Decennial Census:

1995 Test Census Presents Opportunities to Evaluate New Census-Taking Methods

T-GGD-94-136: Published: Sep 27, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the cost of and proposed changes to the Census Bureau's planned 1995 Test Census. GAO noted that: (1) the 1995 test census is crucial for determining the fundamental changes that are needed for the 2000 Decennial Census; (2) the Bureau may be able to increase its operational effectiveness, improve census accuracy, and contain costs by evaluating new statistical methods; (3) the Bureau plans to work with the Postal Service to evaluate and update its address lists; (4) the Bureau plans to increase its use of letter carriers to identify vacant and nonexistent housing units; (5) the Bureau could reduce the cost of following up on nonrespondents by identifying vacant and nonexistent housing units; (6) although the Bureau's new statistical method is designed to improve the accuracy of the census count by reconciling the results of original census counts with data obtained from a sample of households, it presents several operational challenges; (7) by sampling 33 percent of nonrespondents, the Bureau may be able to improve the overall accuracy of census counts; (8) the Bureau plans to increase its ability to account for homeless persons and those with no usual residence; (9) the Bureau's past accounting difficulties could offset any potential savings that could be accrued through new statistical methods; and (10) the Bureau needs to fully evaluate the 1995 test census, identify the data it needs, and collect accurate cost information so that policymakers have the information needed to make major decisions on the fundamental design of the 2000 Decennial Census.

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