Census slowdown no problem

The Census Bureau found that the data capture process required for many

write-in items took longer than expected during the bureau's last test-run

of the system two weeks ago, Census Director Kenneth Prewitt said Wednesday.

In testimony before the House Government Reform Committee's Census Subcommittee,

Prewitt said the Census Bureau had to change part of the data capture system

to speed up the process. But he assured lawmakers that the change will have

no impact on processing census data.

"At this point, 24 days from Census Day, I am aware of no serious problems

that would put the census at risk," he said. Census Day refers to the official

date people are counted at their usual residence.

To address the data capture problem, Prewitt said, the Census Bureau has

implemented a two-pass system. In the first pass, the scanning system will

capture all of the data on both long and short census forms. In the second

pass, the process will capture data from the long forms.

Most recipients will receive the short form, which includes about a dozen

questions, but one out of every six households will receive the long form,

which includes 52 questions.

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