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Sprints

Learn about past sprints and how we’ve tackled national challenges.

Sprints are 12-week product development cycles that bring together tech teams and collaborators to build public-facing digital products using open data.

2020 Census

A small, 5-pointed yellow star 2019

Once a decade, America comes together to count every person living in the United States. Creating national awareness of the significance of the Census and the critical information it provides is of the utmost importance, as the population count determines how political representation and close to $700 billion in federal funding are allocated to communities across the nation for the next 10 years. In the 2020 Census sprint, tech teams including Measure of America, Columbia University, Next Day Better, and others developed digital products to reach hard-to-count communities and promote Census jobs. Given the option to complete the Census online and increased concerns around disinformation, teams also focused efforts on bridging the digital divide and increasing digital literacy.

Problem Statement

Reaching Hard-to-Count Communities

Challenge:

Historically, certain groups of people are undercounted in the Census, including the LGBTQ community, children under 5, people experiencing homelessness, renters, and members of underrepresented minorities. An accurate count is vital to ensuring these groups are represented and have access to federal resources. Bring awareness of the 2020 Census to hard-to-count populations and increase response rates.

Why This Problem is Important:

Given that the population count from the Census determines redistricting, the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives, and close to $700 billion in federal funding are allocated to communities across the nation for the next 10 years, ensuring an accurate count is essential. An undercount has significant long-term implications for communities. For example, in the 2010 Census, nearly 1 million children (4.6% of children under the age of 5) were not counted. This can contribute to inaccurate school enrollment projections and result in overcrowding and teacher shortages.

Agency

U.S. Census Bureau

Target Audience

Historically undercounted populations and organizations that represent them. These populations include LGBTQ community, children under 5, people experiencing homelessness, renters, and members of underrepresented minorities

Problem Statement

Promoting 2020 Census jobs

Challenge:

The Decennial Census is our nation’s largest peacetime mobilization – in 2020, the federal government will hire 500,000 Census takers to help count households across America that do not respond by mail or online. Help leverage the gig economy and new tech platforms for job search to better recruit this critical workforce.

Why This Problem is Important:

Census takers (enumerators) serve as the last line of defense for getting an accurate count, which is critical for federal funding and fair political representation. In 2020, the Census Bureau projects that Census takers may be responsible for recording up to 40 percent of the count. Enumerators interview the residents of every household that has not responded via the online or paper forms to collect Census information. Hiring local field staff will be critical to ensuring a complete and accurate count, especially for hard-to-reach communities. Local candidates bring relevant language skills and cultural familiarity that allow them to access residents who might otherwise keep their doors closed to Census takers from outside the neighborhood.

Agency

U.S. Census Bureau

Target Audience

Job seekers and those in the gig economy

Problem Statement

Bridging the Digital Divide

Challenge:

The digital divide affects urban, rural, and tribal communities across the U.S. Help increase digital access, to ensure that people who lack access to broadband and related infrastructure are counted in 2020.

Why This Problem is Important:

Agency

U.S. Census Bureau

Target Audience

Problem Statement

Increasing Digital Literacy

Challenge:

For the first time in 2020, people will be able to complete the Census online, presenting an opportunity to better count our nation, but also many challenges, like fake or suspicious content and targeted disinformation. Increasing digital literacy will be critical to combating disinformation and ensuring an accurate count.

Why This Problem is Important:

Agency

U.S. Census Bureau

Target Audience