2020 Census: Initial Research Milestones Generally Met but Plans Needed to Mitigate Highest Risks

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) officials, to inform timely design decisions, research on new methods to improve the cost effectiveness of the 2020 Census must be accomplished early enough in the decade to confirm their likely impact on both cost and quality. Three key efforts--(1) the use of the Internet as a response option, (2) a potential move towards targeted address canvassing, and (3) the possible use of administrative records to replace data collected during census field operations--present the Bureau with potential opportunities to reduce ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. November 7, 2012.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) officials, to inform timely design decisions, research on new methods to improve the cost effectiveness of the 2020 Census must be accomplished early enough in the decade to confirm their likely impact on both cost and quality. Three key efforts--(1) the use of the Internet as a response option, (2) a potential move towards targeted address canvassing, and (3) the possible use of administrative records to replace data collected during census field operations--present the Bureau with potential opportunities to reduce costs while maintaining quality. The Bureau's 2020 Research and Testing Program has 14 fiscal year 2012 projects focused on informing design decisions related to the three key efforts. Bureau officials are also aware that the changes they are testing come with many risks, and for each project the Bureau has identified a number of risks and prioritized them from high to low. However, the Bureau has not developed mitigation or contingency plans for these project risks. For example, there are several risks, including tight time frames and accurate cost information, without mitigation and contingency plans. Additionally, GAO found that the Bureau had not developed cost estimates for any of its 2020 research and testing projects as required in guidance provided to project teams. Unreliable cost estimates was one of the reasons the 2010 Census was placed on GAO's high-risk list. Without timely cost estimates, it will be difficult for the Bureau to ensure that resources are adequate to support the research and testing program."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 7, 2012

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. 2020 Census: Initial Research Milestones Generally Met but Plans Needed to Mitigate Highest Risks, report, November 7, 2012; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc300337/: accessed August 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.