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A UT professor will help the US Census Bureau develop cost-effective ways of measuring the population in the year 2020.

Nicholas_NagleNicholas Nagle, associate professor of geography, has been appointed to the National Academy of Sciences committee to assist the US Census Bureau. He will serve on the Standing Committee on Reengineering Census Operations.

With the 2010 census being the most expensive census to date, costing upwards of $14.7 billion—more than double the cost of the 2000 census—the National Academy and the Census Bureau are looking for a more cost-effective method of performing the decennial count.

The committee will meet through 2019, providing feedback to the Census Bureau. Among the possible cost-saving options the committee will advise on are increasing the use of Global Positioning System and aerial imagery to identify where houses are and designing a new system that would allow people to respond to the ensus through the Internet.

“Dr. Nagle’s prestigious appointment is evidence of his outstanding reputation within the fields of demography and population geography, and indicative of the University of Tennessee’s high level of public engagement and leadership on issues affecting the entire country,” said Derek Alderman, head of the Department of Geography.

Nagle is a geographic information scientist and geospatial analyst whose research centers on combining data in order to produce more reliable geographic information. He also is a joint faculty appointee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Geographic Information Science and Technology group. He teaches courses in urban geography and quantitative methods.

His research develops new tools that use survey data and other raw data to produce reliable estimates for small places. These tools give policymakers and researchers improved local data at lower cost.

As required by the Constitution, the census is conducted every ten years to help apportion seats in the House of Representatives. It is also used to support the data-driven allocation of $400 billion to local communities each year.

The National Academy created the Standing Committee on Reengineering Census Operations to assist the Census Bureau in planning a cost-effective census in 2020 and in modernizing operations for censuses and surveys across the bureau.



Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,