The census coverage measurement programs have historically addressed three primary objectives: (1) to inform users about the quality of the census counts; (2) to help identify sources of error to improve census taking, and (3) to provide alternative counts based on information from the coverage measurement program.
In planning the 1990 and 2000 censuses, the main objective was to produce alternative counts based on the measurement of net coverage error. For the 2010 census coverage measurement program, the Census Bureau will deemphasize that goal, and is instead planning to focus on the second goal of improving census processes.
This book, which details the findings of the National Research Council's Panel on Coverage Evaluation and Correlation Bias, strongly supports the Census Bureau's change in goal. However, the panel finds that the current plans for data collection, data analysis, and data products are still too oriented towards measurement of net coverage error to fully exploit this new focus. Although the Census Bureau has taken several important steps to revise data collection and analysis procedures and data products, this book recommends further steps to enhance the value of coverage measurement for the improvement of future census processes.