Online Surveys and the 2020 Decennial Census: Westat to Interview Respondents About Privacy, Confidentiality Concerns

As the census moves online, the U.S. Census Bureau continues to conduct research and testing to improve response rates and address respondents’ privacy and confidentiality concerns. To learn more about this issue, the Census Bureau has selected Westat to conduct a mixed-mode survey (mail, telephone, and in-person) with a sample of decennial census respondents. The interview will focus on their privacy and confidentiality concerns in relation to what method they use to complete the census. The project is an opportunity to provide up-to-date feedback on how the web response option affects and is affected by these concerns. The value of this award is $5.1 million.

Building on instrument testing by the Census Bureau, Westat will mail a questionnaire to 90,000 census respondents. Using an adaptive design, Westat will subsample 30,000 of the nonresponders for computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) and another 5,000 for computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI). The Census Bureau will also provide Westat with another 5,000 responders to the Census Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) for followup CAPI interviews.

“Westat is honored to support the Census Bureau in its program to understand Americans’ evolving concerns about privacy and confidentiality in the big data era,” notes Brad Edwards, Westat Vice President and Director of Field Services.

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