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MRA Defends Compulsory Census Demographics

March 14 2013
US professional body the MRA (Marketing Research Association) has voiced concerns about legislation before Congress concerning the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The bill would make answering the survey’s demographic questions voluntary.

Demographics must stay, says MRALegislation proposed by Republican Congressman Ted Poe and Senator Rand Paul aims to remove mandatory response requirement from all but four ACS questions - name, contact information, date of response, and number of people at the same address.

The existing ACS, which replaced the former Census long form in 2005, is sent to 3.5 million addresses every year, and the MRA says that current demographic data collected - such as education, occupation, income, ancestry/ethnicity, disability status, and housing type and age - is unavailable elsewhere.

MRA previously advocated the need to maintain the survey in its mandatory form, primarily because it says that the cost of matching the data through a voluntary survey would be ‘potentially exorbitant’.

The research body described the proposed legislation as a ‘troubling marker’ for the interests of the industry, and called upon research professions and others that rely upon ACS data, to rally to its defence.

Web site: www.marketingresearch.org .