Census approaches field test with fingers crossed

2010 Census: Design Shows Progress

The Census Bureau will begin field tests next month for the 2010 census amid concerns that automated equipment being used for the first time could prove unreliable.

The use of automated data-collection devices is a major aspect of a redesigned census that officials say could save millions of dollars and provide more accurate results.

Harris is supplying mobile devices for the Field Data Collection Automation system. At $400 apiece, the devices have built-in Global Positioning System receivers so that census takers won’t need to carry paper maps and forms into the field when they try to locate people who didn’t mail in their census forms.

One aspect of the 2010 census -- a short form-only census -- has been tested successfully, said Mathew Scire, director of strategic issues at the Government Accountability Office. He said the short-form census will increase the response rate by about 1 percent, which will save the government about $75 million. The short form can be completed in less than 10 minutes.

Nevertheless, officials anticipate that the 2010 census will cost more than $11.3 billion to conduct, making it the most expensive in the country’s history.

Besides the new technical challenges, the bureau must recruit, hire and train 600,000 temporary employees and develop strategies for accurately counting people displaced in 2005 by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Featured

  • FCW Perspectives
    human machine interface

    Your agency isn’t ready for AI

    To truly take advantage, government must retool both its data and its infrastructure.

  • Cybersecurity
    secure network (bluebay/Shutterstock.com)

    Federal CISO floats potential for new supply chain regs

    The federal government's top IT security chief and canvassed industry for feedback on how to shape new rules of the road for federal acquisition and procurement.

  • People
    DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, shown here at her Nov. 8, 2017, confirmation hearing. DHS Photo by Jetta Disco

    DHS chief Nielsen resigns

    Kirstjen Nielsen, the first Homeland Security secretary with a background in cybersecurity, is being replaced on an acting basis by the Customs and Border Protection chief. Her last day is April 10.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.