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Testimony before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, 
Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate:

United States Government Accountability Office: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 2:30 p.m. EST:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010:

2010 Census:

Key Enumeration Activities Are Moving Forward, but Information 
Technology Systems Remain a Concern:

Statement of Robert Goldenkoff, Director: 
Strategic Issues:


GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-10-430T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services 
and International Security, Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate. 

Why GAO Did This Study:

In March 2008, GAO designated the 2010 Census a high-risk area in part 
because of information technology (IT) shortcomings and uncertainty 
over the ultimate cost of the census, now estimated at around $15 
billion. The U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) has since made improvements 
to various IT systems and taken other steps to mitigate the risks of a 
successful census. However, last year, GAO noted that a number of 
challenges and uncertainties remained, and much work remained to be 
completed under very tight time frames. 

As requested, this testimony provides an update on the Bureau’s 
readiness for an effective headcount, covering (1) the status of key 
IT systems; (2) steps the Bureau has taken to revise its cost 
estimates; and (3) the extent to which critical enumeration 
activities, particularly those aimed at hard-to-count populations, are 
on track. The testimony is based on previously issued and ongoing GAO 

What GAO Found:

Overall, the Bureau’s readiness for a successful headcount is mixed. 
On the one hand, ongoing performance issues are affecting key IT 
systems, especially a workflow management system essential for the 
Bureau’s field operations and a payroll processing system that will be 
used to pay more than 1 million temporary workers. Indeed, an 
important performance test the Bureau held in December 2009 revealed 
significant performance issues with each system. Bureau officials 
stated that many of these issues were resolved in further testing; 
however, others remain unresolved, and new defects were identified. 
The Bureau is going to great lengths to address these issues. However, 
little time remains before the systems need to become fully 

In addition, the Bureau revised its cost estimate from $2.7 billion to 
$2.3 billion for nonresponse follow-up, the largest and most costly 
field operation where census workers follow up in person with 
nonresponding households. However, the Bureau’s analyses of cost are 
not complete. According to the Bureau, it continues to reexamine the 
cost of two other nonresponse follow-up related operations. 

On the other hand, the rollout of key enumeration activities is 
generally on track, and the Bureau has taken action to address some 
previously identified problems. For example, the Bureau has taken 
several steps to reduce the number of unreadable fingerprint cards of 
temporary workers, a problem that plagued an earlier field operation. 
Among other actions, the Bureau plans to digitally capture a third and 
fourth set of fingerprints if the first two sets cannot be read for 
background security checks. The Bureau has also developed new 
procedures for counting those living in group quarters, such as 
dormitories and prisons. For example, the Bureau is using a single 
address list containing both group quarters and housing units, rather 
than separate lists as in the 2000 Census, to reduce the chance of 
double counting. The Bureau’s 2010 Census communications campaign is 
also more robust than the one used in the 2000 Census. Key differences 
from the 2000 campaign include increased partnership staffing, 
targeted paid advertising based on market and attitudinal research, 
and a contingency fund to address unexpected events. To increase 
participation rates, the Bureau plans to mail a second, replacement 
questionnaire to census tracts that had low or moderate response rates 
in the 2000 Census. To help ensure a complete count of areas along the 
Gulf Coast, the Bureau plans to hand deliver an estimated 1.2 million 
census forms in areas devastated by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. 
This effort will help ensure that households—even those that were not 
on the Bureau’s address list but appear inhabitable—will be included 
in the census. 

Moving forward, it will be important for the Bureau to quickly 
identify the problems affecting key IT systems and test solutions. 
Further, given the complexity of the census and the likelihood that 
other glitches might arise, it will be important for the Bureau to 
stay on schedule, monitor operations, and have plans and personnel in 
place to quickly address operational issues. 

What GAO Recommends:

GAO is not making new recommendations in this testimony, but past 
reports recommended that the Bureau strengthen its testing of key IT 
systems, better document and update its cost estimates, and ensure the 
accuracy of the address list used to mail out questionnaires. The 
Bureau generally agreed with these recommendations and is in varying 
stages of implementing them. 

View [hyperlink,] or key 
components. For more information, contact Robert Goldenkoff at (202) 
512-2757 or 

[End of section]

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: I am pleased to be here 
today to discuss the Census Bureau's (Bureau) readiness to conduct the 
2010 Census. With just over 5 weeks remaining until Census Day, April 
1, 2010, the decade-long process of researching, planning, testing, 
and evaluating procedures for the nation's largest peace-time 
mobilization has come to a close, and the complex and costly business 
of data collection is now underway.

The population count began on January 25, north of the Arctic Circle, 
in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Noorvik, Alaska, when the Director of 
the Census Bureau took the lead in counting the first 700 or so 
residents of the more than 300 million people who reside in our 
country. The Bureau is scheduled to mail census forms to most of the 
nation's households in mid-March, and simultaneously launch additional 
operations aimed at counting people in migrant worker housing, boats, 
tent cities, homeless shelters, nursing homes, dormitories, prisons, 
and other diverse dwellings, all in an effort to ensure a complete and 
accurate enumeration. In short, a successful census will require the 
near perfect alignment of thousands of interdependent activities; 
partnerships with local, state, and tribal governments and various 
community and other organizations; and automated systems, as well as 
over a million temporary employees, all laboring under extremely tight 
time frames.

At this critical juncture, it is important to examine the Bureau's 
preparedness for the headcount, taking stock of the Bureau's progress 
over the course of the decade, and the challenges that still need to 
be addressed to ensure a successful enumeration. As you know, the road 
to Census Day has been a rocky one, fraught with operational setbacks 
and cost overruns. The hurdles the Bureau has experienced to date-- 
including weaknesses in the Bureau's information technology (IT) 
acquisition and contract management function and uncertainty over the 
ultimate cost of the census--now estimated at around $15 billion--led 
us to designate the 2010 Census a high-risk area in March 2008. 
[Footnote 1] In the last year, however, we testified that the Bureau 
had made commendable progress in rolling out key components of the 
census, making improvements to various IT systems and certain risk 
management efforts, among other activities. At the same time, we 
cautioned that a number of operations and support systems still needed 
to be designed, planned, and tested; little time remained to address a 
range of outstanding IT issues; and, perhaps most importantly, the 
Bureau faced significant challenges finalizing an automated system 
used to manage field data collection known as the Paper-Based 
Operations Control System (PBOCS).[Footnote 2]

As requested, my remarks today will focus on the Bureau's readiness 
for the 2010 Census and the challenges and opportunities that lie 
ahead. In particular, I will update the Subcommittee on the progress 
the Bureau is making in addressing issues that prompted us to 
designate the 2010 Census a high-risk area: (1) the reliability of key 
IT systems, and (2) the quality of its cost estimates, as well as (3) 
a broad range of activities critical to an effective headcount, some 
of which were problematic in either earlier 2010 operations or in the 
2000 Census. The activities include procedures for fingerprinting 
temporary employees; the Bureau's efforts to count people residing in 
nursing homes, dormitories, and other group living arrangements known 
as "group quarters"; the rollout of key marketing efforts aimed at 
improving the participation of hard-to-count populations and how 
Recovery Act[Footnote 3] funds are being used as part of that effort; 
the Bureau's plans for a mailing a second, follow-up questionnaire and 
the removal of late mail returns; and the Bureau's plans to secure a 
complete count in the hurricane-affected areas along the Gulf Coast.

My testimony today is based on our ongoing and completed reviews of 
key census-taking operations.[Footnote 4] In our review, we analyzed 
key documents including plans, procedures, and guidance for the 
selected activities, and interviewed cognizant Bureau officials at 
headquarters and local census offices. In addition, to examine the 
Bureau's group quarters activities, we observed the group quarters 
validation operation at Atlanta, Georgia; Fresno, Los Angeles, and San 
Bernardino, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, 
D.C. We selected these locations because of their geographic 
diversity, variety of group quarters, and hard-to-count populations. 
We also made onsite observations of certain census promotional events 
in Boston, Massachusetts; Washington D.C.; and Atlanta.

On February 2, 2010, we provided the Bureau with a statement of facts 
for our audit work, and on February 5, 2010, the Bureau provided 
written comments. The Bureau made some suggestions where additional 
context or clarification was needed and, where appropriate, we made 
those changes. We conducted our work in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that 
we plan and perform the audits to obtain sufficient, appropriate 
evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and 
conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the 
evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and 
conclusions based on our audit objectives.

In summary, key IT functions--namely the Bureau's personnel and 
payroll system and PBOCS--continue to face performance problems and 
have not yet demonstrated the ability to function reliably under full 
operational loads. With key deadlines looming, it will be important 
for the Bureau to identify the defects affecting the IT systems, test 
solutions, and quickly implement changes. Likewise, the Bureau's 
analyses of cost are not complete. While the Bureau has finalized its 
reexamination of nonresponse follow-up (NRFU) cost, now estimated at 
$2.3 billion, it continues to update the costs for other NRFU-related 
operations. In other areas, the Bureau continues to make progress. For 
example, the Bureau has improved its fingerprinting procedures for 
temporary workers, and its plans to count people in group quarters and 
to market the census--especially to hard-to-count populations--are 
generally on track and more robust compared to similar efforts during 
the 2000 Census.

The performance of the IT systems notwithstanding, a successful 
outcome is far from guaranteed. To be sure, the 2010 Census is 
unprecedented in its scope and complexity, and experience from past 
enumerations suggests that various glitches are all but inevitable 
once the headcount is fully underway. Given this difficult operating 
environment, as the Bureau well knows, it will be critical to (1) stay 
on schedule; (2) closely monitor operations with appropriate cost, 
performance, and scheduling metrics; and (3) have appropriate plans 
and personnel in place to quickly address operational issues.

Importantly, I also want to stress, as we have in the past, that the 
Census Bureau cannot conduct a successful enumeration on its own. 
Indeed, the decennial census is a shared national undertaking, and it 
is now up to the general public to fulfill its civic responsibility to 
mail back the census questionnaires in a timely fashion.[Footnote 5] 
According to the Bureau, each percentage point increase in the mail 
response rate saves taxpayers around $85 million and yields more 
accurate data compared to information collected by enumerators from 
nonrespondents. The bottom line, Mr. Chairman, is that in a few weeks, 
a key determinant of the success of the 2010 Census will be, both 
literally and figuratively, in the hands of the American people.


As you know, Mr. Chairman, the decennial census is a constitutionally 
mandated enterprise critical to our nation. Census data are used to 
apportion seats and redraw congressional districts, and to help 
allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid to state and 
local governments each year.

In developing the 2010 Census, a long-standing challenge for the 
Bureau has been the reliability of its IT systems. For example, in 
March 2009, we reported that the Bureau needed to develop a master 
list of interfaces between systems; set priorities for the testing of 
interfaces based on criticality; and develop testing plans and 
schedules.[Footnote 6] In the months that followed, while the Bureau 
strengthened its management and oversight of its IT systems, 
additional work was needed under very tight time frames.

More generally, now that the census has moved to the operational 
phase, it will be important for the Bureau to stay on schedule. The 
enumeration has several immutable deadlines, and an elaborate chain of 
interrelated pre-and post-Census Day activities are predicated upon 
those dates. Specifically, the Department of Commerce--the Bureau's 
parent agency--is legally required to (1) conduct the census on April 
1 of the decennial year, (2) report the state population counts to the 
President for purposes of congressional apportionment by December 31 
of the decennial year, and (3) send population tabulations to the 
states for purposes of redistricting no later than 1 year after the 
April 1 census date. To meet these reporting requirements, census 
activities need to take place at specific times and in the proper 
sequence. A time line of key census operations is shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Time Frames for Key Census Activities:

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

Operation or activity: Local update of census addresses (LUCA): 
Localities assist in updating address lists and maps; 
Timeframe: February 2007 through February 2010. 

Operation or activity: Opening of 494 local census offices; 
Timeframe: October 2008 through December 2009. 

Operation or activity: Large block canvassing: Field staff validate 
addresses for blocks containing over 1,000 housing units; 
Timeframe: January 2009 through June 2009. 

Operation or activity: Address canvassing: Field staff validate 
address lists and maps; 
Timeframe: April 2009 through July 2009. 

Operation or activity: Group quarters validation: Field staff validate 
addresses for group housing such as prisons and nursing facilities; 
Timeframe: September 2009 through October 2009. 

Operation or activity: Mailout/mailback: Most households are mailed 
census questionnaires; 
Timeframe: March 2010 through September 2010. 

Operation or activity: Update/enumerate: Field staff visit housing 
units that do not have house numbers and/or street names; 
Timeframe: March 2010 through May 2010. 

Operation or activity: Group quarters enumeration: Field staff visit 
group housing such as prisons and nursing facilities; 
Timeframe: March 2010 through May 2010. 

Operation or activity: Nonresponse follow-up: Field staff follow-up in 
person with nonresponding households; 
Timeframe: May 2010 through July 2010. 

Operation or activity: Coverage follow-up: Staff follow-up by 
telephone to resolve conflicting information provided on census forms; 
Timeframe: April 2010 through August 2010. 

Key Dates: 
April 1, 2010: Census Day; 
December 31, 2010: Delivery of apportionment to the President; 
April 1, 2011: Complete delivery of redistricting data to states. 

Source: GAO summary of U.S. Census Bureau information. 

[End of figure]

Because of these tight deadlines, as the enumeration progresses, the 
tolerance for any operational delays or changes becomes increasingly 
small. Consequently, as the enumeration progresses, it will be 
important for the Bureau to closely monitor key performance metrics to 
ensure that the various operations are on track and quickly address 
any glitches. Indeed, the interrelated nature of census activities 
raises the risk that a shortcoming in one operation could trigger 
other activities to spiral downward. For example, a lower than 
expected mail response rate would drive up the follow-up workload, 
which in turn would increase staffing needs and costs. Of course the 
reverse is also true, where a success in one operation could have a 
number of positive downstream impacts.

Key IT Systems Are Experiencing Significant Performance Issues:

Although the Bureau has made progress in testing and deploying IT 
systems for the 2010 Census, significant performance issues have been 
identified with both the workflow management system--PBOCS--as well as 
with the Decennial Applicant Personnel and Payroll System (DAPPS), the 
automated system the Bureau is using to handle the payroll of the more 
than 1 million temporary employees that are to work on the census.

In March 2009, we reported that the Bureau had a number of problems 
related to testing of key IT systems, including weaknesses in test 
plans and schedules, and a lack of executive-level oversight and 
guidance.[Footnote 7] In that report, we recommended that the Bureau 
complete key system testing activities and improve testing oversight 
and guidance. The Bureau agreed with our recommendations. Since that 
time, we have been monitoring and tracking the Bureau's progress and, 
last October, we testified that the Bureau had taken steps to improve 
its management and testing of key IT system for the 2010 Census, such 
as naming a Decennial Census Testing Officer whose primary 
responsibilities include monitoring testing for decennial census 
activities.[Footnote 8] The Bureau had also completed limited end-to- 
end testing[Footnote 9] of PBOCS. The Bureau developed this workflow 
management system--which is designed to manage the work assignments 
and related maps for hundreds of thousands of enumerators--late in the 
decade when it moved from handheld computers, which it found 
unreliable, to a paper-based approach for some field operations. These 
operations include NRFU, when enumerators collect data through 
personal interviews from the tens of millions of households that fail 
to mail back a census questionnaire.

However, critical performance issues still need to be addressed and 
additional testing remains to be completed. For example, in December 
2009, the Bureau completed two iterations of a key performance test, 
known as the Decennial Application Load Test. For the test, more than 
8,000 field staff at about 400 local census offices performed a 
combination of manual and automated tests to assess the performance of 
key IT systems, including DAPPS and the first release of PBOCS. In the 
first test, DAPPS failed, and other key systems, including PBOCS, 
performed slowly. There were system communication errors as well.

Bureau officials stated that many of these issues were resolved during 
the second iteration of testing; however, others remain to be resolved 
and new issues were identified. For example, DAPPS performed slowly 
during the second iteration of testing. This issue must be resolved 
and retested. To the Bureau's credit, the performance test helped to 
identify significant issues before systems are needed for key field 

DAPPS program officials stated that the current version of the program 
has been deployed since October 2008 and has been processing payroll 
for a smaller number of temporary census employees (about 140,000). 
However, three major issues, involving system hardware, software, and 
the operating system, were identified as the likely causes of DAPPS 
system failure during the first load test. At least one of these 
issues was known to exist before the load test, but has not yet been 
resolved. The officials stated that they are taking several steps to 
resolve these issues, including upgrading and reconfiguring the 
system, and deploying additional hardware to support the system. An 
additional load test is also planned for DAPPS. The officials stated 
that they plan to have all issues resolved by the end of February, and 
acknowledge that it is critical that DAPPS be fully functional under a 
heavy load by mid-March, when the Bureau will begin hiring a large 
number of temporary employees (about 600,000) for NRFU who will need 
to be paid using the system.

In addition to issues mentioned with DAPPS, the December load test was 
not intended to be a comprehensive test of PBOCS, which has multiple 
releases at varying stages of development and testing. The first 
release of this system was deployed for early census field operations 
in January 2010, but it has known defects, such as limited 
functionality, slow performance, and problems generating certain 
progress and performance reports. In addition, the development and 
testing of two other releases is needed before the system is ready for 
other key field operations, such as the enumeration of residents in 
group quarters, scheduled to begin in March 2010.

In recognition of the serious implications that a failed PBOCS would 
have for conducting of the 2010 Census, the Bureau has taken 
additional steps to mitigate the outstanding risks. For example, in 
June 2009, the Bureau chartered an independent assessment team, 
chaired by the Bureau's Chief Information Officer, to monitor and 
report on, among other things, the system's development and testing 
progress. These efforts are encouraging. However, the aggressive 
development and testing schedule presents various challenges. For 
example, two of the three releases of PBOCS were not included in the 
recent performance test because development of these releases had not 
yet been completed. This increases the risk that performance issues, 
such as those described above, may reoccur in future releases of the 
system and the Bureau's ability to resolve and retest these issues 
before the system is needed for key field operations will be limited.

In addition to DAPPS and PBOCS, the Bureau will rely on six other key 
automated systems to conduct the census. Progress has been made with 
respect to system testing. However, much system testing remains to be 
completed in the next few months, as shown in the following table.

Table 1: Status of key system testing activities (as of January 2010):

Census system: Headquarters Processing - Universe Control and 
Description: Organizes address files into enumeration "universes," 
which serve as the basis for enumeration operations and response data 
Status of testing activities: System development is divided into three 
phases. According to the Bureau, the first of three phases was 
deployed for initial operations in July 2009, which was completed in 
January 2010. Limited functionality of the second release was deployed 
in December 2009 and deployment of the remaining functionality is 
planned to be completed by September 2010. 

Census system: Headquarters Processing - Response Processing System; 
Description: Receives response data and edits the data to help 
eliminate duplicate responses by, for example, identifying people who 
have been enumerated more than once; 
Status of testing activities: System development is divided into six 
components. Testing of the first of six components, intended to 
receive response data, began in August 2009. The program plans to 
complete testing of the five remaining components by December 2010. 
The first component of this system is needed for operations in 
February 2010. 

Census system: Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic 
Encoding and Referencing system; 
Description: Provides geographic information and support to aid the 
Bureau in establishing where to count the U.S. population for the 2010 
Status of testing activities: The system has been functioning in a 
limited capacity since September 2007; however, additional testing is 
needed for 2010 Operations. As of January 2010, all nine test plans 
for 2010 Operations have been finalized. Testing activities for one 
test plan have been completed; seven are under way; and one has not 
yet started. Geographic information needed to support key operations, 
such as NRFU, is planned to be delivered by April 2010. 

Census system: Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA); 
Description: Provides automation support for field data collection 
operations. It includes the development of handheld computers for the 
address canvassing operation and the systems, equipment, and 
infrastructure that field staff will use to collect data; 
Status of testing activities: Development and testing for FDCA has 
been completed. The FDCA applications related to address canvassing 
were deployed and the operation completed. Map printing software has 
been deployed to field offices. The FDCA contractor is supporting map 
printing activities. 

Census system: Decennial Response Integration System; 
Description: Collects and integrates census responses from all 
sources, including forms and telephone interviews; 
Status of testing activities: Six increments of system development and 
testing have been completed; however, additional regression testing is 
needed. The program is also conducting additional interface testing 
and operational testing before the system is needed for operations in 
February 2010. 

Census system: Data Access and Dissemination System II (DADS II); 
Description: Replaces legacy systems for tabulating and publicly 
disseminating data; 
Status of testing activities: The system consists of two subsystems, 
each with three iterations of development and testing. For one 
subsystem, the program is testing the second of the three iterations. 
For the other subsystem, the program is currently testing the third 
iteration. DADS II is needed for operations beginning in December 2010. 

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. 

[End of table] 

Given the importance of IT systems to the decennial census, it is 
critical that the Bureau ensure that DAPPS, PBOCS, and other key 
systems are thoroughly tested. The limited amount of time to resolve 
what are, in certain cases, significant performance issues creates a 
substantial challenge for the Bureau.

The Bureau Has Revised Its Cost Estimate for Nonresponse Follow-up, 
but Needs to Complete Additional Updates as Planned:

In 2008, we reported that the Bureau had not carried out the necessary 
analyses to demonstrate that the then life-cycle cost estimate of 
about $11.5 billion for the 2010 Census was credible, and we 
recommended that the Bureau better document and update the estimate, 
to which it generally agreed.[Footnote 10] Since then, two early 
census field operations have experienced major differences between 
their estimated and actual costs. For address canvassing, where census 
workers verify address lists and maps, actual costs exceeded the 
Bureau's initial estimate of $356 million by $89 million, or 25 
percent. In contrast, for group quarters validation, where census 
workers verify addresses of group housing, actual costs were below the 
Bureau's estimate of $71 million by about $29 million, or 41 percent. 
[Footnote 11]

Because of cost overruns during address canvassing, as well as 
concerns over the increased number of vacant units due to 
foreclosures, the Bureau has implemented our recommendation and 
reexamined the assumptions and other data used to support the cost 
estimate for NRFU, the most costly and labor-intensive of all census 
field operations. Earlier this month, the Bureau provided us with the 
results from that reexamination. Although we have not fully assessed 
the Bureau's analysis, our preliminary review shows that the Bureau 
now estimates that NRFU will cost about $2.3 billion, a decrease of 
around $400 million (15 percent) from its previous estimate of about 
$2.7 billion. In updating the estimate, the Bureau considered a number 
of cost drivers. For example, the Bureau reviewed 1) field work 
assumptions--such as miles driven per case, pay rates, hours worked 
per week, and attrition--which the Bureau updated based on actual 
Census 2000 data, national and field tests, and address canvassing 
results; 2) factors affecting response rate and hence NRFU workload--
such as the national trend in survey response, use of a bilingual 
questionnaire and replacement mailing for 2010, and the vacancy rate; 
and 3) enumerator productivity rates, based on regional managers' 
concerns over enumerating vacant units and non-English-speaking 
households. Further, in its analysis, the Bureau cited holding pay 
rates for NRFU temporary staff at 2009 levels, rather than the 
proposed 2010 pay rate, as one of the reasons for the reduction in 
NRFU costs.

According to the Bureau, two cost drivers--workload, based on the mail 
response rate, and productivity--are uncertain and could have a 
significant effect on the ultimate cost of NRFU. For example, the 
Bureau states that if the response rate decreases by 2 percentage 
points due to extreme circumstances, such as an immigration backlash, 
costs could increase by $170 million. Likewise, if PBOCS continues to 
experience performance problems causing 2 weeks of lost productivity, 
the Bureau says it would need to hire and train more staff to complete 
NRFU in order to deliver the apportionment counts to the President by 
December 31, 2010, which, according to the Bureau, could increase 
costs by about $138 million.

As we previously recommended, revising cost estimates with updated 
data is an important best practice for cost estimation. However, the 
Bureau's analyses of cost are not complete. While the Bureau has 
finalized its reexamination of NRFU cost, it continues to update the 
costs for other NRFU-related operations. These operations include the 
NRFU Reinterview, a quality assurance procedure designed to ensure 
that field procedures were followed and to identify census workers who 
intentionally or unintentionally produced data errors. It also 
includes the Vacancy/Delete Check operation, which is a follow-up to 
NRFU and is designed to verify the status of addresses classified as 
vacant, or addresses determined to be nonexistent (deletes) during 
NRFU, as well as cases added since the NRFU workload was initially 
identified. According to the Bureau, emerging information about the 
Vacancy/Delete Check operation suggest that the workload may be much 
higher than originally expected and could increase costs from $345 
million to $482 million--almost $137 million, or 40 percent. The 
Bureau said it will update the cost estimates of both these operations 
once additional information becomes available.

A reliable cost estimate is critical to the success of any program 
because it provides the basis for informed investment decision making, 
realistic budget formulation, meaningful progress measurement, 
proactive course correction when warranted, and accountability for 

The Implementation of Key Enumeration Activities Continues to Make 

In contrast to the IT systems, the rollout of other activities is 
going more smoothly. Indeed, the Bureau has taken steps to address 
certain previously identified problems, and its plans to improve the 
count of hard-to-enumerate groups are generally more robust compared 
to similar activities during the 2000 Census. Those activities include 
procedures for fingerprinting temporary employees; the Bureau's 
efforts to count people residing in nursing homes, dormitories, and 
other group living arrangements known as "group quarters"; the rollout 
of key marketing efforts aimed at improving the participation of hard-
to-count populations; the Bureau's plans for a mailing a second, 
follow-up questionnaire and the removal of late mail returns; and the 
Bureau's plans to secure a complete count in the hurricane-affected 
areas along the Gulf Coast.

Bureau Has Taken Steps to Reduce the Number of Unclassifiable 
Fingerprints of Temporary Workers:

The Bureau plans to fingerprint its temporary workforce for the first 
time in the 2010 Census to better conduct background security checks 
on its workforce of hundreds of thousands of temporary census workers. 
[Footnote 12] However, the Bureau found that during address 
canvassing, an operation that the Bureau conducted in the summer of 
2009 to verify every address in the country, 22 percent of the workers 
(approximately 35,700 people) hired for the operation had 
unclassifiable prints. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 
determined that the issue was generally the result of errors that 
occurred when the prints were first taken at the local census offices.

To fingerprint workers during address canvassing, Bureau employees 
captured two sets of fingerprints on ink fingerprint cards from each 
temporary worker by the end of the workers' first day of training. The 
cards were then sent to the Bureau's National Processing Center in 
Jeffersonville, Indiana, to be scanned and electronically submitted to 
the FBI. If the first set of prints were unclassifiable, then the 
National Processing Center sent the FBI the second set of prints. If 
the results showed a criminal record that made an employee unsuitable 
for employment, the Bureau either terminated the person immediately or 
placed the individual in a nonworking status until the matter was 

To help ensure the success of fingerprinting operations for NRFU--
which will peak at approximately 484,000 fingerprint submissions over 
a 3-day period from April 28-30, 2010--the Bureau will follow similar 
procedures, but has taken additional steps to improve fingerprint 
image quality. They include refining training manuals used to instruct 
local census office staff on how to take fingerprints, scheduling 
fingerprint training closer to when the prints are captured, and 
increasing the length of training. Further, the Bureau plans on using 
an oil-free lotion during fingerprinting that is believed to raise the 
ridges on fingertips to improve the legibility of the prints.

The Bureau has also revised its procedures for refingerprinting 
employees when both fingerprint cards cannot be read. During address 
canvassing, if both sets of fingerprints were unclassifiable, workers 
were allowed to continue working if their name background check was 
acceptable, and would be refingerprinted only if they were rehired for 
future operations. Under the revised policy, the Bureau plans to 
digitally capture a third and fourth set of fingerprints if the FBI 
cannot classify the first two sets. The Bureau plans to purchase 
approximately 1,017 digital fingerprint scanners. Each local census 
office will receive a minimum of one machine, with the remaining 
scanners to be distributed at the discretion of the Regional Director. 
The Bureau estimates that this additional step could reduce the 
percentage of workers with unclassifiable prints from 22 percent down 
to approximately 10 to 12 percent, or an estimated 60,000 to 72,000 
temporary workers for NRFU. We did not receive a response from the 
Bureau whether it will allow those workers with unclassifiable prints 
to continue to work on NRFU operations.

Operational Changes Made for 2010 Position the Bureau to More 
Accurately Classify and Identify Group Quarters:

During the decennial census, the Bureau conducts separate operations 
to count people residing in group quarters facilities. The Bureau 
defines group quarters as "places where people live or stay in a group 
living arrangement that are owned or managed by an entity or 
organization providing housing and/or services for the residents," 
such as boarding schools, correctional facilities, health care 
facilities, military quarters, and college and university housing. 
According to Bureau estimates, more than 8.1 million people, or 
approximately 3 percent of the population, live in group quarter 

During the 2000 Census, the Bureau did not always accurately enumerate 
group quarters because, among other reasons, group quarters were 
sometimes hard to distinguish from conventional housing units (see 
figure 2), or the address of an administrative building was in a 
separate geographic location than where the people actually lived, as 
was sometimes the case with prison complexes. For example, in prior 
work,[Footnote 13] we found that the population count of Cameron, 
Missouri, was off by nearly 1,500 people because the population of the 
state's Crossroads Correctional Center was inadvertently omitted from 
the town's headcount. Similarly, North Carolina's population count was 
reduced by 2,828 people, largely because the Bureau had to delete 
duplicate data on almost 2,700 students in 26 dormitories (see figure 
3) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).[Footnote 
14] Precision is critical because, in some cases, small differences in 
population totals could potentially impact apportionment and/or 
redistricting decisions.

Figure 2: Group Homes Could Resemble Conventional Housing:

[Refer to PDF for image: photograph] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure]

Figure 3: Students in 26 UNC Dormitories Were Counted Twice in the 

[Refer to PDF for image: photograph] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure]

The Bureau developed and tested new procedures to address the 
difficulties it had in identifying and counting this population during 
the 2000 Census. For example, the Bureau moved from manual to GPS-
generated mapspots, which should reduce the chance of human error and 
group quarters populations being counted in the wrong jurisdiction; 
moved from a telephone interview to a field verification approach, 
which should increase accuracy; and moved to a single address list, 
which should reduce the chance of double counting. In addition, 
following the 2004 Census Test, we recommended that the Bureau revisit 
group quarter procedures to ensure that this population was properly 
located and counted.[Footnote 15] The Bureau implemented our 
recommendation and revised its group quarters procedures to clearly 
instruct census workers to properly correct and delete addresses. 
Further, to better ensure a more accurate group quarters count, the 
Bureau employed a three-prong effort consisting of those operations 
shown in table 2.

Table 2: Group Quarters Validation is the First Operation in a Three- 
Prong Effort to Accurately Enumerate Group Quarters:

Operation name: Group Quarters Validation; 
Dates: 9/28/09 to 10/23/09; 
* Determine the status of the address as either a group quarter, 
housing unit, transitory location, nonresidential, nonexistent, 
duplicate, or vacant; 
* Determine the type of facility (i.e., correctional facility, health 
care facility, military quarters, dormitory, etc.) and confirm group 
quarter's geographic location; 
* Verify group quarters name, address, contact name and phone number. 

Operation name: Group Quarters Advance Visit; 
Dates: 2/1/10 to 3/19/10; 
Purpose: Confirm locations of group quarters and identify contact 
officials to facilitate actual enumeration. 

Operation name: Group Quarters Enumeration; 
Dates: 3/30/10 to 5/14/10; 
Purpose: Visit each group quarter to obtain a complete list of the 
names of the people living or staying at the group quarter and 
enumerate all people living or staying there. 

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau information. 

[End of table] 

For the 2010 group quarters operations, the Bureau drew from a number 
of sources to build its list of group quarters addresses including 
data from the 2000 Census, address submissions provided by state and 
local governments, Internet-based research, and group quarters located 
during door-to-door address canvassing. During the first of the three 
group quarters operations (group quarters validation), approximately 
25,000 temporary workers identified over 240,000 group quarters 
facilities from a workload of over 2 million potential group quarters 
in both the United States and Puerto Rico. The remaining approximately 
1.76 million addresses were identified during group quarters 
validation as conventional housing units, transitory locations, 
nonresidential, nonexistent, or duplicates. All addresses that were 
verified as housing units or transitory locations were added to the 
appropriate address extracts for subsequent enumeration operations. In 
addition, over 7,000 addresses from the group quarters validation 
workload could not be properly processed in the Bureau's database 
because they were returned with insufficient information. However, a 
contingency plan was implemented to ensure these locations were 
included in the census.

The changes made to group quarters operations appear promising, and 
the Bureau plans to evaluate coverage of the group quarters 
population. However, the Bureau will not evaluate each of the three 
group quarters operation's effectiveness, cost, or value added. Such 
evaluations could be useful in improving the operations, identifying 
possibly duplicative operations, and identifying potential cost 
savings for 2020. For example, given the large number of non-group 
quarters included in the workload for group quarters validation (about 
88 percent), the Bureau may want to consider ways to begin the 
operation with a more concise initial workload. Additionally, in both 
group quarters validation and group quarters advance visit operations, 
census workers personally visit group quarters, verify the facility 
contact information, provide confidentiality information, and collect 
occupancy numbers. Because these activities appear to be duplicative, 
the Bureau may want to reexamine the need to conduct both operations.

The Bureau's Communications Campaign Is Aimed at Hard-to-count Groups:

A complete and accurate census is becoming an increasingly daunting 
task, in part because the nation's population is growing larger, more 
diverse, and more reluctant to participate. To overcome these 
challenges, the Bureau has developed the Integrated Communications 
Campaign aimed at, among other things, improving the mail response 
rate and reducing the differential undercount.[Footnote 16] An 
undercount occurs when the census misses a person who should have been 
included; an overcount occurs when an individual is counted in error. 
What makes these errors particularly problematic is their differential 
impact on various subgroups. Minorities, renters, and children, for 
example, are more likely to be undercounted by the census while more 
affluent groups, such as people with vacation homes, are more likely 
to be enumerated more than once. As shown in table 3, the 2010 
communications campaign consists of four components: the partnership 
program, paid advertising, public relations, and an educational 
program called Census in Schools.

Table 3: 2010 Census Communications Campaign Components:

Component: Partnership program; 
Description: Engages key government and community organizations and 
gains their commitment to support the census, focusing resources on 
hard-to-count communities. Among other contributions, partners help 
recruit census workers, help locate space for Questionnaire Assistance 
Centers and for testing census job applicants, sponsor community 
events to promote census participation, and motivate individuals to 
complete their census forms. 

Component: Paid advertising; 
Description: Uses numerous paid media sources, such as TV, radio, the 
Internet, and magazines to encourage census participation, 
particularly by hard-to-count populations, such as minorities, 
renters, and linguistically isolated populations. 

Component: Public relations; 
Description: Engages audiences via media activities to create 
credible, memorable messages. 

Component: Census in Schools; 
Description: Provides schools with lesson plans and teaching materials 
to support existing curricula so that students can get the message 
home to parents and guardians that answering the census is important 
and confidential. 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. 

[End of table] 

The 2010 communications campaign's initial budget of $410 million was 
increased by $220 million in additional funds appropriated by the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[Footnote 17] (Recovery 
Act).[Footnote 18] As a result, the Bureau was able to greatly expand 
its communications campaign activities. For example, the Bureau hired 
about 3,000 partnership staff, over 2,000 more than originally 
planned, and increased its paid advertising purchases targeted to 
specific ethnic or language audiences by more than $33 million (85 
percent) over its initial plan of about $39 million. The increased 
funding should enhance the Bureau's capacity to reach out to hard-to-
count communities. In all, the Bureau plans to spend about $72 million 
on paid advertising targeted to specific ethnic or language audiences, 
which is about $11 million more than the almost $61 million the Bureau 
plans to spend targeting the general population.

However, even with the additional Recovery Act funds, the Bureau plans 
to spend less for some components of the 2010 paid media buys than it 
did for 2000, when compared in constant 2010 dollars. For example, 
although the total budget for the 2010 paid advertising is $253 
million, which is about $12 million (5 percent) more than 2000, the 
Bureau plans to spend about $133 million of it on the total 
advertising buy (excluding production, labor, and other management 
costs), which is about $27 million (17 percent) less compared to the 
about $160 million spent in 2000. Table 4 shows the Bureau's 2010 
budget for paid media buys by target audience compared to what was 
spent in 2000.

Table 4: Paid Advertising Buys by Target Audience, 2000 vs. 2010:

Component: Total buy; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $133,003,094.

Component: Mass audience; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $60,811,800.

Component: Ethnic/Language audience; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $72,191,294.

Component: Hispanic; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $25,496,100.

Component: Black (including African and Caribbean); 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $22,978,350.

Component: Asian; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $13,521,600.

Component: Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $1,100,000.

Component: American Indian/Alaska Native; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $3,785,400.

Component: Emerging audiences[A]; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $2,035,800.

Component: Puerto Rico; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): $2,400,000.

Component: Island areas; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): 
2010 Census (budgeted): 0.

Component: New legacy languages[B]; 
2000 Census (2000 actual expenditures in 2010 constant dollars): Not 
2010 Census (budgeted): $874,044.

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau information.


[A] Emerging audiences includes Polish, Russian, and Arabic Speaking.

[B] New legacy languages includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Greek, 
French, and Yiddish. 

[End of table] 

Decreased spending on paid advertising may seem like a step in the 
wrong direction for promoting census participation. However, by better 
targeting paid advertising buys the Bureau expects to reach those who 
have historically been the hardest to count. For example, the Bureau 
based its decisions on how to allocate spending across different 
ethnic and language audiences based on a variety of factors, such as 
historical response data for an area, prevalence of hard-to-count 
households in a market, population size, and availability of in-market 
media. The Bureau also received input from staff in census regional 
offices, as well as from an independent 2010 Census advisory group 
called the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee. Further, the Bureau 
targeted the paid advertising messages based on market and attitudinal 
research. For example, the Bureau's attitudinal research identified 
five mindsets people have about the census, ranging from what Bureau 
research identified as "leading edge"--those who are highly likely to 
respond--to the "cynical fifth" who are less likely to participate 
because they doubt that the census provides tangible benefits. The 
Bureau used this information to develop messages to motivate each 
cohort to participate in the census. To target the cynical fifth, for 
example, the Bureau developed advertising that focus on the message 
that the census is important to their community.

In addition, as shown in table 5, the Bureau has made other noteworthy 
changes to 2010 paid advertising and partnership program activities, 
which are aimed at expanding outreach to hard-to-count groups and 
better monitoring campaign effectiveness.

Table 5: Key Differences Between 2000 and 2010 Paid Advertising and 
Partnership Program Activities:

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Campaign 
development and targeting; 
2000 Census: Targeted advertisements by segmenting the population into 
three groups of census participation likelihood, based on measures of 
civic participation in an area, such as school board involvement; 
2010 Census: Advertisements targeted based in part on actual Census 
2000 participation rates and attitudinal research. 

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Implementation; 
2000 Census: Hired about 600 partnership staff; 
2010 Census: Hired about 3,000 partnership staff. 

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Implementation; 
2000 Census: Partnership staff spoke 35 languages; 
2010 Census: Partnership staff speak 124 languages. 

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Implementation; 
2000 Census: No rapid response/media contingency fund for unexpected 
2010 Census: Established a $7.4 million rapid response/media 
contingency fund to address unexpected events such as lower response 
rates in certain areas. 

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Monitoring; 
2000 Census: No real-time metrics to measure effectiveness of paid 
media and limited real-time tracking of partnership activities; 
2010 Census: Established metrics to measure effectiveness of paid 
media and partnership program, such as real-time tracking of attitudes 
through national polling and value added contributions of partner 

Paid advertising and partnership program activities: Monitoring; 
2000 Census: Partnership tracking system cumbersome and not user- 
2010 Census: Revamped partnership tracking system by, among other 
things, allowing for up to date monitoring of partner activity. 

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau information. 

[End of table] 

In summary, our analysis suggests that the paid advertising and 
partnership activities, along with the other components of the 
Bureau's communications campaign, are generally more robust than the 
Bureau's promotional efforts during the 2000 Census in that the entire 
effort is more comprehensive, and activities appear to be more data-
driven and targeted. Moving forward, the key challenge facing the 
campaign is that it must not only raise awareness of the census, it 
must also influence behavior, a far more difficult task.

Second Census Questionnaire Has Potential to Increase Response Rate, 
but Will Be Available in English Only:

The Bureau's strategy to mail a second, or replacement, census 
questionnaire will be implemented for the first time in 2010 and is an 
important step towards improving response and decreasing costs. 
According to Bureau studies, mailing a replacement questionnaire 
increases overall response from households that do not respond to the 
initial questionnaire, which could generate significant cost savings 
by eliminating the need for census workers to obtain those responses 
via personal visits.

The Bureau plans to mail approximately 30 million replacement 
questionnaires to all households in census tracts that had the lowest 
response rates in Census 2000 (known as blanket replacement). Also, 
the Bureau plans to mail approximately 12 million replacement 
questionnaires to nonresponding households in other census tracts that 
had low-to-moderate response rates in 2000 (known as targeted 
replacement). In order to enhance the effectiveness of the replacement 
mailing, the Bureau will include a cover letter to distinguish the 
initial and replacement questionnaires and thus avoid receiving 
duplicate responses. However, replacement questionnaires will be 
provided in English-only, regardless of whether the household will 
receive a bilingual English/Spanish questionnaire in the initial 
mailing.[Footnote 19] According to a Bureau official, mailing a 
bilingual replacement questionnaire was logistically impractical for 
2010, given the limitations of the printing process and the five-day 
time frame for the targeted replacement mailing. Thus, in looking 
forward to the 2020 Census, it will be important for the Bureau to 
evaluate potential changes to the mailing strategy that would include, 
at a minimum, sending bilingual replacement questionnaires to those 
households that initially received a bilingual questionnaire.

The Bureau plans to mail replacement questionnaires between April 1 
and April 10 and develop an initial list of nonresponding households 
on April 7 (see table 6 for key dates in this process). Because the 
Bureau will likely receive replacement questionnaires after April 7, 
it must be able to effectively remove these late mail returns from the 
list of nonresponding households, or NRFU workload. Removing late mail 
returns is important because it prevents enumerators from visiting 
households that already returned their census forms, thus reducing 
NRFU workload and cost, as well as respondent burden. As shown in 
table 6, the Bureau plans to remove late mail returns from the NRFU 
workload four times using one automated and three manual processes. 
The Bureau has some experience with the manual process because some 
local census offices did some testing of late mail removals during the 
2000 Census. In addition, they have developed quality assurance 
procedures for the manual removal process. Moving forward, it will be 
important for the Bureau to ensure that local census offices follow 
these procedures so that households are not unnecessarily visited by 
an enumerator or inadvertently removed from the follow-up workload and 
missed in the census count.

Table 6: Replacement Mailing and Late Mail Returns Removal Are on a 
Tight Schedule:

Activity: Initial Census Questionnaires mailed; 
Date: March 15-17, 2010.

Activity: Census Day; 
Date: April 1.

Activity: Blanket replacement mailing questionnaires mailed; 
Date: April 1-3, 2010.

Activity: Targeted replacement mail questionnaires mailed; 
Date: April 6-10, 2010.

Activity: NRFU workload created; 
Date: April 7, 2010.

Activity: Automated removal of late mail returns; 
Date: April 21, 2010.

Activity: First manual removal of late mail returns (even numbered 
assignment areas); 
Date: April 24-25, 2010.

Activity: Second manual removal of late mail returns (odd numbered 
assignment areas); 
Date: May 1-2, 2010.

Activity: Third manual removal of late mail returns; 
Date: June 2010[A].

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

[A] The third clerical removal occurs when 95 percent of the work in a 
local census office is completed and the remaining assignments are 
brought in to redistribute. 

[End of table] 

The Bureau Has Tailored Operations to Enumerate Hurricane-Affected 

The scale of the destruction in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina, 
Rita, and Ike has made getting a complete and accurate population 
count in parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas especially 
challenging (see figure 4). Hurricane Katrina alone destroyed or made 
uninhabitable an estimated 300,000 homes. As we have previously 
testified,[Footnote 20] the Bureau, partly in response to 
recommendations made in our June 2007 report,[Footnote 21] developed 
supplemental training materials for natural disaster areas to help 
census address listers, when developing the census address list, 
identify addresses where people are, or may be, living when census 
questionnaires are distributed. For example, the materials noted the 
various situations that address listers might encounter, such as 
people living in trailers, homes marked for demolition, converted 
buses and recreational vehicles, and nonresidential space such as 
storage areas above restaurants. The training material also described 
the clues that could alert address listers to the presence of 
nontraditional places where people are living and provided a script 
they should follow when interviewing residents on the possible 
presence of hidden housing units.

Figure 4: Locating and Counting People Displaced by Storms Presents a 
Challenge Because Occupied Housing Units Could Be Hard to Identify:

[Refer PDF for image: 2 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure]

To ensure a quality count in the hurricane-affected areas, the Bureau 
will hand-deliver an estimated 1.2 million census questionnaires in 
these areas through the Update Leave operation, where census workers 
update addresses and provide a mail-back census questionnaire to each 
living quarter in their assigned areas. The Bureau estimates that it 
will be delivering questionnaires starting March 1, 2010, to housing 
units that appear inhabitable in much of southeast Louisiana, south 
Mississippi, and Texas, even if they do not appear on the Bureau's 
address list. Occupants will be asked to complete and return the 
questionnaire by mail. Census workers will also identify modifications 
for the Bureau's address list, including additions, deletions, 
corrections, and spotting duplicate information. By hand delivering 
questionnaires, the Bureau hopes to ensure that housing units that may 
have been missed will receive and return questionnaires, ultimately 
improving the accuracy of the count. Finally, the Bureau stated that 
it must count people where they are living on Census Day and 
emphasized that if a housing unit gets rebuilt and people move back 
before Census Day, then that is where those people will be counted. 
However, if they are living someplace else, then they should be 
counted where they are living on Census Day.

Concluding Observations:

Mr. Chairman, with less than two months to go until Census Day, the 
Bureau's readiness for the headcount is mixed. On the one hand, with 
data collection already underway, the ability of key IT systems to 
function under full operational loads has not yet been demonstrated. 
The issues facing these systems need to be resolved, and additional 
testing must take place, with little time remaining. Likewise, 
questions remain regarding the ultimate cost of the 2010 Census, as 
the Bureau continues to analyze the cost of NRFU-related operations.

On the other hand, certain operations, such as the communications 
campaign and efforts to enumerate group quarters, generally appear to 
be on track and more robust compared to similar efforts for the 2000 
Census, better positioning the Bureau for a complete and accurate 
headcount. In the coming weeks and months ahead, we will continue to 
monitor the Bureau's progress in addressing these issues, as well as 
the implementation of the census as a whole, on behalf of the 

Mr. Chairman and members of this Subcommittee, this concludes my 
statement. I would be happy to respond to any questions that you might 
have at this time.

Contacts and Acknowledgments:

If you have any questions on matters discussed in this statement, 
please contact Robert N. Goldenkoff at (202) 512-2757 or by e-mail at Other key contributors to this testimony include 
Peter Beck, Steven Berke, Clayton Brisson, Virginia Chanley, Benjamin 
Crawford, Dewi Djunaidy, Vijay D'Souza, Jennifer Echard, Elizabeth 
Fan, Ronald Fecso, Robert Gebhart, Ellen Grady, Richard Hung, Kirsten 
Lauber, Jason Lee, Andrea Levine, Signora May, Catherine Myrick, Lisa 
Pearson, David Powner, Jonathan Ticehurst, Cheri Truett, Timothy 
Wexler, and Katherine Wulff.

[End of section]

Related GAO Products:

2010 Census: Census Bureau Has Made Progress on Schedule and 
Operational Control Tools, but Needs to Prioritize Remaining System 
Requirements. [hyperlink,]. 
Washington, D.C.: November 13, 2009.

2010 Census: Efforts to Build an Accurate Address List Are Making 
Progress, but Face Software and Other Challenges. [hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: October 
21, 2009.

2010 Census: Census Bureau Continues to Make Progress in Mitigating 
Risks to a Successful Enumeration, but Still Faces Various Challenges. 
[hyperlink,]. Washington, 
D.C.: October 7, 2009.

2010 Census: Communications Campaign Has Potential to Boost 
Participation. [hyperlink,]. 
Washington, D.C.: March 23, 2009.

2010 Census: Fundamental Building Blocks of a Successful Enumeration 
Face Challenges. [hyperlink,]. 
Washington, D.C.: March 5, 2009.

Information Technology: Census Bureau Testing of 2010 Decennial 
Systems Can Be Strengthened. [hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: March 5, 

2010 Census: The Bureau's Plans for Reducing the Undercount Show 
Promise, but Key Uncertainties Remain. [hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: September 
23, 2008.

2010 Census: Census Bureau's Decision to Continue with Handheld 
Computers for Address Canvassing Makes Planning and Testing Critical. 
[hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: 
July 31, 2008.

2010 Census: Census Bureau Should Take Action to Improve the 
Credibility and Accuracy of Its Cost Estimate for the Decennial 
Census. [hyperlink,]. 
Washington, D.C.: June 16, 2008.

Census 2010: Census at Critical Juncture for Implementing Risk 
Reduction Strategies. [hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: April 9, 

Information Technology: Census Bureau Needs to Improve Its Risk 
Management of Decennial Systems. [hyperlink,]. Washington, D.C.: October 5, 

2010 Census: Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining Challenges Need 
Prompt Resolution. [hyperlink,]. 
Washington, D.C.: January 12, 2005.

[End of section] 


[1] GAO, Information Technology: Significant Problems of Critical 
Automation Program Contribute to Risks Facing 2010 Census, [hyperlink, (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 5, 

[2] See for example, GAO, 2010 Census: Fundamental Building Blocks of 
a Successful Enumeration Face Challenges, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 5, 
2009), and GAO, 2010 Census: Census Bureau Continues to Make Progress 
in Mitigating Risks to a Successful Enumeration, but Still Faces 
Various Challenges, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 7, 

[3] American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-5 
(Feb. 17, 2009).

[4] See related GAO products at the end of this statement.

[5] [hyperlink,].

[6] GAO, Information Technology: Census Bureau Testing of 2010 
Decennial Systems Can Be Strengthened, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 5, 

[7] [hyperlink,].

[8] [hyperlink,].

[9] End-to-end testing helps verify that a defined set of interrelated 
systems can function as intended in an operational environment.

[10] See GAO, 2010 Census: Census Bureau Should Take Action to Improve 
the Credibility and Accuracy of Its Cost Estimate for the Decennial 
Census, [hyperlink,] 
(Washington, D.C.: June 16, 2008). In [hyperlink,], we reported that the Bureau 
had not performed sensitivity analysis (examining each cost estimate 
assumption or factor independently, while holding all others 
constant), or uncertainty analysis (capturing the cumulative effect of 
risks, which provides a level of confidence for the estimate), and had 
not obtained an independent cost estimate. As noted in GAO's Cost 
Estimating and Assessment Guide (GAO-09-3SP), these steps provide a 
basis for determining whether a cost estimate is credible and are key 
best practices for cost estimation. See GAO, GAO Cost Estimating and 
Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital 
Program Costs, [hyperlink,] 
(Washington, D.C.: March 2009).

[11] In a preliminary assessment, the Bureau attributed cost overruns 
in address canvassing to increased initial workload, underestimated 
quality control workload, and training additional staff. The Bureau 
has not yet provided a cost assessment for group quarters validation.

[12] For the 2000 Census, temporary employees were subject only to a 
background check on their names.

[13] GAO, Data Quality: Improvements to Count Correction Efforts Could 
Produce More Accurate Census Data, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: June 20, 

[14] The students were counted twice because, during the 2000 Census, 
the Bureau inadvertently included the UNC dormitories on both the 
group quarters and conventional housing unit address lists (they 
should have only been on the group quarters list). As a result, two 
questionnaires were delivered to the dormitories--one distributed by 
the university, and one sent to them through the mail. 

[15] GAO, 2010 Census: Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining 
Challenges Need Prompt Resolution, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 12, 2005).

[16] Differential undercount describes subpopulations that are 
undercounted at a different rate than the total population.

[17] Pub. L. No. 111-5, div. A, tit. II, 123 Stat. 115, 127; H.R. 
Conf. Rep. No. 116-16 at 417 (2009).

[18] In the conference report accompanying the Act, the conferees 
stated that "of the amounts provided, up to $250,000,000 shall be for 
partnership and outreach efforts to minority communities and hard-to- 
reach populations." According to the Bureau, it plans to use $220 
million for expanding the communications campaign and $30 million for 
expanding its coverage follow-up operation, where census workers 
follow up to resolve conflicting information provided on census forms.

[19] The Bureau has identified about 13 million households that will 
receive a bilingual questionnaire for the 2010 Census.

[20] GAO, 2010 Census: Efforts to Build an Accurate Address List Are 
Making Progress, but Face Software and Other Challenges, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 

[21] GAO, 2010 Census: Census Bureau Has Improved the Local Update of 
Census Addresses Program, but Challenges Remain, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: June 14, 

[End of section] 

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Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Ralph Dawn, Managing Director, 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Chuck Young, Managing Director, 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: