In March 2008, GAO designated the 2010 Census a high-risk area in part because of information technology (IT) shortcomings and uncertainty over the ultimate cost of the census, now estimated at around $15 billion. The U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) has since made improvements to various IT systems and taken other steps to mitigate the risks of a successful census. However, last year, GAO noted that a number of challenges and uncertainties remained, and much work remained to be completed under very tight time frames. As requested, this testimony provides an update on the Bureau's readiness for an effective headcount, covering (1) the status of key IT systems; (2) steps the Bureau has taken to revise its cost estimates; and (3) the extent to which critical enumeration activities, particularly those aimed at hard-to-count populations, are on track. The testimony is based on previously issued and ongoing GAO work.
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