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Census Bureau Director Ken Prewitt today notified the U.S. Congress that spending on Census 2000 for the current fiscal year was under budget, resulting in a surplus of at least $305 million.
In a letter to House and Senate committees which oversee the census, Prewitt reported that the savings resulted from "...higher than expected mailback response rates" for Census 2000 as compared to previous decennials, and "...better than expected quality of the field management team in the 520 local offices" for Census 2000.
"This is truly a marvelous achievement for America, and a rousing compliment to the American public for their unprecedented participation in making the census a success," Prewitt said today.
The Census Bureau is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and both Secretary Norman Mineta and Under Secretary Robert Shapiro also praised the nation and the Census Bureau staff for the achievement. Mineta said, "Because of the commitment of the Census employees and the enthusiastic response of the American people, Census 2000 is proving to be one of the most successful in a long time."
"Each time the census turned to the American people, they responded. Nearly a million men and women worked part-time for the census. Millions more mailed back their questionnaires than anyone predicted, and the follow-up field work came in on time," noted Shapiro.
Prewitt presides over a census plan that has been 12 years in the making, dating back to 1988. He credited his three predecessors' work as being a key to the success of the census.
"Dr. Barbara Bryant, Dr. Martha Riche, Jim Holmes and the career professionals they and I work with deserve high praise. They planned a census operational system which was re-designed top to bottom. It not only worked without any major problems, it performed better than anyone projected," Prewitt added.