Census Reform Needs Attention Now

T-GGD-91-13: Published: Mar 12, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 1991.

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GAO discussed the status of planning for the 2000 census and efforts to achieve a successful census in 2000. GAO noted that: (1) escalating costs and reduced coverage of the 1990 census suggested that traditional census methodology might have reached the limits of its effectiveness; (2) the Department of Commerce's early planning efforts for the 2000 census were encouraging and in marked contrast to previous efforts; (3) planning efforts must focus on evaluating opportunities for fundamental reform rather than on incremental refinements to traditional methodology; (4) planning efforts must recognize that census reform raises issues that go well beyond the purview of Commerce and the Bureau of Census and must involve a wide range of organizations and interests; and (5) Commerce must be willing to invest sufficient funds early in the decade to achieve cost savings and data collection improvements in 2000 and beyond.

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