Status of the 1990 Decennial Census

T-GGD-88-53: Published: Sep 27, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Census Bureau's preparation for the 1990 census and its development of address lists for suburban and rural areas. GAO found that: (1) the Bureau completed its preparations on schedule and within budget; (2) although the Bureau's automated check-in procedures performed very well, it had problems with some management information system reports; (3) certain reports were inaccurate because the Bureau lacked sufficient time to adequately develop and test systems applications due to delays in acquiring minicomputers; (4) the Bureau automated its map production to improve the quality of census maps and planned to start prelisting addresses earlier than it did for the 1980 census; and (5) the Bureau deferred prelisting until 1989 because of a delay in map production. GAO believes that the Bureau should: (1) consider several options for obtaining sufficient numbers of temporary employees to collect and process 1990 census data; (2) develop contingency plans in the event that the new systems do not operate as intended; and (3) prepare to handle potential budget shortfalls to minimize the need for last-minute cutbacks.

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