Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Requests $4.3B in Additional 2020 Census Funds

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has requested $4.3 billion in additional funds for the 2020 Census to help address challenges facing the decennial U.S. population survey, Nextgov reported Thursday.

Ross told lawmakers at a House Oversight Committee hearing that Census Bureau needs additional resources to address a projected increase in costs driven by lower voluntary response rates, public distrust of government and heightened privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

The Bureau estimated in October 2015 that the 2020 Census would cost approximately $12.5 billion, but an independent review of the effort claimed that the expenses and required reserve funds would reach about $16.8 billion.

The Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Wednesday that the bureau is slated to conduct a trial run for the census in 2018, but only 10 percent of systems needed for the demonstration have been built and tested.

GAO also approximated that the 2020 Census’ information technology expenditure will total $4.8 billion — a $1.4 billion hike from the original estimate, Nextgov noted.

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