U.S. Census Bureau modernizes on a massive scale
Going digital drove impressive results when it mattered most. Find out how.
“By implementing agile technology, we found ourselves very prepared for unpredictable changes and were able to pivot quickly as needed.”
Simplify large-scale data collection and processing
The 2020 Decennial Census marked a major change from a historically paper-based process to an automated, digital process for collecting data from every household in the United States.
Together with Pega, the U.S. Census Bureau made a shift of transformational magnitude by launching the Enterprise Census and Surveys Enabling (ECaSE) project. The ECaSE project created an integrated, enterprise solution for shared data collection and processing, aimed at lowering complexity and delivering savings for all censuses and surveys – with an initial focus on the 2020 Census.
“The productivity rate of field staff in 2020 was literally nearly double that achieved during the 2010 Census.”
Increase awareness with an integrated CRM system
The U.S. Census Bureau’s partner program integrated two programs with the goal to increase awareness and participation in the Census: the Community Partnership Engagement Program (CPEP) and the Census National Partnership Program (NPP).
Previously, partner management and communication processes were highly manual and cumbersome, which posed a challenge with more than 400,000 partners on board. Leading up to the 2020 Census, the Bureau recognized a massive opportunity to use digital tools and other resources to communicate more efficiently and effectively with these partners.
By implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system, the Bureau was able to send automated alerts, reminders, and calls to action to drive census awareness and participation.
Supports 3,000+ U.S. Census employees/users
Automated communications with more than 400,000 partner organizations
Enabled the coordination of 460,000+ events and 600,000+ commitments to bring awareness to the 2020 Census
Use insights to engage with hard-to-reach audiences
The results of the 2020 Census were impressive, with the ECaSE system playing a pivotal role. Thanks to near-real-time data from its CRM, the Bureau was able to quickly identify communities lagging in responses and reach out to traditionally hard-to-count populations – including tech-savvy young and mobile millennials.
Using its CRM, the Bureau was able to seamlessly bridge the gap between its data collection program and partner programs. If responses were lagging in a given community, the Bureau could use the new CRM to quickly identify and reach out to partners in those areas, providing them with resources to increase education and awareness in those communities.
“Without Pega, we would not have been able to reach as many people as we did during the 2020 Census.”
Current wins and what’s next for the U.S. Census Bureau
By the end of July 2020, four months after the Bureau had first invited people to respond to the Census, it had already received responses from almost 63% of households surveyed, with more than 92 million households counted.
About 80% of that 92 million chose to respond using the internet. Moreover, the response system did not have a single minute of downtime. By mid-September 2020, a full six weeks before the original October 31 deadline, the census was already 90% complete. 220,000 enumerators in the field had completed more than 42 million surveys, despite months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first census to go primarily digital – amid public health concerns, weather events, and other circumstances – it was an overwhelming success.
- New multichannel system with a mobile platform
- Zero system downtime
- 80% of self-responses received via internet
- 48.57% increase in enumerator productivity
- Census was 90% complete six weeks before the deadline
- 400,000 unique logins supported in one weekend