Skip Header

Evaluation of the ACS Mail Materials and Mailing Strategy During the 2010 Census

John Chesnut, Mary Davis
Component ID: #ti1617254726

During Census 2000, the American Community Survey (ACS) experienced an increase in mail response in the months prior to Census Day (April 1, 2000) and a decline in response in the months following. We hypothesize that the Census 2000 increase in the ACS mail response rate occurred because some respondents believed that the ACS form was the Census 2000 form and completed it more readily. However, ACS mail response decreased from March 2000 through the rest of the year, possibly because respondents who had already completed the Census 2000 form believed the ACS was another census form. The Census Bureau expected the 2010 Census environment to similarly impact ACS mail response as well. To minimize the negative impact of the 2010 Census activities on ACS mail response, we enhanced the ACS envelope and letter to give the ACS a more distinct identity, and also to pair its importance with the 2010 Census and the Census Bureau. We tested three different strategies using a combination of the new envelopes and letters and compared them to the current ACS letters and envelopes. This evaluation examined the impact of the different strategies on the ACS mail response before, during, and after the Census. The results below detail the impact of the letter and envelope design changes on ACS mail response. Envelope Color and Messaging - The new white envelopes with messaging linking the American Community Survey to the Census Bureau improved respondent participation compared to that of the current envelopes prior to and during the census and maintained the same level of participation post-census. - Adding green color to the new envelopes reduced participation across the census time periods compared to that of the new white envelopes. Letter Content - The new letter with text addressing possible confusion between the 2010 Census and ACS improved participation compared to the current letter across the census time periods, when they were sent with the new white envelopes. Envelope Color and Messaging Combined with Letter Content - All of the test treatment letter and envelope combinations improved participation compared to the current ACS letters and envelopes across the three census time periods. - Of the three combinations, the new letters paired with the new white envelopes resulted in the greatest increase in respondent participation across all three time periods.

X
  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
X
Comments or suggestions?
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
X
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?
Back to Header