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US Census Bureau News Release
                      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: 2000usa@census.gov
                                 
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.

 
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office |  Last Revised: November 17, 2008