2020 Census Plan Expects to Deliver over $5 Billion in Savings through Innovation
Published: October 07, 2015
The Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau is well into the planning and testing phases for the 2020 Census. Despite facing a range of environmental and technological challenges, an operational plan was released this month that promises significant cost savings over traditional approaches.
Compared to prior years, the approach for the 2020 Census has an increased reliance on enterprise standards and solutions as well as shared services (through the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing solution and the Center for Enterprise Dissemination Services and Consumer Innovation solution). The field operations, expected to be a major cost driver, will rely heavily on automation. This will allow fieldworkers to operate remotely and collect data using handheld devices. Along with other reengineering activities, the plan estimates a potential $2.5 billion in savings related to field operations.
Estimates were also offered for the savings expected through the other innovation areas. Updating the approach to address canvassing stands to save $900 million. Improving self-response will reduce the need for costly in person follow-up, potentially saving $400 million through design changes. Changes related to the use of administrative records and third-party data could save $1.4 billion.
The bureau has been vocal about specific goals around costs savings, hoping to lower the cost per household from $124 in 2010 to $88 in 2020. With an ambitious plan to implement new approaches and technologies all at once, the effort represents a potential business opportunity for vendors positioned to support the bureau's vision.