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GAO testified on the status of preparations for the 1990 census. GAO found that: (1) delays in automating district offices and producing supporting materials for the initial decennial operations could cause delays in beginning the 1990 census and complicate subsequent operations; (2) the Census Bureau will begin compiling its address lists earlier than it did for the 1980 census; (3) the Bureau will automate more census procedures, including map production and geographic data files; (4) the Bureau anticipates cost increases in completing the system due to project delays; (5) the Bureau has hired additional staff and is procuring additional computer equipment; and (6) an absence of minicomputers and the inability to test the related software could diminish the value of the preliminary procedures and equipment tests. GAO also found that: (1) delays in acquiring office space will delay the installation and testing of automation equipment and other preparations required before beginning census operations; (2) the 1990 census will be more expensive than anticipated and less cost-efficient; and (3) costs in 1990 will depend on issues such as whether the Bureau will adjust the 1990 population counts to improve census accuracy.

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