Census Bureau Downgrades Back to Paper

Hand-held computers won't be ready for 2010; count's costs rise
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Apr 3, 2008 6:56 PM CDT
Chart shows program cost, housing units and cost per housing unit of the census from 1970 to 2010; 2c x 2 3/8 inches; 96.3 mm x 60.3 mm   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The 2010 US census was meant to be a high-tech affair, NextGov.com reports, but the Census Bureau today ditched plans to use hand-held computers. The agency will return to plain old paper after "a lack of effective communication" derailed efforts by Harris Corp. to come up with devices to record data from the estimated 1 million who don't mail back their forms.

The devices will still be used to update household addresses, but officials will gather data door-to-door on the old forms, AP reports. The extra 600,000 workers necessary to do the paperwork may bump the total cost of the constitutionally mandated census to $14.5 billion, the most expensive in history.