Some census takers who falsified information during the 2020 tally did not completely redo their work, were not fired in a timely manner, and in some cases received bonuses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce watchdog group.
The findings, released by the Office of the Inspector General on Friday, raise concerns about potential damage to the quality of the once-decade numbers that determine political power and federal funding.
Students outside college and university campuses are underrepresented because the census began around the same time students went home in March 2020 to stem the spread of COVID-19, study finds There is a possibility.
During the 2020 Census, AP reported the case of a census taker who was pressured by his superiors to enter false information about unvisited homes into a computer system so that the survey could be completed towards the end of the census. was recorded.
Supervisors could track the work of census takers in real time via mobile devices that census takers use to record information about household numbers, demographic characteristics, and relationships between members. rice field. As a result, if behavior raises red flags about accuracy, such as a census taker recording home data far from an address or a census taker conducting an interview in just a few minutes, supervisors will person will receive an alert. As a quality control check, other census takers were sent home to re-interview residents.
The Inspector General’s investigation found that some warnings were not properly resolved, some re-interviews were not properly conducted, and some census takers were suspected of falsifying data. It concluded that the work had not been redone to correct for accuracy. In fact, some census takers accused of tampering were given more cases, not fired, and reassigned to other duties, the report says.
Of the 1,400 Census takers, only 300 were designated a “hard fail” due to questions about the accuracy of their work, but were dismissed for misconduct or poor performance . Of the 1,400 “hard fail” census takers, 1,300 are $1,600 each, according to the report.
The Census is the largest non-military mobilization in the United States. Data collected during the census determines the number of seats in Congress each state gets. The numbers are also used to redraw constituencies and distribute $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. As such, underestimation can cost community funding.
The 2020 Census faced unprecedented challenges, including a pandemic, natural disasters, and political interference from the Trump administration.
In response to the inspector general’s report, the Census Bureau appreciates the concerns raised, but said the report cited only a small number of cases from the overall workload, compromising data quality. He said he did not agree with the conclusion that it was possible.
In a written response, Census Director Robert Santos argued, “As a result, the survey results cannot and should not be presented as a definitive assessment of the quality of the overall Census.
Under Census Bureau rules, college students should be counted where they spend the most time, either in their on-campus housing or off-campus apartments, even if they are sent home because of the pandemic. Most schools did not provide off-campus student data to the Census Bureau, and the agency used less accurate statistics as a last resort to fill information gaps on more than 10% of the off-campus student population. I had to use a tool. When they were given the information, the inspector general’s report said.
Schools often did not have information about off-campus students or did not provide data due to privacy concerns. The Inspector General recommends passage of legislation requiring schools to provide necessary information on future numbers.
“Though difficult to quantify, the financial implications of specifically underrepresenting off-campus students in their rightful place in state and local government can be far-reaching,” the report said. .
The city of Boston, home to Northeastern University, Boston University, and several other schools, disputed the census figures, saying it missed 6,000 students.
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