CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Civis Analytics, a data science firm that helps public and private sector organizations become data-centric, today announced a set of tools specifically for state and local governments, nonprofits and other organizations looking to increase response to the 2020 Census. Concurrently, they released findings of a new study that identifies the messaging most effective in improving Census responses.
There are a number of factors that threaten the accuracy of the 2020 Census, a constitutionally mandated count of all residents in the United States. Among them: a tighter and less certain budgetary environment compared to 2010; concern over a potential question about citizenship; declining trust in government and a decreased likelihood to respond to government surveys; and the need to hire hundreds of thousands of temporary employees in a tight labor market.
"Given that Census is the basis upon which we build our government, our communities and our businesses, an accurate count is critical," said Chris Dick, Applied Data Science Lead, Government, at Civis Analytics. "Our new research shows 20% of Americans are unlikely to answer the 2020 Census -- and that's optimistic compared to other research. The lower the response rate, the more severely our communities will be under-funded by government and under-represented in Congress, and the lower the reliability of the data upon which organizations base major decisions. Our Census tools are based on what works in commercial marketing and advocacy campaigns, because that's exactly what we need to ensure the most accurate and equitable count possible -- full-fledged outreach campaigns."
Civis's new Census-specific tools represent an end-to-end solution for planning and executing outreach campaigns using data. They include:
The Response Likelihood Dashboard, an interactive tool that helps planners determine which Census tracts have a lower likelihood of responding. This Dashboard makes use of geospatial data, which can be modeled and displayed natively on Civis Platform.
Quick, adaptive surveying for municipalities to identify local behaviors and attitudes toward the 2020 Census. Civis utilizes the upcoming Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Study (CBAMS) study to shape these surveys to a local audience.
Outreach message testing, powered by Creative Focus, allowing organizations to test messages in a controlled environment before distributing them to the general population. Civis has begun conducting national tests on a variety of Census message options, described below, and discovered that the right outreach can increase Census 2020 response as much as 8%. The full study, including a breakdown by various subgroups, can be found here.
Finally, the Census Response Dashboard provides an up-to-date assessment of Census response and compare it to ideal outcomes. Using nightly return data provided by the Census Bureau, community outreach teams can course correct during the month of April 2020 to ensure that 2020 Census returns reach or exceed expectations throughout their area of influence.
Also released today, Civis tested what messaging most improves 2020 Census response rates using its Creative Focus technology. The research found that the right outreach can increase Census 2020 response as much as 8%. A majority were most persuaded by a message that framed Census response as the civic duty of United States residents. Highlighting strong security and privacy of Census responses, however, reduced overall intent to respond by 4%. The full study, including a breakdown by various subgroups, can be found here.
Civis works with all levels of government, including Federal and state agencies, and cities and county governments, to help them use data to build efficient programs, and understand and engage their population. Civis has more than tripled its revenue in the public sector in the last year, with clients including the City of Boston, the City of Houston, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
To learn more about Civis's tools for Census outreach, visit our website. The study on Census 2020 messaging can be found here.
About Civis Analytics
Civis Analytics helps leading public and private sector organizations use data to gain a competitive advantage in how they identify, attract, and engage people. With a blend of proprietary data, technology and advisory services, and an interdisciplinary team of data scientists, developers, and survey science experts, Civis helps organizations stop guessing and start using statistical proof to guide decisions. Learn more about Civis at www.civisanalytics.com.