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Oct 20 2015

Research Seminar: 2020 Census: Program Overview, Testing, and Technological Innovations -Lisa M. Blumerman (U.S. Census Bureau)


The 2020 Census will be the most technologically advanced decennial census ever taken and like no decennial census before it. The Census Bureau is reengineering key components to bring the census into the 21st century through the use of modern technology, innovative techniques, and new data sources. At the same time, the Census Bureau's challenge is to reduce the cost of the Decennial Census program while still producing quality results. You'll be interested in this seminar if you want to learn how the Census Bureau will use technology to reengineer all its field data collection operations, training, and infrastructure; how will they use the Internet, mail contact strategies, advertising, and outreach to maximize self-response; and how will they use administrative records from federal and local sources to help reduce and optimize personal visit followup and to update its master address file with minimal on-ground canvassing.

The Census Bureau embraced the challenge of reducing costs while maintaining quality and in 2012 began its efforts by identifying the major cost drivers of the decennial census. Over the last several years, the Census Bureau has conducted extensive research and testing of those innovations that showed the most promise of significant cost savings. These innovations are focused in four areas: 1) Reengineering Address Canvassing – to reduce the need for a nationwide in-field address canvassing operation; 2) Optimizing Self-Response – to communicate the importance of the 2020 Census to the United States Population in order to generate the largest possible self-response and thus reduce the need to follow-up with nonresponding households in person; 3) Utilizing Administrative Records – to reduce the Non-Response Follow-Up workload; and 4) Reengineering Field Operations – use technology more efficiently and effectively to conduct and manage the 2020 Census field work. The Census Bureau's objective was to use results from this research to inform the design of the 2020 Census by the end of FY 2015. Those decisions have been made and now have been documented in the 2020 Census Operational Plan. During this presentation, Lisa Blumerman will summarize the decisions and describe the research and testing the Census Bureau has done in the four major innovation areas. Results will be presented from three major field tests conducted in 2015 (one focused on address list updating, one on optimizing self-response, and the third on reengineering field operations).


Lisa Blumerman is the U.S. Census Bureau's Associate Director for the Decennial Census Programs. She provides executive leadership and direction for the 2020 Census, the American Community Survey and for the Census Bureau's Geographic Programs.

From 2008 through 2013, Blumerman was Chief of the Governments Division at the Census Bureau. She was responsible for overseeing data collection and the development and release of statistics on the characteristics and key indicators of our nation’s federal, state and local governments. In this capacity, Blumerman directed and managed the Census of Governments and 25 annual and quarterly surveys that measure government activity.

Blumerman has worked at the Census Bureau since 1997. She has served as chief of the Customer Liaison and Marketing Services Office; deputy chief of the American Community Survey Office; the administrative records coordinator in the Policy Office; and chief of the Population Estimates Branch. Before coming to the Census Bureau, she served as a senior research analyst for the American Public Welfare Association.

Blumerman is a recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming Award for exceptional achievement in federal government service. The U.S. Department of Commerce has honored her contributions by awarding her a silver and two bronze medals for distinguished service in the federal government. She holds a master’s degree in demography from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in population studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.