2000 Census:

Update on Essential Operations

T-GGD/AIMD-00-119: Published: Mar 14, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 2000.

Additional Materials:


L. Nye Stevens
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its recent reports on the status of key census taking operations, focusing on such essential activities as: (1) outreach and promotion; (2) field follow-up operations; and (3) data capture.

GAO noted that: (1) a high mail response rate is key to a successful census because it helps the Bureau of the Census obtain more accurate data and reduce what has been an error-prone and costly nonresponsive followup; (2) the Bureau has instituted both a local and national outreach and promotion campaign; (3) the local effort is largely based on partnerships with various governmental and nongovernmental organizations across the country, while the national initiative centers on a campaign developed by private sector advertising agencies; (4) the Bureau recognizes that without the assistance and support from members of local communities, participation in the census will not reach everyone; (5) a key component to the Bureau's partnership program are Complete Count Committees, which consist of local government, religious, media, and other community leaders; (6) the Bureau hopes to increase response rates through the Census in Schools program by encouraging students to remind their parents or guardians to complete their census forms; (7) to help ensure a complete and accurate count of the nation's population, the Bureau conducts a nationwide field follow-up operation in which enumerators visit and attempt to collect census information from each nonresponding household; (8) to conduct its peak field operations, and to cover for the possibility of high turnover rates, the Bureau estimates it will need to recruit 2.4 million qualified applicants; (9) the two coverage improvement programs that the Bureau has implemented are the Questionnaire Assistance Centers and the Be Counted Program; (10) the effectiveness of these two programs will depend on factors such as: (a) working with local partners to identify sites with locations and schedules that best meet the needs of targeted groups; (b) ensuring that sites have "street-level" visibility so that targeted groups are able to find them; (c) monitoring usage so that people will be able to find forms and obtain assistance when and where they are supposed to be available; and (d) in the case of Questionnaire Assistance Centers, making sure staff are available with appropriate foreign language skills; (11) the Bureau faced formidable challenges in ensuring the operational readiness of its four data capture centers (DCC); and (12) the Bureau reports that it has implemented the near-term Data Capture System 2000 changes and completed all scheduled test events, including an operational test at each DCC.

Feb 3, 2021

Jan 29, 2021

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

Dec 16, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here