Welcome to the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Statistics Census Research Node:
Data Integration, Online Data Collection, and Privacy Protection for Census 2020.
We were one of eight nodes funded by the National Science Foundation from 2011-2017 to develop new statistical tools and engage our community in problems related to the implemenation, design, and analysis of the United States decennial census. See below for a summary of our goals; more details can be found in the above links.
Node Project Summary
Census-taking around the world is under assault, due to concerns about
privacy, costs, and diminishing response rates. Our node's proposal responded
to these issues in the following ways:
- Privacy: While we have done and are doing extensive research on
confidentiality and privacy in principle, this node focused on the practical problems of insuring confidentiality and privacy in the Census process as it is likely to develop, while not losing sight
of the purpose of the Census to produce useable data both for public and
for private purposes.
- Costs: We pursued two possible routes to minimize costs
of future censuses. We think that administrative records could be used
effectively to create an initial census frame. There is no reason why
the federal government needs to collect the same information repeatedly.
A second idea is the possibility of an online census
form as a full or partial replacement for the traditional mailing
method of census-taking. This idea has to be studied for accuracy, for
preservation of privacy and confidentiality, as well as for cost.
- Diminishing Response Rates: A more efficient census would allow
resources to be concentrated on the most difficult-to-reach subpopulations.
To some extent, the response rate problem is an intractable issue of
social change, however we studied new ways to encourage participation
through experiments that study participatory response.
Our node consisted of a multi-faceted methodological research
program to assist the Census Bureau in increasing census accuracy for
2020, while at the same time decreasing total census cost. In addition, we used our program to engage colleagues and students, both at Carnegie
Mellon University and more broadly, in thinking about research issues of direct
relevance to the decennial census and other Census Bureau programs.
NCRN Program Info NCRN
; Northwestern; University of Colorado/University of Tennessee;
University of Michigan; University of Missouri; University of Nebraska