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Census Bureau begins address canvassing

Posted On: August 26, 2019

The U.S. Census Bureau has begun address canvassing, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which will be necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census in mid-March.

The Census Bureau created new software called the Block Assessment, Research and Classification Application (BARCA). It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census Bureau employees to spot new housing developments, changes in existing homes and other housing units that did not previously exist. Reviewers also use BARCA to compare the number of housing units in current imagery with the number of addresses on file for each block.

The Census Bureau has already verified 65% of addresses using satellite imagery. The bureau has hired 40,000 employees around the nation to verify the remaining 35% of the addresses.

Census Bureau employees have started walking through neighborhoods across the country checking addresses not verified using BARCA software. In-field address canvassing will continue through mid-October.

Employees will have badges and briefcases indicating their affiliation with the Census Bureau. They will knock on doors and ask a few simple questions to verify the address and any additional living quarters on the property for inclusion in the census.

Employees will introduce themselves as a Census Bureau employee, show their official government ID badge, and explain the purpose of the visit. People may also ask them for a picture ID from another source to confirm their identity.

This operation is one of several activities the Census Bureau conducts for an accurate and complete count. The Census Bureau also partners with the U.S. Postal Service and tribal, state and local officials to update the address list.

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