Help Us Help You: Fill Out the Census!

10 minutes. 10 questions. 10 years of impact.

If you work in market research, you often hear and throw around the phrase “rep to census”.

We field most of our studies “rep to census”, meaning we distribute our surveys in a way that matches up with the demographics of the country or region that we’re focusing on including age, gender, ethnicity, region, and income.

What is the census?

“The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in the United States and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).” 1

Why does the US conduct a census?

“The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.” 1

Why is it important to us as researchers?

Fielding rep to census is key to ensuring the accuracy of our data. We want the distribution of those who start taking our survey to match the population as closely as possible, because it ensures that those who qualify for and complete our survey accurately reflect the market that we’re trying to study. Matching our screens to the census is how we do it. If the census doesn’t reflect the population, then we don’t have a way to accurately represent the population.

The United States is a diverse country. We represent a lot of different attitudes and behaviors. Some of those attitudes differ strongly by demographics. Just recently I wrote an article about how men shop differently than women. If our data is skewed too heavily toward one demographic – for example, if we have too many men compared to women – our data won’t be as accurate. That’s a problem; we rely on the census to solve it.

I always look forward to a new decade because it means our now outdated census data will be given a much needed upgrade! Demographics can shift in the US, especially in terms of ethnicity. We need this update, and we need it to be as reflective as possible so that we can give you answers that are as accurate as possible.

Help us help you and fill out the 2020 census! 10 minutes. 10 questions. 10 years of impact.

1 United States Census 2020, Link to source