Decennial Census:

Promising Proposals, Some Progress, But Challenges Remain

T-GGD-94-80: Published: Jan 26, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its views on the Bureau of the Census's planned 2000 Decennial Census, focusing on the: (1) Bureau's report to Congress; (2) status of Bureau and U.S. Postal Service cooperative efforts; and (3) effect of fiscal year 1994 funding levels on decennial census planning. GAO noted that: (1) it could only review and comment on the Bureau's draft report to Congress, since the report has not been officially approved; (2) the Bureau may not be able to complete changes to make the census more user-friendly in time for the 1995 test census; (3) although the Bureau is considering sampling nonresponsive households to control costs, it needs to determine the error differential between sampling nonrespondents and contacting all nonrespondents and whether sample testing is legal; (4) although it supports the Bureau's development of new statistical estimation procedures, it believes these procedures could be flawed due to the Bureau's decision to accelerate the testing schedule and use administrative records; (5) cooperative efforts between the Bureau and the Postal Service have resulted in progress toward compiling address lists, mapping new addresses, and identifying vacant housing; (6) the Bureau and Postal Service need to resolve statutory information sharing limitations and decide how to synchronize census operations with postal operations before the 1995 test census; (7) the Bureau believes it has sufficient funding for census planning activities in 1994; and (8) the Bureau needs to fill its Director's position so that it can establish a consensus on census reform.

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