I know you’ve probably heard, seen billboards, and been sent post card reminders to encourage your participation in the 2010 Census. Seems like we’ve spent a lot of money reminding people: 10 questions, 10 minutes.
In the past, many Americans actually received the census in two parts. The first part was the “short” form. This was basically a headcount of every person in the U.S. It asked age/race/sex/ethnicity and relationships within a household. The second part was the “long” form that went into more depth, with additional questions regarding income, education, occupation, commuting, migration and other significant data.
In 2010, there will only be the “short” form. Why? In 2000, 16 million households answered the 2000 “long” form. But in 2005, the Census “long” form had simply become an annual survey of 2.5 million households that included the same topics as in the long form from several years prior. Obviously, with a much smaller sampling now, there is a greater probability of a higher sampling error.
Seems like we have heard (and spent) more money this time around to remind ourselves of a survey that provides significantly less information than prior census surveys. The budget for this project was estimated at $130 million on spent media. It would be very interesting to know how much is being spent this year vs. years past since we will be receiving significantly less information for the amount of dollars spent.
Is this the concept of less is more? I’m not so sure…