The Census Goes Digital

Genealogists are usually experts when it comes to the census records in the countries where their ancestors lived. However, did you know that the 2020 U.S. census will use the internet to answer census questions, rather than filling out a paper form or providing those answers to a census taker in person, at their home?

That should be cheaper – a plus for a budget-strapped Census Bureau – and could help ensure maximum turnout and accuracy of the count. However, not everyone has internet access or is willing to fill out the census forms online. For those individuals, census officials will target old-fashioned “snail mail” forms and in-person visits to those locations, without needing to spend time chasing households that have already responded.

If everyone responds digitally, the census online system will have to handle nearly 130 million responses – one for each household in the country. However, even that will not be perfect. For instance, many of the responses may be sent by computers or smartphones that have been hacked or have malicious software installed.

One potential problem this raises is that someone trying to respond to the census may find themself instead submitting their information to some other group, one that seeks to illegitimately harvest their personal data for profit.

You can read more in an article by Naomi Schalit in The Conversation web site at:

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