Federal Manager's Daily Report

Census worker at a key punch machine circa 1940.

Now just several months before the 2020 national headcount, the IG of the Commerce Department has raised another in a series of warnings to the Census Bureau, including regarding the training of enumerators.

“The Bureau cannot be certain of how some of its new decennial census innovations will function as part of the integrated 2020 Census design. This uncertainty increases the risk that the Bureau will not be able to control cost while maintaining data quality during decennial census operations.


Issues included that the Bureau has not fully tested some activities designed to ensure the quality of data, potentially unqualified field staff conducting non-response follow-up, and incomplete testing of a new process for closing out such cases.

Regarding training, it said the Bureau could not determine whether some enumerators passed or failed the final assessment for non-response follow-up “because many scores were not recorded” in a database called the learning management system. Some whose failing scores were recorded “were allowed to work without an observation because supervisors had to observe many more enumerators than expected . . . According to the Bureau, there was not enough time to observe everyone.”

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