Federal Manager's Daily Report

The chairmen of the House and Senate committees overseeing the census have expressed concerns about the Census Bureau’s plans to use an SSA database and other government records for categorizing certain households in lieu of in-person canvassing.

“While limited use of these records could reduce fraud, prevent errors, and control costs associated with carrying out the census, we are concerned overreliance on potentially outdated or inaccurate administrative records may result in an inaccurate census,” the letter said.

It said the planned use of an SSA database of death records in particular is “problematic” because several IG reports have found that SSA “often fails to update it when a person dies and frequently marks living people as deceased.” Similarly, a recent GAO report said that other administrative records the agency plans to use have not been properly tested for accuracy and potential fraud.

The letter asked for information on what government records the agency is planning to use; how it will assess their accuracy; and how many households it plans to skip based on use of those records.