Counting on innovation for census 2020

The woman leading the 2020 enumeration of the American population says well-laid plans will be the key to success.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Bureau of the Census

The Census Bureau's Lisa Blumerman says the agency is "bringing the decennial census into the 21st century."

For the Census Bureau, the plan's the thing, and it likely won't change much.

"We're bringing the decennial census into the 21st century," Lisa Blumerman, associate director for Decennial Census Programs, told FCW in a Jan. 15 conversation. "This census is going to be like no other census."

At the start of a critical year, Blumerman expressed confidence in the bureau's ambitious, technology-laden plan for the 2020 enumeration, calling it a firm foundation for controlled innovation.

The Government Accountability Office has called on the bureau to accelerate crucial build-or-buy decisions to ensure that all technology tools are online for end-to-end testing, but Blumerman defended the bureau's timeline.

"There's risk any time you change a plan," she said, adding that Census officials are due to start making those decisions in mid-March, with most key choices finalized before end-to-end testing starts in 2017 and ramps up in 2018.

"That is the right timing for us," Blumerman said.

Under a plan aimed at modernization, people will be able to respond via the Internet and tests of technological solutions are being layered into every step of the process, she added.

Furthermore, the bureau has already run tests involving census takers using iOS and Android mobile devices. The mobile strategy won't be finalized until October 2017, but Blumerman said a device-as-a-service model, in which a contractor is responsible for the hardware and Census supplies the mobile applications, "appears to have great promise" for 2020.

Contractors will have opportunities to get involved with in the census well before then, though. The 2020 Census Questionnaire Assistance contract, which covers support for online respondents, is due to be awarded in June.

A final request for proposals for the 2020 Census Integrated Communications contract, which deals with Internet-enabled outreach and advertising, should be released by the end of the month and is scheduled for award in August.

And then there's the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing program. GAO has expressed concerns about the 14-project modernization initiative, but Blumerman said that if it's done right, CEDCaP will fold data from all the bureau's surveys under one IT architecture. Census conducts more than 100 surveys each year.

"CEDCaP is about good government at its very best," Blumerman said. "We're on track with it."

Census' next quarterly Program Management Review, on Jan. 22, will focus on solutions architecture, but Blumerman stressed the fact that Census is not flying blind. The bureau has long had a vision of how the 2020 enumeration will come together.

"We already have a draft solutions architecture," she said. "It's not that we're sitting around saying that we don't know what the infrastructure will look like. That's crazy."

Blumerman said the bureau's plans are solid, and at least for fiscal 2016, Census is receiving enough funding to get the job done.

But the planning never ends. "We're already starting to think about what the 2030 census might look like," she said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.