Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Census Bureau Concerns

Census Bureau concerned about head count problems

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Apr 8, 3:41 am ET

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. census nears its final stages, the government is preparing for possible debacles that could derail its $15 billion head count, from mass identity theft and lawsuits to homeowners who refuse to answer their doors.

Census Bureau documents, obtained by The Associated Press, underscore the highly fragile nature of the high-stakes population count before the government dispatches some 700,000 temporary workers to visit homes, beginning in May.

The preparedness efforts are not entirely new. Previous censuses had contingency plans in place, at least conceptually, and the Census Bureau has never failed to meet its constitutional mandate of delivering population counts by Dec. 31 each decennial year.

But this is the first time the Census has detailed — in 300 pages of internal documents released under the Freedom of Information Act — specific risks to the once-a-decade government count.

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Note: This year's census form is the shortest, simplest and least intrusive in many, many decades; and yet it appears that reluctance to participate is at an all-time high.

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