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The 2000 Census: Counting Under Adversity
520 finished within 9 weeks—a week ahead of the planned 10-week schedule for completion (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002a:6).4 Few instances occurred in which operations had to be modified in major ways after Census Day, April 1, 2000. One exception was the ad hoc unduplication operation that was mounted in summer 2000 to reduce duplicate enumerations from duplicate addresses in the MAF (see Section 4-E).
In contrast, the 1990 census experienced unexpected problems and delays in executing such key operations as nonresponse follow-up, which took 14 weeks to finish, and the Census Bureau had to return to Congress to obtain additional funding to complete all needed operations. The basic 1990 data were released on time, however, and delivery schedules for more detailed products were similar for 1990 and 2000 (see Bureau of the Census, 1995a:Ch.10; http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/c2kproducts.html [1/10/04]).
4–BMAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO PUBLIC RESPONSE
The Census Bureau had three strategies to encourage response to the 2000 census. Two of the three strategies very likely contributed to the success in halting the historical decline in mail response and return rates—a redesigned questionnaire and mailing package (4-B.1) and extensive advertising and outreach (4-B.2). The third strategy, which we do not discuss further, was to allow multiple modes for response. This strategy had little effect partly because the Census Bureau did not actively promote alternative response modes. Specifically, the Bureau did not widely advertise the option of responding via the Internet (an option available only to respondents who had been mailed the census short form) because of a concern that it could not handle a large volume of responses. The Bureau also did not widely advertise the option of picking up a “Be Counted” form at a public place because of a concern about a possible increase in the number of responses that would require address verification and unduplication. Finally, telephone assistance was designed pri-
Subsequently, every housing unit in the workload of one district office, in Hialeah, Florida, was reenumerated because of problems that came to light in that office, and selected housing units were reenumerated in seven other offices for which problems were identified (see Appendix C.3.b).