2000 Census:

Analysis of Fiscal Year 2000 Amended Budget Request

AIMD/GGD-99-291: Published: Sep 22, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Bureau of the Census' fiscal year (FY) 2000 budget, focusing on: (1) an overall analysis of the key changes in assumptions resulting in the $1.7 billion request increase; (2) details on the components of this increase and which changes, according to the bureau, are related and which are not related to the inability to use statistical sampling; and (3) the process the bureau used for developing the increase in the original FY 2000 budget request and the amended budget request.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO found that the net $1.7 billion requested increase in the original FY 2000 budget request of $2.8 billion resulted primarily from changes in assumptions relating to a substantial increase in workload, reduced employee productivity, and increased advertising; (2) under the nonsampling design, census costs will increase because the bureau expects to follow up on more nonresponding households than for a sampling-based census and plans to use additional programs to improve coverage because it cannot rely on statistical methods to adjust for undercounting and other coverage errors; (3) the bureau assumes an increased workload because the housing units that the bureau expects to visit have increased from an estimated 30 million to 46 million; (4) the 16 million increase includes visiting 12 million additional nonresponding housing units and 4 million additional housing units that the Postal Service says are vacant or nonexistent; (5) this increased workload, which increased costs for most bureau program activities, relates primarily to additional salaries, benefits, travel, data processing, infrastructure, and supplies; (6) another key factor substantially increasing the FY 2000 budget request is that the bureau reduced the assumed productivity of its temporary enumerator employees; (7) because of the assumed increase in workload and reduction in productivity, the total number of temporary field positions increased from 780,000 in the original budget to 1,350,000 in the amended budget request; (8) the bureau also included nearly $72 million of advertising in the amended budget request to increase public awareness and hopefully increase response rates for mailed questionnaires; (9) according to the bureau, about $1.6 billion of this increase is related and $100 million is not related to the inability to use statistical sampling; (10) the items unrelated to the sampling issue include costs not included in the original budget and revisions of prior estimates; (11) the bureau developed its $4.5 billion amended budget request for FY 2000 using a cost model consisting of a series of interrelated software spreadsheets; (12) the original and amended budget requests were developed using this cost model, with each estimate being developed independently using different versions of the cost model; and (13) the bureau derived the $1.7 billion requested increase by calculating the net difference between the original budget request of $2.8 billion and the amended budget request of $4.5 billion.

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