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.

Earth Day Special: How much waste is there at the Census Bureau?

We didn’t cover Earth Day (which was earlier this week) on this site, so here’s our belated Census Bureau Earth Day tribute…The Census Bureau is now printing the address listing pages and other assignment-related materials for the massive  non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations. It seems like the Census didn’t care because all the printers ran non stop 24 hours to print out many documents (details of which are coming soon)…

*Apologies for an earlier version of this post that only semi-listed the materials printed. We will hopefully have a complete list by Monday…

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6 Responses to “Earth Day Special: How much waste is there at the Census Bureau?”

  1. Al Forteni Says:

    The Census Bureau is so antiquated. It is unbelievable. They need to find a way to do the Census on-line, for one thing. It will save them a lot of money. The regions spent millions on advertising, spent the stimulus on staffing and yet the results are lower than in 2010. We dumped pallets of materials; recruitment,testing, privacy notices Questionnaire Assistance and Be Counted Questionnaires. They smashed to HHC’s they had spent millions on. Waste, waste, waste. I’m ashamed to be working for them.

  2. Senseless Says:

    During map printing for GQAV, Update/Leave and a few others they didn’t ship out enough paper to do all the printing required. Then they couldn’t get it shipped out fast enough to meet the deadline. LCO’s went to Staples, Office Depot, etc. to buy the paper at a much higher price. The waste is incredible!

  3. end the census Says:

    quote

    MY PROFILE SHOP JOBS PROPERTY CLASSIFIEDS

    From The Sunday Times
    December 30, 2007
    Nation on the move signals end of census
    Lois Rogers
    Recommend?

    THE government is considering scrapping the national census after more than 200 years because the population is now so mobile it cannot be counted accurately.

    The Treasury will soon begin talks over replacing the survey, which requires answers from all of Britain’s 24m households.

    Pressure for a replacement after a final census in 2011 comes in the wake of serious failings in the 2001 census. The information is used as the basis for government funding of local authorities, so mistakes in counting a population can have serious consequences for public services.

    A spokesman for the Office for National Statistics, which administers the census, said a formal review would begin early next year.

    “We need to look again at the options available for the period beyond 2011,” he said. “Some countries are moving to alternative models and some have not held a traditional census for decades. We will be considering what others are doing as part of this review.”

    Whitehall critics of the census maintain that because people move house and region so frequently, the information collected is out of date almost as soon as it has been analysed.

    In addition, an estimated 1m people went uncounted in 2001 because no forms were received from their households. There is a theoretical £1,000 fine for noncompliance, but few prosecutions were pressed.

    Surges of immigration have also shown the shortcomings of the census. Last year Slough council in Berkshire complained it needed more government money to maintain services because of the influx of immigrants. But the census recorded that it had 12,400 fewer inhabitants than the council’s estimate of 130,000.

    Critics are also concerned about possible mass noncompliance because of security fears sparked by the repeated loss of important personal data by government departments and the intrusive nature of questions.

    Questions asked in 2001 covered everything from how members of a household travelled to work to the colour of their skin and whether they had a basement in their home. In 2011 a designated “head of household” will be required to fill in a booklet answering questions on matters such as sexual orientation.

    At least half the countries in the European Union have already abandoned census surveys.

  4. end the census Says:

    quote

    From The Sunday Times, United Kingdom
    December 30, 2007
    Nation on the move signals end of census
    Lois Rogers

    THE government is considering scrapping the national census after more than 200 years because the population is now so mobile it cannot be counted accurately.

    The Treasury will soon begin talks over replacing the survey, which requires answers from all of Britain’s 24m households.

    Pressure for a replacement after a final census in 2011 comes in the wake of serious failings in the 2001 census. The information is used as the basis for government funding of local authorities, so mistakes in counting a population can have serious consequences for public services.

    A spokesman for the Office for National Statistics, which administers the census, said a formal review would begin early next year.

    “We need to look again at the options available for the period beyond 2011,” he said. “Some countries are moving to alternative models and some have not held a traditional census for decades. We will be considering what others are doing as part of this review.”

    Whitehall critics of the census maintain that because people move house and region so frequently, the information collected is out of date almost as soon as it has been analysed.

    In addition, an estimated 1m people went uncounted in 2001 because no forms were received from their households. There is a theoretical £1,000 fine for noncompliance, but few prosecutions were pressed.

    Surges of immigration have also shown the shortcomings of the census. Last year Slough council in Berkshire complained it needed more government money to maintain services because of the influx of immigrants. But the census recorded that it had 12,400 fewer inhabitants than the council’s estimate of 130,000.

    Critics are also concerned about possible mass noncompliance because of security fears sparked by the repeated loss of important personal data by government departments and the intrusive nature of questions.

    Questions asked in 2001 covered everything from how members of a household travelled to work to the colour of their skin and whether they had a basement in their home. In 2011 a designated “head of household” will be required to fill in a booklet answering questions on matters such as sexual orientation.

    At least half the countries in the European Union have already abandoned census surveys.

  5. Rural Enumerator Says:

    Sure there’s plenty of waste – it’s the government. They paid me for 7 hours and 300 miles to drive to my LCO to get re-fingerprinted. But to put things in perspective, the entire census is costing less than half of what’s been lost, stolen, or unaccounted for in Iraq. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/a-fraud-bigger-than-madoff-1622987.html

    Even that is chump change compared to this: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/620276/posts

    At least the census’ waste goes to paying Americans who need the work instead of going into the corporate coffers of corrupt contractors like KBR and Blackwater.

  6. Al Forteni Says:

    I am very pleased we were able to hire as many people as we did, that is why Census received stimulus money, eventhough those we hired were promised, through the verbatim selection script, a longer period of work. For NRFU, people were refusing jobs because they were on unemployment. Most people held higher paying jobs before losing jobs. If they took the lower paying Census work, were let go, then there was a waiting period to start unemployment benefits. Then, they receive a reduced benefit base on the lower Census wage. For SBE, enumeration of the homeless and transitory locations, applicants did not want to work only for three days. A new verbatim selection script was issued that gave the applicants the assumption that if they worked the three days, they would be offered employment for a future operation. This was a deceitful thing to do as, we all know that rehiring is based on many factors, your score, your veterans preference points, your performance during an operation and your behavior.

    Now because the PBOCS system doesn’t work. Headquarters tried to launch an alternate sytem. They couldn’t get this one going either. When you consider all the staff time involved in just trying to get these poorly thought out and planned systems, it is staggering.

    It not true that “oh well its the government” about waste. I have worked in several federal government agencies and this level of waste is not seen in other agencies. Some years ago, the Paperwork Reduction Act was enacted. I guess it missed the Census Bureau, Commerce Department.

    Wasting taxpayer monies, whether on Blackwater or the overhiring and training of staff that never saw any work or the wase in materials, is a real shame.