FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2003 Public Information Office CB03-CN.02 (301) 763-3691/457-3620 (fax) (301) 457-1037 (TDD) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org On the Road to Census 2010 Census Bureau to Test Changes in Questionnaire, New Response Technology The Census Bureau announced today that beginning later this month it will conduct the 2003 National Census Test, a nationwide survey of a quarter-million homes designed to test changes to questions about race and Hispanic origin and study new response technologies. Results of the survey could be used to improve the next census in 2010. Households selected for the test will be notified between Jan. 23 and 25. That will be followed soon after by the delivery of a questionnaire and, for some households, information about alternative response options. "As an alternative to mailing back their questionnaire, some of the households in the test will be given the option of responding via the Internet or of using their telephone and interactive voice recognition," said Preston J. Waite, associate director for decennial census activities. "The goal is to identify ways to increase the initial response to the census and thus reduce the more costly and time-consuming nonresponse follow-up where interviewers must go to these households to collect the data." The past four censuses have relied on the combination of mailout/mailback questionnaires and personal visits. Census 2000 was the first to offer an Internet response option, albeit on a limited basis. To improve comparability with race data collected by other surveys and agencies, the Census Bureau is contemplating a major revision dropping the "Some other race" category for the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey. Extensive testing will enable the Census Bureau to evaluate the effects of this on race reporting, especially by groups that commonly report as "Some other race." At the same time, the test census will be looking at how different wording of the questions, examples and instructions affect the quality of responses to both the race and the Hispanic-origin questions.