Census historian weighs in on electronic future of census





As hundreds of thousands of workers knock on doors this summer to collect information for the 2010 Census, momentum is mounting to drag future Censuses into the 21st century....

"Using the Postal Service was an enormous innovation in 1970" when Census forms were first mailed (previous Censuses were door-to-door surveys), says Margo Anderson, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an expert on Census history. "We're 40 years later, and the mail isn't the official way most people get their information or communicate. It's really outmoded."...

Getting a jump-start on the 2020 Census is vital, says Anderson, the history professor.

"Should we change this? If so, how?" she says. "Ultimately, a really, really big change might need legislation. Otherwise, you'll find yourself in 2017 saying, 'Gee, we should've done this years ago.' "...


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