Hearing on the 2020 Census

Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Hearing Date: October 12, 2017 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

  • The Census Bureau must focus on modernizing data collection and delivering necessary IT infrastructure in the most cost-effective manner.
  • The Census Bureau must ensure delivery of critical IT systems for 2018 end-to-end testing. Delays for delivery of critical IT systems pose significant risk for the security and the success of the census.
  • Secretary Ross provided a new life-cycle cost estimate of $15.6 billion dollars, an increase of $3.3 billion from the 2015 cost estimate.
  • Increasing costs are a concern. The Committee will monitor the Census Bureau’s management of the 2020 Census.


  • To evaluate the Census Bureau’s efforts to redesign and modernize data collection for the 2020 Census.
  • To review the initial phases of the 2018 end-to-end test.


  • If administered the same way as the 2010 Census, the 2020 Census will cost $17.5 billion – nearly $5 billion more than in 2010.
  • In order to prevent a cost increase, the Bureau is drastically altering how it carries out the 2020 Census.
  • The Bureau originally projected the 2020 Census would cost taxpayers $12.3 billion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have raised concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the Bureau’s estimates.
  • The Department of Commerce recently completed a new estimate, which projects the 2020 Census will cost $15.6 billion, a $3.3 billion increase. 

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. Secretary U.S. Department of Commerce I Document
Mr. Robert Goldenkoff Director of Strategic Issues, Census Issues U.S. Government Accountability Office II Document
Mr. David A. Powner Director of Information Technology Management Issues U.S. Government Accountability Office II Document
Ms. Carol N. Rice Assistant Inspector General, Office of the Economic and Statical Program Assessment U.S. Department of Commerce II Document
Ms. Vanita Gupta President and CEO The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights II Document