Bureau of the Census:

Legislative Proposal to Share Address List Data Has Benefits and Risks

T-GGD-94-184: Published: Jul 21, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1994.

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GAO discussed a Department of Commerce legislative proposal to allow the Census Bureau to share its address data with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and other federal, state, and local agencies to enhance address information and for other public purposes. GAO noted that: (1) the Bureau and USPS cooperate in developing address lists for each decennial census; (2) neither Commerce nor USPS has specified how the Bureau's address data could improve the USPS address list; (3) sharing Census address information with state and local governments could increase their census participation and improve the quality of the Bureau's lists, but could raise privacy concerns, which could further undermine the quality of census data; (4) the Bureau has an opportunity to test address list improvements in its 1995 Test Census, and will take additional steps to safeguard the confidentiality of census data; and (5) while sharing Census statistical information with other federal agencies is desirable, there is little justification for sharing Census address data with other federal agencies.

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