The U.S. Census Bureau announced today it will be returning $1.6 billion in its 2010 Census operations costs.
The savings represent 22 percent of 2010 Census costs this fiscal year.
“This is a significant accomplishment, and I would like to thank the American public for responding to the census and the more than 255,000 private and public sector partners who joined with us in making the 2010 Census a success,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.
Census reported $650 million in savings resulted from 72 percent of households returned the questionnaire by mail, therefore reducing costs by the lack of need for follow up. Because there was a large percentage of participation, labor costs were also lower from a reduction in door-to-door interviews.
Along with the savings from household participation, approximately $800 million of the savings is due to the fact Census did not have to dip into its emergency fund set aside for natural disasters or operational breakdowns during the survey operations.
The additional $150 million in savings came in at a lower cost from improvement in internal operations. This allowed for the force to complete assignments more efficiently.
“The 2010 Census was a massive undertaking with great risk for operational problems and cost overruns,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “But with the leadership of Dr. Groves and his team at the Census Bureau, we had an incredibly successful count that came in on time and well under budget.”
“The Census management team, along with a dedicated census workforce, worked diligently to ensure we keep the census on track and on schedule while being vigilant with taxpayer dollars,” Groves said. “Early data are showing improvements in the quality of the field work even as we achieved these savings. We will remain focused until all 2010 Census operations are completed.”