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For Immediate Release: Monday, August 30, 2021

The Opportunity Project: Colleges and Universities Promote Census Data Accessibility

Press Release Number CB21-140

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau brings together cross-sector collaborators during The Opportunity Project’s (TOP) technology development sprints to come up with ways to use data and technology to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

TOP is led by the Census Bureau’s Census Open Innovation Labs. It engages government, technologists and communities to create digital products using federal open data that serve the public. To date, more than 1,500 people, 30 federal agencies and hundreds of organizations have participated in TOP sprints, resulting in nearly 150 new open data tools including apps, websites, mapping tools, data visualizations, games and more. 



In September, 10 college and university programs (including four Minority Serving Institutions representing traditionally hard-to-count communities) will begin focusing on Decennial Data Accessibility. This is the first sprint providing the opportunity to incorporate artwork and visualizations to help solve data accessibility issues: 

  • Helping Hard-to-Count Communities See Themselves in the 2020 Decennial Data
    • University of Notre Dame
    • Suffolk University
    •  The University of North Texas
  • Assisting Businesses, Community Leaders, and State/Local Governments to Make Critical Decisions Using 2020 Decennial Data
    • Columbia University
    • Philander Smith College
    • Rutgers University – Newark Campus
    • Harvard University, Meta Lab
  • Improving Data Literacy Using Decennial Census Data
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Clark Atlanta University
    • American University

View full problem statements  


Those interested in contributing to this initiative are invited to reach out to the Census Open Innovation Labs. TOP is seeking collaborators for the following roles within each of the problem statements

  • User advocates – Nonprofits, community leaders, local or national community advocates, state/local government, civil society groups and people with direct experience in the target challenge who guide tech teams in designing realistic, useful solutions.
  • Product advisors – Product and sustainability experts from outside of government who advise teams in developing sustainable solutions that can be implemented after the sprint.
  • Data stewards – Experts on federal, state or local open datasets who advise teams on accessing and using relevant data.


The sprint will run from September through November followed by a showcase event – The Opportunity Demo Week – in December.

For more information on The Opportunity Project please check out this recent America Counts Story or contact the Census Open Innovation Labs



Julie Iriondo
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)


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