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Altering the Survey-taking Climate: the Case of the 2010 U.S. Census

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Yan, Ting; Datta, Rupa A.

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Abstract Response rates to household surveys have been declining in the past several decades and survey researchers and practitioners have been working on ways to change the survey-taking climate to combat the declining response rates. As part of the 2010 Decennial Census, the U.S. Census Bureau waged the 2010 Integrated Communications Campaign (2010 ICC), a multi-faceted effort to improve public awareness of, attitudes towards, and knowledge about the Census in order to increase Census participation. This type of communications program is a unique case of an attempt to alter the external survey-taking climate and thus potentially affect survey participation. This paper empirically examines the extent to which exposure to the 2010 ICC affected knowledge and attitudes about the Census in the months leading up to Census Day. We then explore the relationship between different levels of attitudes and knowledge and subsequent Census participation. Our results suggest that the external survey-climate was altered to foster positive receptivity to the survey request, and that favorable receptivity, in turn, leads to a higher likelihood of participating in the survey request (the 2010 Decennial Census in this case). Implications for survey researchers and organizations are also discussed.
Keywords United States of America; microcensus; survey research; response behavior; private household; survey
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages 8 p.
Journal Survey Methods: Insights from the Field (2015)
ISSN 2296-4754
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works