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The 2000 Census: Counting Under Adversity
ing tenure, whole-person imputations were most common among the following groups, accounting for 2.1 percent to 2.3 percent of each: American Indian and Alaska Native owners and renters on reservations, black owners and renters, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander owners. Whole-person imputations were least common among white and other owners and renters, accounting for 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent of these two groups, respectively.1
One question about the success of the imputation methodology is whether it reproduced family living patterns appropriately for different groups. For example, large multigenerational Asian families may have listed elderly parents rather than children last on the questionnaire and therefore not have reported characteristics for them. Table G.1 shows the distribution of whole-person imputations by domain/tenure group for four age categories: 0–17, 18–29, 30–49, 50 and older, and the ratio of whole-person imputations for children under age 18 to those for adults aged 50 and older. These ratios are lower for renters than owners in all race/ethnicity domains, indicating a greater propensity to impute people of older ages in large renter households than in large owner households. The lowest ratios are for black and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander renters.
It is difficult to know what to make of these patterns without information on the age distributions of large households with characteristics reported for all members versus those lacking data for some members. Data are available at the census tract level that could be analyzed to compare the age distribution by domain and tenure of data-defined people with the age distribution for whole-person imputations. However, these data do not permit direct analysis of households that had whole-person imputations versus comparable households that did not.
Four types of situations can occur in the census that require whole-household imputation (what the Census Bureau terms “substitution”) because nothing is known about the basic characteristics
These and other characteristics of whole-person imputations were obtained from tabulations by panel staff of U.S. Census Bureau, File of Census Imputations by Postratum, provided to the panel July 30, 2002 (Schindler, 2001).