Hot Doc: We Count! Test census comes to town to make sure all Americans count
Residents of Savannah, 17 counties in Georgia, and three counties in South Carolina will have a special opportunity from March 23 through May 31 to help themselves, their communities, and their nation. That’s because this area is one of only two places chosen by the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2015 Census Test.
The Census Bureau is conducting the test census here to help make the next nationwide count, in 2020, more complete, accurate, and cost-efficient — which could include as much as $5 billion in savings for future collection efforts. One big feature of the test is that residents will complete the census online.
That means they will be able to fill out the questionnaire on a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. That method is just one of several new processes the Census Bureau is testing; it also will try out new ways to publicize the census and motivate people to complete the form. A state’s total population count determines how many representatives it has in Congress, and the makeup of the population within a state helps to determine voting district boundaries.
The decennial census statistics also influence decisions on road and school construction, medical services, economic development, business locations, and more. Twenty counties in South Carolina and Georgia are part of the 2015 Census Test, and all residents need to be counted.