Last week, the Department of Commerce posted a Federal Register Notice formally announcing plans for the 2015 National Content Test and soliciting feedback from the public.
Successful research strategies from the 2010 Census Alternative Questionnaire Experiment are being tested in the 2015 National Content Test (NCT), with a focus on question format, response categories, wording of the instructions, and question terminology. The NCT has three main objectives: The first objective is to evaluate and compare different census content, including race and Hispanic origin, relationship, and within-household coverage. The second objective is to test different contact strategies for optimizing self-response. The third objective is to test different options for offering non-English materials. The goal is to provide language support for respondents with limited English proficiency.
The current version of the race and Hispanic origin questions use the terms “race” and/or “origin” to describe the groups in the question stem. However, the 2015 NCT explores two options for eliminating the confusion with the word “origin.” One option is using the term “ethnicities” along with “race,” and the other option involves eliminating the removal of the terms “ethnicities” and “race” altogether. The 2015 NCT will also test ways to collect and tabulate detailed information for all groups, including data for White groups, such as German, Irish, and Lebanese and Black groups such as African-American, Jamaican, or Nigerian.