My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Uh-Oh, Bad News: New Reports From In The Inspector General

MyTwoCensus obtained the following reports from the Commerce Department Inspector General’s Office last Friday, but we thought we’d give the powers that be a long weekend of relaxation before they start to fret…and we must add, they will be fretting. Throughout this week we will be providing commentary and analyses, but for now here are the three reports that you should take a look at:

Census 2010: Problems Encountered in the Large Block Operation Underscore the Need for Better Contingency Plans (OIG-19171-02)

2010 Census: First Quarterly Report to Congress Report (OIG‐19791‐1)

Recommendations from 2010 Census: First Quarterly Report to Congress, August 2009 (OIG-19791-l)

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One Response to “Uh-Oh, Bad News: New Reports From In The Inspector General”

  1. outta my census Says:

    I’m late in reading these three OIG reports, but that’s probably a healthy sign in me. Maybe I have finally moved on…But I feel the need to comment after reading the “large block” report. I was a QC crew leader for Ad Can in a major metropolitan area. Sure, I had heard about the “laptop operation” having happened in our area… didn’t wonder about it too much. This report muses over possible weaknesses in this hastily conceived contingency plan (blaming the “under-performing lister” while not mentioning the extremely unclear training materials, but that’s another story!) Well, as the report mentions, but does not otherwise address, there WERE large blocks that were canvassed during Ad Can ON GOOD OLD HHCS! One of my districts had three AAs that had more than 1000 addresses – in one case about 1700. From what I understood, these AAs had already been carved up once into what should have been manageable chunks for the HHC to handle. Well they sure couldn’t handle the strain. Any of my listers that got these AAs had to face HHC freezes and crashes. Usually the AA was reassigned a couple of times until some lucky lister got a “miracle patch” installed on their device by tech support to cure the problem.Hmm. Call me skeptical, but that was fast. What is under the “patch” that instantly makes the overload go away? Beats me. Even though I was supposed to be leading a “Quality Assurance” team, I couldn’t have doubled checked the work if I wanted to. The new AA boundaries (after the first division) were not ever made available to me. All I could do was guess, using lister reported problems at distinct addresses as clues. I did know, by looking at my map, that the original area had been HUGE and included many non-contiguous blocks all over the city! It seemed a very unusual, non-logical grouping of blocks.

    Basically, I do not trust such a non-transparent procedure to be honest and accurate. How tempting for the Census Bureau and the company that made the HHCs to want to save face and help to slide the data along. I would feel better about the work I supervised if I could have seen ANY details about why these new AAs had so such a disproportionately high number of address deletions in them. (50% in one) Maybe there’s a good reason for this… maybe not. If the deletions were illegitimate or unintended, certain ethnic groups in my town will be severely undercounted. And I will be ashamed of having played a role in it all.

    That was too long and I’ve thought way too much about it. But there you go, I’ve spit it out. Am I crazy for my suspicious thoughts?