Information Technology: Census Bureau Needs to Strengthen Testing of 2010 Decennial Systems
The Decennial Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and provides vital data that are used, among other things, to reapportion and redistrict congressional seats and allocate federal financial assistance. In March 2008, GAO designated the 2010 Decennial Census a high-risk area, citing a number of long-standing and emerging challenges, including weaknesses in the U.S. Census Bureau's (Bureau) management of its information technology (IT) systems and operations. In conducting the 2010 census, the Bureau is relying on both the acquisition of new IT systems and the enhancement of existing systems. Thoroughly testing these systems before their actual use is critical to the success of the census. GAO was asked to testify on its report, being released today, on the status and plans of testing of key 2010 decennial IT systems.