U.S. Census gets high-tech for 2010

Washington (DC) - For the 22nd United States Census report, field workers will be equipped with wireless, handheld computers for the first time, in a move that will try to save the government time and money, and also to bring up the accuracy from the 99.5% level that has been historically achieved.

As is the case every 10 years, every documented house in the country, and Puerto Rico, will receive a post card in March 2010. Those who do not respond will be sought by temporary Census Bureau employees, one by one, who conduct quick interviews on the spot. Historically, the data collected by the field workers would be physically taken to a regional office, where it would eventually find its way to Washington. With the new plan, the data would be uploaded immediately.

According to the Bureau, this will help catch mistakes like divorced parents each reporting their children, data loss along the paper trail, and matching information with the wrong people.

It continues the trend of highly crucial government processes moving to a new high-tech model. 2006 saw the first major election for hundreds of cities across the country using electronic voting machines, and government vehicles are continually being updated with GPS systems and other new technologies.