people who had not returned a form to cooperate with the follow-up enumerators. Ads were placed on TV (including an ad during the 2000 Super Bowl), radio, newspapers, and other media, using multiple languages. Using information from market research, the ads stressed the benefits to people and their communities from the census, such as better targeting of government funds to needy areas for schools, day care, and other services.
In addition to the ad campaign, the Census Bureau hired partnership and outreach specialists in local census offices, who worked with community and public interest groups to develop special initiatives to encourage participation in the census. The Bureau signed partnership agreements with more than 30,000 organizations, including federal agencies, state and local governments, business firms, nonprofit groups, and others. A special program was developed to put materials on the census in local schools to inform school children about the benefits of the census and motivate them to encourage their adult relatives to participate.
Because not all households will mail back a form, and because many addresses to which questionnaires are delivered will turn out to be vacant or nonresidential, the 2000 census—like previous censuses—included a large field follow-up operation (see Appendix A). More than 500 local census offices (LCOs) were set up across the country (reporting to 12 regional census centers). The LCOs were responsible for hiring the temporary enumerators and crew leaders to conduct follow-up operations. In update/leave areas, enumerators were hired to deliver questionnaires prior to Census Day and to return to follow up nonresponding households. LCOs also carried out operations to enumerate special populations.
Anticipating possible difficulties in hiring and also the possibility that the mail response rate would decline from 1990, LCOs were authorized to recruit aggressively in advance of Census Day, hire more enumerators than they thought would be needed, permit part-time work schedules, and pay above-minimum wages (which differed according to prevailing area wages). Most offices were successful in meeting their hiring goals before the first follow-up operations began in mid-April 2000.
Follow-up operations were carried out in two separate stages. The first stage was nonresponse follow-up (NRFU), designed to obtain a questionnaire from every nonresponding unit in the mailback universe or to determine that an address was vacant or nonresidential. The NRFU operation involved visiting 45 million addresses. It began in late April 2000 and was completed in late June, a week ahead of schedule (unlike 1990, when NRFU fell considerably behind schedule). The second stage was coverage improvement follow-up