1990 Census:

Delays in Completing the Address List for Suburban and Rural Areas

GGD-89-74: Published: Jul 10, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of the Census' development of a prelist for suburban and rural addresses, focusing on: (1) whether the prelist effort was on schedule and, if not, the causes for any delays; and (2) the status of the Bureau's new automated geographic support system.

GAO found that: (1) although the Bureau planned to begin the prelist in February 1988, it experienced delays in developing automated files needed to produce census maps; (2) the Bureau requested that the Postal Service check both urban and prelist addresses for accuracy, but prelist delays reduced the time available for producing census address labels; (3) because 19 of the 68 prelist areas could not meet their recruiting goals, the Bureau increased its pay rates but had not evaluated the effects of the pay increase on recruitment and retention; (4) delays in files development for the automated geographic support system resulted from underestimates of both the software requirements and computer processing time; (5) because of funding constraints, the Bureau decided that it would not add prelist updates and other changes identified during 1990 field activities until after it tabulated the 1990 counts; and (6) although the changes will not affect the counts, 1990 census maps will not contain the most current information, and could create the perception that census counts are incomplete.

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