recently partnered with USAID in providing technical assistance to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics for its 2011 Population Census through the deployment of the Census Bureau’s integrated Computer Assisted Data Entry (iCADE) technology.

To deploy the iCADE system for Bangladesh’s 2011 Population Census, the Census Bureau provided the following support, training, and guidance: (1) the creation of the Population Census forms in Bengali with 9 weeks of on-site training and support in India for printing, assembly, quality assurance, and shipping of 330,000 enumeration books; (2) support and training in developing commercial print contracts, hardware procurement oversight with the United Nations, and the design and deployment of the equipment for the telecommunications network infrastructure; and (3) the design and implementation of the processing center and iCADE system, along with the training of Bangladesh staff to develop data edits and data analysis capture reports. These efforts required up to 10 Census Bureau team members working side-by-side with Bangladesh staff and vendors to ensure a successful data capture operation and timely release of the data.

These data were captured using the iCADE data capture technology with Census Bureau personnel support, and enabled the Bangladesh government to release preliminary counts within 4 months of enumeration. To get a sense of the efficiency of this work, during the 2001 Bangladesh Population Census, it took two years to publish the preliminary population census data. From two years to 4 months is a 83% increase in the speed of delivery! Not bad; not bad at all.

A portion of the Census Bureau team still remains in Bangladesh to provide on-site support, training, and knowledge transfer to our counterparts in Bangladesh. This team will remain in place to support their goal of completing iCADE data capture of the Bangladesh Population Census by December 31, 2011.

Learning from using our technology in diverse settings helps us improve our technology. We know that staying still on statistical design, collection, and analysis means falling behind. We thank the Bangladeshi officials for giving us an opportunity to learn in their environment and to serve them at the same time.

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2 Responses to Using Census Bureau Technology to Help

  1. Carlos M Torres says:

    I see this effort as a meaningful advance in international relations and not just mere numbers gathering. Having had the opportunity to be employed by Census 2010, I can attest to the important of a highly coordinated effort in ‘censing’ a population. It seems that preparation goes to the Nth degree in this type of operation. Congratulations!

  2. John Doe says:

    Nice, but is this the best use of taxpayer dollars? To help Bangladesh? If we are cutting people to save money how do we afford to send others to help foreign countries?

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