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The Next Census Is Going To Cost A Boatload Of Money

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

The next U.S. census will be the most expensive ever taken and cost three times more than the 2000 census at $15.6 billion, the Washington Examiner reports.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson estimates the 2020 census will cost about $107 per household in the United States.

Lawmakers in Congress instructed the Census Bureau to keep costs of the 2020 census no more than the $12 billion spent on the 2010 census, Politico reported.

“Although the Census is constitutionally mandated, the cost to count our population is increasing faster than the population itself,” Johnson will say in the opening statement he plans to give at a Tuesday hearing on the Census, according to the Washington Examiner.

Census costs have risen significantly as the Census Bureau has tried to modernize and fix inaccuracies of past censuses by adopting new systems and technology. The new tech, however, presents problems of its own in rising cost, meeting deadlines and a new set of security concerns such as hacking.

The expected cost of the 2020 census increases with each new estimate, with the latest estimate increasing the projected price tag by $3 billion over the previous prediction.

“We will examine increasing costs, information technology (IT) security, and high-risk operations that could lead to an inaccurate Census count,” Johnson’s opening statement says, according to the Washington Examiner. “In particular, I will be asking how and why did the Census morph into such a massive and seemingly out of control undertaking.”

In addition to rapidly growing costs, the 2020 census has a faced a management problem, as well. Former Census Bureau director John Thompson resigned at the end of June, but a new bureau chief has not been nominated.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has installed the bureau’s associate director for Economic Programs Ron Jarmin as the acting director until Ross nominates someone to hold the position.

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