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US Census Bureau Saves $1.6 Billion

August 13 2010

The US Census Bureau has saved $1.6 billion on the cost of the US population count, because of what it describes as a 'strong public response' and no major problems.

Robert GrovesThe department had originally budgeted $14.7 billion for the project, but some of the funding wasn't needed. This included $650m in the door-to-door questioning phase of the survey because 72% of households returned mailed questionnaires, along with fast field work from census takers who visited 47 million people who did not reply by mail.

The savings have also been attributed to targeted advertising in hard-to-count areas, bilingual census forms used for the first time, and partnerships with civic groups and businesses to help promote the once-a-decade head count.

'This is a significant accomplishment and I would like to thank the American public for responding to the census,' said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves.

In the future, Groves wants the bureau to consider using online questionnaires, and make greater use of administrative records for basic data such as address, birth date and phone number.

However, for 2010, around 100,000 household interviews had to be redone after two Census Bureau Managers were sacked over allegations that they had forged questionnaires. Groves said that a review had found that 0.2% of the 565,000 temporary census workers had violated guidelines on how data was collected, and all this work has also been redone.

The Census Bureau expects to complete quality-assurance checks of the work by its temporary employees by mid-September. Results will be released beginning in late December.

Web site: www.census.gov .

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