The 2020 Census continues to face challenges as a U.S. Commerce Department watchdog group recently released a report on census takers who were neither fired nor disciplined despite falsifying data in the 2020 count. The result: undercounts of students at colleges and universities, among other issues.
According to the report, released this week by the Office of Inspector General, some Census workers were pressured by their bosses to enter data about homes they had not visited. Some of these employees were able to keep their jobs, moved to other operations, received bonuses, and were given more cases.
ABC 17 News reported:
Off-campus students at colleges and universities were likely undercounted since the census started around the same time students were sent home to stop the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, the review found.
During the 2020 census, The Associated Press documented cases of census takers who were pressured by their supervisors to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the census.
Of the 1,400 census takers who were designated “hard fails” because questions about the accuracy of their work, only 300 were fired for misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. Of the 1,400 “hard fail” census takers, 1,300 of them received bonuses ranging from $50 to $1,600 each, the report said.
In response to the Inspector General’s report, the Census Bureau said it appreciated the concerns that were raised but disagreed with the conclusions that data quality may have been damaged since the report cited only a small number of cases out of the overall workload.
“As a result, we asserted that the findings could not and should not be presented as a conclusive assessment of overall census quality,” Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said in the written response.