decentralized and diffuse organization structure for the 2000 census impeded some aspects of census planning, execution, and evaluation. There was no single operational officer (below the level of director or deputy director of the Bureau) clearly in charge of all aspects of the census; the structure for decision-making and coordination across units was largely hierarchical; and important perspectives inside the Bureau and from regional offices, local partners, and contractors were not always taken into account. These aspects of the 2000 management structure affected two areas in particular: (1) development of the Master Address File (MAF), which experienced numerous problems, and (2) the program to evaluate census processes and data quality, from which results were slow to appear and are often of limited use for understanding the quality of the 2000 census or for planning the 2010 census.
Finding 9.2: The quality of documentation and usability varies among internal 2000 census data files and specifications that are important for evaluation. Generally, the A.C.E. Program followed good practices for documentation, and the A.C.E. files are easy to use for many applications. However, the lack of well-documented and usable data files and specifications hampered timely evaluation of other important aspects of the census, such as the sources contributing to the Master Address File and the implementation of imputation routines.
The Census Bureau developed an ambitious evaluation program for the 2000 census. The evaluations that were conducted to assess coverage error in the census and to evaluate the two major coverage measurement programs—A.C.E. and demographic analysis—were generally of high quality, informative, and completed on a timely schedule (see discussion in Chapter 6).