A recent report from Stanford University's Center on Poverty and Inequality offers an overview of the decennial census 2018 End-to-End readiness test, also known as the "dress rehearsal" test, "the last, most comprehensive test before early 2020 Census operations begin in 2019."

"This test," the authors explain, "is not a true dress rehearsal compared to previous censuses" becaause it has been reduced "through cuts to outreach programs aiming to get out the count, and all planned dress rehearsal locations were cancelled except for Providence County, Rhode Island" because of funding shortfalls and delays. While such exercises normally test "virtually all aspects of decennial census operations... funding uncertainty and shortfalls led the Census Bureau to limit the parameters of the 2018 test."

The Census Bureau will be testing the design of their contact strategies and their operations designed to improve the count, although the Stanford researchers outline some of the potential pitfalls and missed items.