Census questionnaires go online
No more paper surveys. The Census Bureau is planning on the 2020 census to be online.
April 1st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Census questionnaires go online

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Each month, about 300,000 households across America receive a survey in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau. Until recently, they had to be completed the old-fashioned way: pen on paper. But no more.

The Census Bureau has put its monthly American Community Survey online. Just answer the questions and hit the submit button. It's a secure site that requires a password and pin.

"It’s a convenient option for the public," said Todd Hughes, assistant division chief of the American Community Survey Office.

The first online American Community Survey was done in December. Since then, Hughes said about half the responses to the monthly survey have come in via the Internet.

The statistical survey generates data on age, sex, race and income. It also asks questions on health, where people live, veteran status and disabilities. It's the largest of the Census Bureau's surveys that's available online - 60 other surveys are also available electronically.

The online questionnaires are designed to lower cost and make the process more efficient, Hughes said. They will also enhance accuracy.

On paper forms, people sometimes check multiple answers to a question. Online, they can't do that.

It's hoped that in large part, the next decennial census in 2020 will be conducted online. The Census Bureau is certainly planning on that, Hughes said,

That could be huge considering that in 2010, the government printed 360 million questionnaires. Stacked one on top of another, a pile of the census forms would stand about 29 miles high, more than five times higher than Mount Everest.

Yes, the trees are smiling.

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Filed under: Census • Diversity • Who we are
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. AniyunweahCherokee

    I label myself as mixed on the census. If they have no biracial option, I will choose to not answer.

    April 10, 2013 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. AniyunweahCherokee

    Most American Indians dont care about mascots...now the screaming Indian looks stupid no matter how to slice the pie, same goes with the fighting irish logo. But I could care less. My opinion doesnt matter, just that im of Native and Irish descent. Im Keetowah Cherokee, Blackfoot Indian and Irish.

    April 10, 2013 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. D

    Looks like CNN switched the Indian-named teams article for this one, eh? Looks like it happened to Phil too. Very strange.

    April 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. D

    "Only how a native american feels matters"?! Really? Who died and made you or native americans king? its just a name, get over it already. If it bothers you so much, go make your own team: the Chicago Caucasions, Wyoming Whities, Atlanta Asians...whatever. There are so many important problems in the country and world, and idiots waste time, money and patience over stupid stuff like this.

    April 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Phil Muse

    Has it ever occurred to Ms. Harjo and others of her mind that teams name themselves after American Indians for reasons of pride because their namesakes had a long and glorious history as brave and resourceful warriors? For instance, the Seminole nation, using their knowledge of the Florida Everglades to good advantage, successfully fought a thirty year war against the United States. The Cleveland Indians took on their nickname to honor of a native American, a teammate who died young. (And incidentally, no baseball team was ever happier for a change: they had previously been called the "Spiders"!) You don't see Americans of Scandinavian descent getting outraged about the Minnesota Vikings, or Irish Americans taking Notre Dame to task.

    April 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |