U.S. Census Using Interactive Maps to Make Accurate Head Counts

The 2010 U.S. Census is just around the corner.  Many of you will probably be getting inquires in the mail very soon if you haven’t already.  I received a letter at the end of last week saying that it is coming within the next ten days.  The Census comes around once a decade, and it’s a very big challenge to get a head count of everyone living in this country.

This 2000 census mail participation rates interactive map is powered by Google Maps and is as simple as entering a zip code or your city and state.  From here you can see 2000 census participation from the mail campaign that was launched ten years ago.  Besides being interesting data in itself you are probably wondering why this data is important.  This data is extremely valuable to census bureau members in those regions so that based on previous data they can target communities that will probably be difficult to get an accurate head count from.

2000 Census Mail Data Returns of Lousiana

The mapping tool is based on the Census Bureau’s Track Level Planning Database.  They have already identified six population and six housing characteristics associated with low mailing responses in 2000.  By knowing this they can hopefully proactively do other things to gather this hard-to-get data.  With this knowledge, the 2010 Census Hard-To-Count Interactive Map was created.

LA 2010 Hard-To-Count Census Map

The identified characteristics are as follows…

Six person characteristics are:

  • Language Isolation
  • Unemployment
  • Mobility
  • Below Poverty Level
  • Receiving Public Assistance
  • No High School Diploma

Six housing characteristics are:

  • Crowded Housing
  • Multi-Unit Buildings
  • Lack of a Telephone in Home
  • Vacancy Rate
  • Renter Occupied
  • Complex Households

Bottom line the tools were created to help groups promoting the 2010 Census across the nation focus on the right locations with the right campaigns to get the most accurate data.  Also, because of these twelve characteristics it tells groups what the specific problem in that area is so that they can combat it accordingly.  This is a great example of how interactive maps can help groups be more effective in the efforts through visualizing the data.

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