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2010 Census: Communications Campaign Has Potential to Boost Participation

GAO-09-525T Published: Mar 23, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2009.
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A complete and accurate census is becoming an increasingly daunting task, in part because the nation's population is growing larger, more diverse, and more reluctant to participate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau). When the census misses a person who should have been included, it results in an undercount, and the differential impact on various subpopulations, such as minorities, is particularly problematic. This testimony provides an update on the Bureau's readiness to implement its Integrated Communications Campaign, one of several efforts aimed at reducing the undercount. GAO focused on the campaign's key components: partnerships with local and national organizations, paid advertising and public relations, and Census in Schools (designed to reach parents and guardians through their school-age children). GAO also discusses the extent to which the rollout of the campaign is consistent with factors important for greater accountability and successful results. This testimony is based on previously issued work, ongoing reviews of relevant documents, and interviews with key Bureau officials.

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