October 4, 2022
Watchdog report finds some census takers who manipulated 2020 data weren’t fired

According to the US Department of Commerce’s watchdog group, some census takers who misreported information during the 2020 census were not fully redone, were not fired in time, and in some cases received bonuses .

conclusion Issued Friday by the Office of the Inspector General, which expresses concerns about political power and the potential damage to the quality of a decade-long head count that determines federal funding,

The review found that colleges and universities were likely to have fewer off-campus students since the census began around the same time that students were sent home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020.

During the 2020 Census, Associated Press documented cases The number of census takers who were pressured by their supervisors to record false information about houses they did not visit so that they could close cases during census days.

Supervisors were able to track the work of their census takers in real time via mobile devices, which the census takers used to record information about the number of households, demographic characteristics and members’ relationships to each other. . As a result, supervisors will receive alerts when the action raises red flags about accuracy, such as when the census taker records data at home while far away from the address or the census taker conducts an interview within minutes. As a quality control check, other census takers were sent back to the homes to re-interview residents.

The Inspector General’s investigation concluded that some alerts were not being resolved properly, some re-interviews were not conducted properly and that the work of some census takers was incorrectly marked for data, its The rework was not done to fix the accuracy. In fact, some census takers whose work was marked for falsification were given more cases, were not fired and were reassigned to other tasks, the report said.

Of the 1,400 census takers who were designated “hard fails” because of questions about the accuracy of their work, only 300 were fired for misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. The report said that of the 1,400 “hard fail” census takers, 1,300 received bonuses ranging from $50 to $1,600.

The Census is the largest non-military mobilization in the US. Data collected during the Census determines how many Congress seats Each state gets The numbers are also used to redraw political districts and distribute $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. Because of that, low counts can cost communities funding.

The 2020 Census faced unprecedented challenges, including pandemics, natural disasters and political interference from the Trump administration.

“As a result, we stressed that the findings cannot and should not be presented as a conclusive assessment of overall census quality.”

In response to the Inspector General’s report, the Census Bureau said it appreciates the concerns raised, but disagrees with the finding that data quality may be damaged because the report cited only a small number of cases out of the overall workload. .

“As a result, we stated that the findings cannot and should not be presented as a conclusive assessment of overall census quality,” Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said in a written response.

Under Census Bureau rules, college and university students should have counted Where they spent the most time, either in campus housing or off-campus apartments, even though they were sent home due to the pandemic. Most schools did not provide off-campus student data to the Census Bureau, and the bureau had to use last resort, less-accurate statistical tools to fill in the information gaps on more than 10% of the off-campus student population. When they were informed, the Inspector General’s report said.

Schools often did not provide data because they did not provide information about off-campus students or because of privacy concerns. The inspector general recommends passing legislation that would require schools to provide the necessary information in future top counts.

“While it is difficult to quantify, the financial implications of specifically reducing off-campus students to the right location for states and localities are potentially far-reaching,” the report said.

The city of Boston, which is home to Northeastern University, Boston University and several other schools, said A challenge to census data That count missed out on 6,000 students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.