In a move that will benefit the ‘digital native’ generation of students, the next US census will be largely conducted online, in a bid to increase participation.

The Census Bureau recently reported that moving its survey online would save an estimated $5.2 billion dollars relative to the 2010 census: an online survey requires far fewer personnel than are required to contact millions of residents, follow up with them, and then enter the data.

Cost savings aside, conducting the census online is the best way to do it “securely and accurately,” said Doug Pollack, chief marketing officer online data security company ID Experts.

Improved accessibility – but only for some

This could make it easier for students living away from home to participate in the census.

However, some groups do not have easy access to an internet connection, specifically low-income, less educated, rural, African-American and Latino households. Without a massive program to increase internet access, access will remain a perennial question as the US continues to digitize its governmental operations in the years to come.

Given that students and young professionals, the up-and-coming movers and shakers in politics, continue to demand digital solutions to problems both political and apolitical, an program to increase internet access is a political possibility on the horizon.

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