Policy ForumSociology

What If We Give a Census and No One Comes?

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Science  04 Jun 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5676, pp. 1452-1453
DOI: 10.1126/science.1097727

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Privacy and confidentiality concerns threaten to reduce levels of public cooperation with government surveys, resulting in national statistics that will be less useful in policy-making, democratic accountability, social justice, and economic decision-making. In this Policy Forum, Kenneth Prewitt explains how understanding how to respond to public concerns about intrusiveness and loss of privacy while maintaining the scope and quality of information on which society depends requires new research strategies.