panel is currently reviewing such topics as MAF reengineering, ACS estimation issues, and administrative computer systems for operations management.

We are not charged specifically to recommend changes to the census design for 2010. Based on our evaluations of 2000 operations to date, we do offer two suggestions for consideration.

  • First, the Bureau’s plans for the MAF for 2010 include continuation of a LUCA-type program. Implementation of LUCA for the 2000 MAF was difficult and participation was variable. The report of the LUCA Working Group suggests that participation can perhaps be most effective when it is coordinated for localities by a state or regional agency, such as a metropolitan association of governments. We suggest that the Census Bureau review its experience with LUCA partnerships in 2000 and consult with state and local governments to determine partnership strategies for 2010 that are likely to work well for both the Bureau and its LUCA partners.

  • Second, we endorse the recommendations of two prior Committee on National Statistics panels that serious consideration should be given to moving Census Day to an earlier date than April 1, preferably to the middle of a month (National Research Council, 1994:38–40; 1999b:43–44). Changing Census Day could well improve the accuracy of enumeration of several groups of the population. These include: people moving into a new rental apartment or home, which is more likely to occur at the beginning than the middle of a month; college students, who may be less likely to be on spring break at an earlier date and less likely to have ended their spring semester when nonresponse follow-up is in progress; and snowbirds who may be less likely to be in transit at an earlier date. In addition, more time in which to evaluate the census, the A.C.E., and demographic analysis could make it possible to reach a decision about whether to adjust the census data for legislative redistricting without the uncertainties that affected the Bureau’s decision last March.15

    Moving Census Day would require changing Title 13 of the U.S. Code, which specifies key delivery dates in terms of months after Census Day rather than a specific day (e.g., 12 months after Census Day for delivery of redistricting data). A possibility is to change Title 13 to specify the current delivery dates of December 31 of the census year for reapportionment counts and April 1 of the following year for redistricting counts, while giving the Census Bureau the authority to change Census Day should the Bureau conclude that such a change would facilitate the enumeration. Work to change Title 13 should begin soon if the Bureau is to have the option of moving Census Day in 2010.


Changing Census Day could have some effect on the time series of estimates from the census, depending on how the new and old dates relate to seasonal patterns of residence.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement