branches within a division. Consequently, the quality of available documentation varies widely, as does the usability of data files that are critical for quality control and evaluation. Generally, the A.C.E Program and other operations specified by the Decennial Statistical Studies Division (e.g., long-form sample weighting) followed good practices for documentation, and the A.C.E. files are easy to use for many applications. However, other data files were not designed to facilitate evaluation; these include the MAF, management operations files, and data processing files. Also, important operations such as the system for processing complete-count data and imputing for item nonresponse in the long-form sample were not well documented, which hampers both internal and external evaluation.
Third, communication with and involvement of outside resource people and stakeholders was far from optimal. In particular, communication channels among local governments, geographers located in the Census Bureau’s regional offices, and headquarters Geography Division staff were often muddied. There was too little feedback from headquarters to the regions and localities about schedule changes and other matters that made it difficult for localities to participate effectively in local review. There was also too little involvement of localities in such operations as determining sensible “blue lines” (the map lines demarcating areas for mailout/mailback procedures from update/leave procedures). Case studies by participants in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Program document many instances of inappropriate blue-line designations, which not only complicated local review but also created logistical problems for delivery of census questionnaires (see Working Group on LUCA, 2001:Chap. 4).
We could not and have not undertaken a comprehensive management review of the 2000 census, and so our critique of the census organizational structure is deliberately limited in nature. However, we believe that the problems we have identified affected important aspects of census operations and impeded the ability to conduct imaginative, timely, and useful evaluations of those operations (see also IBM Business Consulting Services, 2003; Morganstein et al., 2003).
Finding 9.1: From the panel’s observations and discussion with key Census Bureau staff, it appears that the