The decennial census is a constitutionally-mandated activity that produces data used to apportion congressional seats, redraw congressional districts, and allocate billions of dollars in federal assistance. In March 2008, GAO designated the 2010 Census a high-risk area in part because of problems with the performance of handheld computers used to collect data. The U.S. Census Bureau has since strengthened its risk management efforts and made other improvements; however, the Bureau curtailed a dress rehearsal scheduled for 2008 and was unable to test key operations under census-like conditions. This testimony discusses the Bureau's readiness for 2010 and covers: (1) importance of reliable cost estimates; (2) building a complete and accurate address list; (3) following up on missing and conflicting responses to ensure accuracy; (4) targeting outreach to undercounted populations; and (5) designing, testing, and implementing technology for the census. The testimony is based on previously issued and ongoing GAO work.
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