perhaps because the evaluation staff perspective was not taken into account in designing census databases, such as the MAF. The results from this evaluation program were slow to appear and are often of limited use for understanding the quality of the 2000 census or for planning the 2010 census.

In addition to pursuing improvements for coverage evaluation in 2010 as outlined above, the Census Bureau must materially strengthen the evaluation component for census operations and data quality in 2010 (and in the current testing program). The Bureau should mine data sources created during the 2000 census process, such as the A.C.E. data, extracts from the MAF, a Master Trace Sample of data collection and processing information for a sample of addresses, and a forthcoming match of census records with the March 2000 Current Population Survey, to address important outstanding questions about 2000 data quality and suggest research to improve the 2010 census and the American Community Survey. The Bureau should identify important areas for evaluations in 2010 to meet the needs of users and census planners and set evaluation schedules accordingly; relatedly, it should design and document 2010 data collection and processing systems so that information can be readily extracted to support timely, useful evaluation studies. The Bureau should use graphical and other exploratory data analysis tools to identify patterns (e.g., mail return rates, imputation rates) for geographic areas and population groups that may suggest reasons for variations in data quality and ways to improve quality (such tools could also be useful in real-time management of census operations). The Bureau should accord priority to development of technical staff resources for research and evaluation of both coverage and content in 2010 (Recommendations 9.1 and 9.2).

Finally, the Census Bureau should share preliminary analyses with outside researchers for critical assessment and feedback. To help the Bureau evaluate population coverage and data quality in the 2010 census, the Bureau should seek ways—using the experience with the Panel to Review the 2000 Census as a model—to furnish preliminary data, including microdata, to qualified researchers under arrangements that protect confidentiality (Recommendation 9.3). The panel benefited greatly from the ability to have ready access to detailed evaluation data. In our view, greater sharing with re-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement