Paper surveys still needed to count everyone

February 20, 2013

We discuss on this blog the advantages of having a paperless office – security, efficiency and affordability are often what comes to mind for most businesses. But few are fully paperless, even with these incentives. However, this may be a good thing. As convenient as digital resources are, one major reason behind using paper documents is the ability to reach homeless or low-income populations that don’t have access to electronic information.

When the U.S. Census Bureau decided this year to use electronic surveys for the next census, human rights activists worried this would only count a portion of the data needed to make an assessment of the country’s needs. For those without internet access, the agency will be passing out paper-based surveys.

Other federal agencies have also stuck to paper to get the most accurate data. The U.S. Department of Housing and Development requires cities and towns to report the number of both sheltered and unsheltered populations each year to find what services or programs are needed. An article in the and-local-news/ci_22457453/counting-homeless-loveland” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Reporter Herald describes how city officials in Loveland, Colorado work to count all members of the homeless population, with paper-based surveys at churches and shelters. Other volunteers have been going to campsites and walking around downtown to pass out the survey.

Though this doesn’t account for the many that are sleeping in sheds or other makeshift shelters, this points out that no matter how accessible technology is, as long as there is a homeless population, there will always be a need for paper surveys and data entry services.

Tab Service Company is a leading provider of document scanning and data entry services. As an SOC2-approved service organization, we apply industry-best practices to our approach with clients.