June 11, 2006

Federal Census 2010 Expected to Cost $11.3 Billion

In a recent hearing before the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Federal Finanical Management, Government Information, and International Security, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Brenda Farrell, acting director of strategic issues at GAO said she expects the 2010 census to be the most expensive in our nation's history, even accounting for inflation. The average cost of the census per household will be about $72, compared to a cost of $56/household for the 2000 census.

A significant expense in the past has been the cost involved in following up on what the Census Bureau calls "non-respondents", those people who do not return their census forms and need to be contacted again. Farrell estimated that, had enumerators spent just one more minute at each household of a non-respondent family in the 2000 census it would have added nearly $10 million more to the total cost of the census.

To try and reduce some of these costs the Census Bureau has been testing the use of GPS enabled mobile computer devises (MCD) instead of using paper questionnaires. There have been reliability problems and other issues related to these devices, however. These issues will need to be resolved by the final dress rehearsal for the census, which will take place in 2008. If the MCDs continue to prove problematic the Census Bureau will be forced to go back to the more costly traditional paper methods of follow-up, significantly increasing the costs of this already expensive census.

Posted by swortman at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2006

10 Most Harmful Government Programs

Human Events, the conservative weekly magazine, asked 38 conservative public policy experts and scholars to name the 10 Most Harmful Government Programs. Topping the list is social security followed by Medicare, income tax withholding and McCain-Feingold. Two programs, contraceptive funding and farm subsidies, tied for 5th place. Rounding out the top ten are Medicaid, affirmative action, earmarking, and the Davis-Bacon Act.

Posted by kfolger at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2006

It's going to take how long to get my PhD?!

The National Science Foundation has just released a report on the average time to degree differences among research doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. The report is based on data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates.

The report looks at three measures of time to degree:

  • total elapsed time from completion of the baccalaureate to the doctorate (total time to degree--TTD)
  • time in graduate school less reported periods of nonenrollment (registered time to degree--RTD)
  • age at receipt of doctorate
  • For the academic year ending in 2003, for all doctorate recipients in the social sciences, the median total time to degree (TTD) was 10.0 years; the median registered time to degree (RTD) was 7.8 years; and the median age was 33.1

    Education doctorates had the highest median TTD, 18.2. Anthropologists had the highest RTD, 9.6. The median age for doctorates in chemistry was 29.6, veritable whippersnappers! In comparison, the median age for education doctorates was 43.5.

    Posted by kfolger at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)