TABLE 3-1 Operational Components and Challenges for the 2000 Census



2000 Solutions

Possible Benefits/Risks Compared with 1990


Develop MAP for mailback universe (99% of population in 2000); develop list of special places for enumerating people in group quarters (dormitories, nursing homes, etc.)

Create list with fewest possible omissions and fewest possible duplicates or other erroneous addresses; assign (geocode) addresses correctly to census geographic units

Begin with 1990 list for most addresses; use multiple sources to update and correct (Postal Service list, field canvassing, local input, updating during enumeration, computer checking to reduce duplication)

Multiple sources could reduce omissions (benefit), but increase duplication (risk)

Local review could vary in extent and completeness (risk)

Unduplication procedures (including the unplanned summer 2000 operation) could be incomplete (risk)


Deliver questionnaires to each address on the list for households to fill out and mail back (enumerate rural households directly)

Obtain highest possible mail response and return rates through delivery procedures [see also (3)]

Use enumerators instead of U.S. Postal Service to reach non-city-style addresses; make multiple mailings (e.g., advance letter); use shortened user-friendly questionnaire; provide options to respond by telephone or the Internet; allow people to pick up “Be Counted” forms if they failed to receive a mailing

Redesigned questionnaires and multiple mailings could boost mail response (benefit)

Space for only 6 people on the questionnaire (7 in 1990) could affect count of large households (risk)

Widespread availability of “Be Counted” forms could increase duplication (risk)


Before and throughout census operations, conduct outreach and advertising programs to boost mail response rate and cooperation with follow-up enumerators

Reach and motivate general public and, especially, traditionally hard-to-count groups to fill out their census form

Run extensive Census in Schools Program; pay for advertising, including ads targeted to minority groups; hire partnership specialists; partner with local governments, businesses, and others for special outreach efforts; challenge communities to meet or exceed their 1990 mail response rate

Much more extensive advertising and outreach could stem the decline in mail response rates that occurred from 1970 to 1990 (benefit)

Partnership efforts could vary in effectiveness (particularly because Census Bureau could provide materials and limited staff help but not funding) (risk)

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