Want to collect census data online? You might have to get more people online.

GovTech recently talked about the opportunity inherent in moving the census tracking online…

The 2020 U.S. Census will be the nation’s first high-tech count, with residents encouraged to primarily respond online.

While this has the potential to foster a more efficient Census, advocates and officials say many hard-to-count populations are not comfortable using computers. Or lack access to high-speed Internet at home. Or have cybersecurity concerns. Or don’t know how to find and fill out the Census online.

… Part of the challenge for April’s 2020 count is that Census volunteers and other advocates must help large groups of the population overcome the digital divide.

They must essentially perform digital equity work in the name of the Census. It’s a heavy lift, to be sure, but many say there is a silver lining — digital equity work for the Census can be executed in a way that has a lasting impact on underserved communities for years to come.

The article gives a special nod to the unique role of libraries…

Lowe expects many members of the community to look to the libraries as the ideal place to complete the Census, given that the library is seen as a friendly and welcoming place to many, one that is associated with government but perhaps not as overtly as a place like city hall. To encourage people to think of the library as a Census destination — as well as to understand the importance of the Census — the Dallas Public Library is integrating messaging into its community outreach efforts, which take place at schools, neighborhood events such as block parties and community centers.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Government by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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