Decennial Census:

Fundamental Reform Jeopardized by Lack of Progress

T-GGD-93-6: Published: Mar 2, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1993.

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GAO reported on the Bureau of the Census' planning for the 2000 decennial census and the economic and agriculture censuses. GAO noted that: (1) due to multiple problems with the 1990 decennial census, the Census Bureau proposed major improvements for the 2000 census; (2) the Bureau set a deadline for September 1993 to identify census methods and procedures it will test in 1995 for incorporation into the 2000 census; (3) the Bureau's procedures for assessing design alternatives was too time consuming, which left the Bureau little time to select and develop more promising alternatives; (4) the Bureau has not eliminated the design alternatives, or published the drafts of the designs for public comment; (5) organizational changes and budget constraints may adversely affect planning for the 2000 census; (6) the Bureau needs to accelerate its research and decision-making to allow for sufficient refinements to census procedures and preparation time; (7) the Bureau has conducted research to improve public response to its questionaires, but proposed changes may elicit opposition from federal agencies and the private sector; (8) the Bureau has begun research into sampling nonresponding households as an alternative to more costly follow-up efforts; (9) the Postal Service has reduced it cooperative effort with the Bureau to update mailing lists due to costs and legal issues; and (10) the 1992 economic and agriculture censuses are proceeding as scheduled.

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