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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Delivers 2010 Census Counts, Announces nearly $1.9 Billion in Final 2010 Census Savings

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On time and under budget, Census shows growth of U.S. population to 308,745,538

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves at the National Press Club today to unveil the official 2010 Census population counts – 10 days before the statutory deadline of Dec. 31. The nationwide population as of April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538. Locke also announced a final 2010 Census savings of $1.87 billion.

“Without the help of the American people and the more than 257,000 partner organizations that worked with the U.S. Census Bureau to raise awareness and encourage participation, we would not have been able to achieve $1.87 billion in 2010 Census savings and a final mail response rate of 74 percent in a time of declining survey participation,” Locke said.  

The 2010 Census counts show how the U.S. population has grown and shifted over the last decade. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed every year to states and communities based in part on Census population data and American Community Survey (ACS) results. State and local governments use this data to plan new roads, new schools and new emergency services, and businesses use the data to develop new economic opportunities.

With field operations now completed, the 2010 Census came in at a cost 25 percent lower than planned expenditures for this fiscal year. In August, the Census Bureau announced $1.6 billion in 2010 Census savings. The final figure increased by almost $300 million due to additional efficiencies in subsequent operations and field infrastructure.

Contributing to the cost savings were:

  • Lower-than expected costs for staffing and running the nearly 500 local Census Offices;
  • A strong 74 percent response rate to the census questionnaire, which cut down on costly door-to-door follow-up operations;
  • Efficient non-response follow-up operations by temporary census workers;
  • Contingency funding set aside for natural disasters, major disruptions or other problems that was not needed.

Effective leadership and management of operations also helped to keep the 2010 Census under budget. Upon taking office in 2009, Locke and Groves heard warnings from Congress and Census watchdogs about the many high-risk operational challenges ahead and about the numerous systems failures in the years preceding the 2010 count. In response, Locke immediately directed Groves to run a comprehensive review of the Census plan and find ways to cut costs and enumerate the population more efficiently to ensure American tax dollars were being spent wisely.

“A big thanks to our dedicated management team and all the field workers who helped keep the 2010 Census on track, on time and under budget,” Locke said.

Prior to today’s announcement, Locke personally delivered the national and statewide population counts, along with the apportionment counts, to President Obama as required by law. The president will transmit the apportionment counts to the 112th Congress during the first week of its first regular session in January, according to congressional mandate. Additional data from the 2010 Census will be released on an ongoing basis through 2013.

For more information about the 2010 Census, visit For broadcast quality clips on the 2010 Census, including messages from Locke, visit