New GAO Report Warns of Risks to 2020 Census Count from COVID-19

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the historic COVID-19-induced disruption to the 2020 Census warned that delays and changes to the headcount operations “present further risks to an accurate, timely, and cost-effective count.”

GAO recommended that the Census Bureau look at the following factors “to ensure the implementation and quality of the count”:

  • Continued attention to self-response;
  • Communicating pandemic plans to ensure continued operations;
  • Achieving and maintaining sufficient staffing levels;
  • Revising its approach to communications and partnerships;
  • Adjusting plans for Group Quarters and Service-Based Enumeration;
  • Monitoring ongoing risks to IT systems implementation;
  • Managing disinformation and misinformation;
  • Addressing cybersecurity weaknesses;
  • Protecting the privacy of respondent data;
  • Ensuring data quality under potentially compressed timeframes; and
  • Evaluating the impact of census delays on data quality.

“2020 Census: COVID-19 Presents Delays and Risks to Census Count.” June 2000. https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/707456.pdf

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