The Census Bureau’s $33 million web site

IBM charged taxpayers eight figures for the “American FactFinder”

Written by Brandon Wieber
Edited by JPat Brown

As citizens of a democracy, we’d like to believe that our tax money is spent on programs and products that will support the nation, and create a better, stronger society. So what do we do when we discover that more than $33 million dollars was spent on a web application few find useful?

Inspired by a request he saw documenting questionable spending on OSHA’s $200,000 smartphone app development, William Hartnett filed a request for the total cost of the widely-criticized U.S. Census’ American FactFinder site.

That site’s total dwarfed OSHA’s: The response stated that the total cost hit $33.3 million.

Spurred by the outcry and media coverage, the Census Bureau responded in a blog post, explaining some of the costs paid to IBM as well as promising improvements.

Read the full documents embedded below, or on the request page.


Image via Census.gov