The U.S. Census Bureau conducted a highly informative webinar where several crucial updates were revealed regarding the planning and preparations for the 2030 Census.

During the virtual event held recently, leaders focused on three key aspects of the groundwork laid for the next decennial census:

1. Research Projects:

The Census Bureau has already launched dozens of research projects aimed at guiding the development and implementation of innovations for the 2030 Census. A new online tool called the “2030 Census Research Project Explorer” was unveiled during the webinar. This tool provides public access to information about the 50-plus research projects underway, including the questions being explored by Census Bureau researchers.

These research projects fall under five main focus areas known as “Enhancement Areas”:

  • Data Collection
  • Modernize Group Quarters Enumeration
  • Integration of Data Collection and Processing in Near Real Time
  • Streamline Operational Support Infrastructure
  • Continuous Data Collection and Aggregation

The goal of these research initiatives is to build upon the successes of the 2020 Census and introduce new innovations for the upcoming census.

2. Testing strategy

Census Bureau leaders have also presented the comprehensive testing strategy leading up to the 2030 Census. This strategy involves two types of testing:

Small-Scale Testing: Following the successful experience with small-scale testing for the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is once again utilizing this approach to prepare for the 2030 Census. Small-scale testing delivers swift and well-defined results, allowing for quick evaluation of methodologies and systems. It also provides an opportunity to refine and enhance operations and technologies that proved effective in 2020 while testing the suitability and effectiveness of innovations for the 2030 Census.

Major Field Tests: To ensure the feasibility and cohesive design of the 2030 Census, the Census Bureau will conduct two major field tests. The first major field test is scheduled on Census Day, April 1, 2026, while the second one will take place on Census Day, April 1, 2028. The 2026 test will focus on testing innovative systems and methods and collecting data for future response and cost models. The 2028 test will serve as a dry run for operations and their handoffs, allowing for fine-tuning before implementation in the 2030 Census.

3. Timeline:

The Census Bureau has also released an updated timeline showcasing the progression towards the 2030 Census. Currently in the “Design Selection Phase,” which runs until December 2024, the agency’s research projects and testing strategy align with different phases of the timeline.

Next Steps

In mid-October, the Bureau plans to hold another webinar to share the findings from comments submitted to last year’s 2030 Census Federal Register Notice. During this session, the Census Bureau will discuss how it intends to incorporate the feedback into the 2030 Census research agenda.


The webinar underscored the complexity involved in planning a decennial census and emphasized the continuous research, design, and testing approach that will span the entire decade leading up to the 2030 Census. The Census Bureau is committed to refining and maturing the design based on rigorous research and testing to ensure a successful decennial census.

For further updates and additional resources, interested individuals can visit the 2030 Census webpage. The Census Bureau remains dedicated to transparency and engagement throughout the planning process.

Image Source:

  • Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters: instant images