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Aug 17 -- 1) news release -- The U.S. Census Bureau has formally invited the public to share their input and ideas for an improved 2030 Census. The invitation comes in the form of a Federal Register Notice published today. The notice marks the start of a 90-day response window.

The Census Bureau is in the early stages of planning for the next census – a process that includes years of research and testing to prepare for the complex task of counting every person living in the United States each decade. By mid-decade, in 2024, the Census Bureau expects to decide the initial operational design for the 2030 Census – the “big picture” plan for the census. That milestone is followed by refining procedures and putting technology and other infrastructure in place for the national count in 2030.

As part of the planning efforts, the public is invited to share feedback on how the Census Bureau can improve the public’s experience during the 2030 Census. With this input, the Census Bureau aims to better reach and count historically undercounted people, overcome challenges and encourage everyone to respond to the 2030 Census. Public input is needed now so it can inform the Census Bureau’s decisions on the initial operational design, along with the findings of dozens of research projects underway.

Through the Federal Register Notice, the Census Bureau is looking for recommendations on:

-- Reaching and motivating everyone. Everybody counts in the census. The Census Bureau is committed to addressing challenges that may have contributed in the past to the recurring undercount of several groups. These include the Hispanic or Latino population, the Black or African American population, the American Indian or Alaska Native population living on a reservation, people who reported being of some other race, and young children. With the public’s assistance, the Census Bureau aims to better understand how to reverse this trend, more effectively reach these populations and motivate everyone to respond to the 2030 Census.
-- Technology. The Census Bureau seeks input on what technological advancements could make responding to the census more user-friendly, increase the percentage of people who respond on their own and facilitate collecting data in person when necessary.
-- New data sources. For the 2030 Census, the Census Bureau is looking to use high-quality, alternative data sources wherever possible. Combined with traditional methods, the Census Bureau aims to reduce public burden while continuing to produce high-quality data products. The Census Bureau is interested in learning about new data sources, and methods of using them, that could improve data quality for the 2030 Census and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness.
-- Contacting the public. Plans for the 2030 Census must include tailored contact strategies that maximize the number of households responding on their own. The Census Bureau is seeking recommendations about tools and messages to use in inviting people to respond and asks for help defining how often to reach out to each household.
-- Providing support to the public. The Census Bureau asks for input on how to support people as they respond – whether online, by phone, by mail, in English or in another language – and how to improve access for people with disabilities.

For reference, the 2020 Census Operational Plan and Detailed Operational Plans provide information about how the Census Bureau designed and implemented the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau will consider the public’s feedback along with lessons learned from the 2020 Census. The public can submit comments in two ways:

-- Email comments to <DCMD.2030.Research@census.gov>.
-- Submit comments online through the Federal Register Notice linked from the 2030 Census webpage.

Comments must be received by November 15, 2022. Comments should be specific, detailed, clear and identify which topic(s) each comment addresses.

The Census Bureau will summarize and share the input received publicly. While the Census Bureau may not be able to implement all recommendations received, each idea and recommendation received will be given careful consideration as the agency researches, tests and plans the 2030 Census operational design.

News release: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2022/designing-2030-census.html

2) FRN: Soliciting Input or Suggestions on 2030 Census Preliminary Research https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-17647  

SUMMARY: Early planning for the 2030 Census program began in Fiscal Year 2019 with building the program foundation and preparing for the official program kick-off and start of the Design Selection Phase in October 2021. The primary goal of the Design Selection Phase is to conduct the research, testing, and operational planning and design work to inform the selection of the 2030 Census operational design. We are issuing this notice to engage with our stakeholders on the development and implementation strategies that improve the way people participate in the 2030 Census. This notice also includes specific topics of interest to help guide input from stakeholders and other members of the public.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 2020, the Census Bureau conducted the most automated, modern, and dynamic decennial census in our nation's history. This included design changes that made it as easy and efficient as possible for people to respond to the census by offering response options through the internet and by telephone, in addition to the traditional paper response, thereby allowing people to respond to the census from any location at any time. This helped to get more people to respond on their own, which, in turn, reduced the need to conduct expensive in-person follow-up for the enumeration.

The 2020 Census Program used advertisements to motivate people to respond, and used different approaches to reach demographic groups and geographic areas. The Census Bureau's partnership program worked closely with national and local community, recreation, and faith-based organizations to host both in-person and virtual events within their communities. In addition, census workers left materials at households to encourage self-response.

Our Post-Enumeration Survey and Demographic Analysis estimates indicate that we may have had undercounts of certain populations, in particular the Black or African American population, the American Indian and Alaska Native population living on the reservations, the Hispanic or Latino population, and young children aged 0-4. The Census Bureau seeks input on potential new methods and techniques to reach these populations.

Full details of the 2020 Census Program can be found in the 2020 Census Operational Plan. Two vintages of this operational plan are available online at: https://www.census.gov/​programs-surveys/​decennial-census/​decade/​2020/​planning-management/​plan/​op-plans.html.

The version 4.0 of the 2020 Census Operational Plan, published in early 2019, describes the mature plan for the census prior to the production phase of the 2020 Census. Version 5.0 of the 2020 Census Operational Plan provides some operational updates that summarize the as-performed state of the census operations in Chapter 5, as well as some other noteworthy schedule and pre-2020 test result updates. Version 4.0 of the 2020 Census Operational Plan document is considered the more complete document of the plans for performing the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau plans to build on the experiences of the 2020 Census and identify further, potential operational updates to develop the 2030 Census design. Early planning for the 2030 Census is now underway, and includes conducting research, testing, and operational planning and design work to inform the selection of the 2030 Census operational design. This work will factor in past census experiences, evolving technology, and stakeholder feedback.

The 2030 Census program could encounter multiple factors that the census design will have to address, including:

• Constrained fiscal environment: Budget uncertainties place significant pressure on funding available for the research, testing, design, and development work.
• Rapidly changing use of technology: The rapid pace of change in the use of technology makes it challenging to plan for and adequately test the use of technologies before they become obsolete.
• Distrust in government: Concerns about the security and privacy of information given to the government impact response rates and pose difficulties in data collection.
• Declining response rates: Response rates for surveys and censuses have declined as people are overloaded with requests for information and concerned about privacy.
• Increasingly diverse population: The demographic and cultural makeup of the U.S. is increasing in complexity, requiring tailored outreach efforts to encourage response.
• Informal, complex living arrangements: Households are becoming more diverse and dynamic, making it a challenge to associate an identified person with a single location.
• A mobile population: The U.S. continues to be a highly mobile nation, which makes it more challenging to locate individuals and solicit their participation.

The Census Bureau is seeking input from the public that could help mitigate these challenges and encourage people to respond to the census. The census count benefits from broad participation. We specifically are interested in strategies that may improve or enhance the way people respond to the 2030 Census on their own.

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