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Attitudes and Behavior - the Impact of Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns on Participation in the 2000 Census

Publication Abstract

Singer, Eleanor, J. Van Hoewyk, and R.J. Neugebauer. 2003. "Attitudes and Behavior - the Impact of Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns on Participation in the 2000 Census." Public Opinion Quarterly, 67:368-384.

To what extent do concerns about privacy and confidentiality affect people's participation in surveys, in particular the largest U. S. survey, the decennial census? This study presents three separate estimates of the effect of attitudes on behavior. First, it estimates the effect of privacy and confidentiality concerns on willingness to provide an address to a Gallup interviewer. Second, based on the Census Bureau's matching of survey responses to its file of census returns, it estimates the effect of privacy and confidentiality concerns on respondents' return of their census form. Finally, it estimates these effects in one-person households. It concludes that concerns about privacy and confidentiality have a small but statistically significant effect in all three tests, explaining roughly the same amount of variance in the 2000 census as they had in 1990.

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