Census Rethinks How It Presents Its Many Data Points


Census wants to make its data easier to use.

The U.S. Census Bureau is brainstorming how to make its billions of statistics easier for website visitors to search and navigate.

Although Census.gov offers data apps and visualization tools, information is still organized in a “survey-specific reporting structure,” according to the bureau, which has asked the private sector to weigh in on a better system.

Census wants a theme-based approach to the information so the public can investigate broad topics such as health care or education, the bureau’s request for information said.

The effort is part of the Census Digital Transformation program, which aims to align the bureau with the White House’s Digital Government Strategy by making data easier for the public to access and raising awareness of Census data to increase audience.

Census.gov has about 1.3 million pages and more than 120,000 PDFs that need to be migrated to a new content management system or archived, the bureau said.

The agency has already developed a new search platform that is not yet open to the public but is in the final stages of implementation, and it’s looking for a contractor to facilitate that project, continue data migration and develop responsive design for the site and applications as well as dynamic features to personalize the website.

The agency declined to comment on the solicitation, but a spokeswoman noted it launched a website redesign earlier this year that coincided with the 20th anniversary of Census.gov.

“Over the years, Census.gov has had many ‘faces’ as we have tried to revise the site to meet the demands of the day,” bureau Commissioner John Thompson said at that time. “We will continue to use 21st-century technology to meet our centuries-old mission of making the statistics that define our growing, changing nation more accessible to you than ever before.”

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