Protecting Privacy with MATH (Collab with the Census)
The 2020 Census will use a powerful new privacy protection system known as “differential privacy,” designed specifically for the digital age. The Census Bureau is transitioning to this new, state-of-the-art privacy protection system to keep pace with emerging threats in today’s digital world.
Today, the Census Bureau conducts three censuses — the decennial census and the twice-per decade Economic Census and Census of Governments — as well as more than 130 different surveys.
Some of these surveys are:
- American Community Survey. Data from this annual survey include up-to-date information on the social and economic needs of communities across the nation. Results may be used to decide where new schools and hospitals should be built.
- Current Population Survey. This monthly survey of households provides data on how Americans work — including whether they have a job, the types of jobs held by different kinds of people, the hours’ people work in different jobs, and salary information.
- Survey of Business Owners. This survey collects information every five years about U.S. businesses and business owners, including economic and demographic characteristics like business size and industry, and business owner gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.
These statistics help government officials make important decisions so that they can do the following:
- Distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds to local, state, and tribal governments each year.
- States and communities use census data to allocate funding for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation, and more.
- Understand where community services are needed and plan to implement them. This includes services for the elderly, new roads and schools, job training centers, and more.
- Determine how the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are divided among the 50 states and make decisions about redistricting.
Critical funding is at stake for millions of Californian who contribute to the eight largest economies of the word. Besides the new census question posing a politically disadvantageous future, it highlights one Administration’s most recent tactic to systematically oppress the ethnic representation of the American People.
WHAT ELSE IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS CENSUS?
It’s the first one ever you can fill out online. You can also respond by phone and paper will be available, but it’ll primarily be online. Nearly every household in the country will receive an invitation through the mail to respond to the census in the mail.
IS AN ONLINE CENSUS A PRIVACY ISSUE?
The switch to online has some worried about privacy and access to a computer or internet. In L.A. County, 371,516 households (11.3 percent) do not have a computer, and 645,718 households (19.6 percent) do not have an internet subscription.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO A COMPUTER OR THE INTERNET TO FILL OUT THE CENSUS?
L.A. County and the City of L.A. are planning to have census action kiosks, which would be physical locations with regular office hours found in a public place to access information about the census or fill it out. A subcommittee talked about how to identify potential locations at a meeting.
WHEN CAN I START USING A KIOSK?
The goal is to have them operational by March 2020.
People who are hard to interview, hard to locate, hard to persuade and hard to contact are considered hard-to-count populations, by the Census Bureau. Here is a list of a few groups California has identified as hard to count:
- Households without broadband internet
- Nonfamily households (homemates/roommates)
- Native American and tribal populations
- Crowded/multi-generational households
- Immigrants/Foreign born
- Adults who are not high school graduates
- Low-income households
- Children under five
BUT L.A. COUNTY IS PRETTY GOOD AT COUNTING EVERYONE, RIGHT?
Sorry, no. L.A. County is considered the hardest-to-count county in the United States of America There are 88 cities from Lancaster to Long Beach and the South Los Angeles region is known to have a low response score for the census. That means that the area has a low census mail return rate.
L.A. County is also hard to count because of its diversity of languages and immigrant populations and its non-traditional housing situations like back houses or basements.