$207 million to [the 2000 census A.C.E. and the predecessor ICM program] from fiscal years 1996 through 2001, which was about 3 percent of the $6.5 billion total estimated cost of the 2000 Census” (see also U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002b). An equivalent expenditure for an A.C.E.-type program in 2010 would be money well spent to ensure that adequate data become available with which to evaluate not only net, but also gross coverage errors. Such errors could be more heavily weighted toward omissions, and not erroneous enumerations, in 2010 compared with the 2000 experience.
Recommendation 6.1: The Census Bureau and administration should request, and Congress should provide, funding for the development and implementation of an improved Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation Program for the 2010 census. Such a program is essential to identify census omissions and erroneous enumerations and to provide the basis for adjusting the census counts for coverage errors should that be warranted.
The A.C.E. survey in 2010 must be large enough to provide estimates of coverage errors that provide the level of precision targeted for the original (March 2001) A.C.E. estimates for population groups and geographic areas. Areas for improvement that should be pursued include:
the estimation of components of gross census error (including types of erroneous enumerations and omissions), as well as net error;
the identification of duplicate enumerations in the E-sample and nonresidents in the P-sample by the use of new matching technology;
the inclusion of group quarters residents in the A.C.E. universe;
improved questionnaire content and interviewing procedures about place of residence;
methods to understand and evaluate the effects of census records that are excluded from the A.C.E. matching (IIs);