The U.S. Constitution requires a census of all residents every ten years. However, the effort for the 2020 Census is in turmoil. (See http://bit.ly/2uAbHl7 and http://bit.ly/2xiqlCb for two of my recent articles describing the chaos.) In the last two or three collections of census data, the time required to plan the census, hire the right people, and to train them required 3 or 4 years of advance planning. Unfortunately, there is only 2 years and a few months left until the next scheduled census. This creates a big question: how to plan, hire, and train the enumerators (people who take the census) in this short time?
Now the Census Bureau has a new suggestion: use Postal Service employees to perform the census.
A notice in the Federal Register asks for comments about the proposal, even though little information is given about the proposal.
The Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pilot of USPS Postal Carriers as Census Enumerators During the 2018 End-to-End Census Test states:
“The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.”
It also states:
“Method of Collection”
“Census Bureau staff will train Postal Carriers to successfully conduct enumeration to complete the activity. Postal Carriers will be sworn to uphold the same confidentiality as Census Bureau employees. They will perform enumeration functions using the same procedures and automation as other enumerators during the hours of 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, variable weekend hours, and both inside and outside the geographic constraints of their assigned routes.”
The Proposal suggests conducting pilot studies in two small towns: North Attleboro, Massachusetts and Warwick, Rhode Island. While the two towns are in two different states, they are actually only about 25 miles apart. Both are in The Providence, Rhode Island, suburbs.
There is more to the notice. You can read all of it at http://bit.ly/2hl7QDd.
Written comments must be submitted on or before November 20, 2017.
My thanks to the several newsletter readers who sent me messages about the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register.