I work at the Census Bureau and the cost to mail out the many censuses and surveys is through the roof. The overall process for all of our censuses and surveys is an operation that costs taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars. The motivation to improve this process is certainly there. I say that you make this process as internet -friendly as possible. It can be similar to how the IRS allows people to file their taxes electronically. I think that government can still go with the same dates to begin and end the first round of the censuses and our surveys (such as the American Community Survey). But instead of solely relying on mailings, I say that you get the word out that people need to enter their information online by a certain date. This approach won’t completely eliminate the mailing process but it significantly reduces it and it will quicken the response time. It will also allow for the Bureau to use much fewer people to gather and enter in the information from censuses and surveys. This will allow for a much smoother, efficient process and it will move us in the right direction to eventually make this process almost solely electronic/digital. This will SAVE tons of MONEY as far as postage, labor, and the equipment that’s needed to gather and enter in all of this information. It's really a win-win approach.
Idea No. 16570