recommended reading

Computer problems lead to skyrocketing Census costs

Frequent outages in a Census Bureau computer system used to manage the 2010 count are driving up costs and put accuracy at risk because of substantial overtime required to deal with the problem, a new audit says.

The report from the Commerce Department inspector general, obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press, offers details on the scope of problems as more than 600,000 census workers begin fanning neighborhoods this month to conduct interviews at 48 million homes.

It said major outages had caused a 40-hour backlog of work over two weeks in April, causing substantial amounts of overtime and other workarounds. Overtime costs have already reached more than $1.6 million, with costs expected to balloon -- potentially beyond the Census Bureau's $15 billion budget -- due to the heavy workload now required in its door-to-door canvassing.

Investigators said the demands in dealing with the computer problems were threatening to "diminish staff retention," add to costs if the system was unable to process census forms that were mailed in late as planned, and cause inaccuracies if census data can't be put in the system immediately.

In a news briefing this week, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves acknowledged the problems but said that officials had gotten over a "big hump" in the workload in the past week when they were able to print assignments for more than 600,000 enumerators.

Threatwatch Alert

Software vulnerability

Malware Has a New Hiding Place: Subtitles

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.