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The 2000 Census: Counting Under Adversity
ings and readable questionnaires), and these innovations apparently helped stem the historical decline in mail response rates (see Section 4-B.1). The coverage evaluation research supported the basic DSE survey-based design and led to innovations in the A.C.E. that promised to achieve gains in accuracy and timeliness compared with the 1990 PES. Many of these gains were in fact achieved, although a failure to detect large numbers of duplicate enumerations compromised the A.C.E. population estimates (see Section 6-C.2).
Research in the other two priority areas had less of an impact. The research on sampling for nonresponse follow-up had to be discarded because the Supreme Court decided that a sample-based census was unlawful. The MAF research did not proceed far enough in the early 1990s, with the result that additions to the program and changes in the schedule—late implementation of the full block canvass, rushed plans for local review, and questionnaire labeling before verification of most of the addresses submitted by local governments—had to be made late in the decade.
3–CDETERMINING THE 2000 DESIGN
We now turn to the political and advisory processes that shaped the 2000 census design over the 1990s. In the first half of the decade, the balance of stakeholder opinion provided impetus to the Census Bureau to plan an unprecedented use of statistical methods to reduce costs and improve the completeness of population coverage in 2000. In the second half of the decade, a battle ensued between those who welcomed and those who feared statistical adjustment of the census counts. The result was to delay a final decision on the 2000 design and the provision of needed funding until very late in the decade.
3–C.11991 to 1996
The concern over the perceived failings of the 1990 census led the Census Bureau, Congress, and stakeholder groups to take an unprecedented interest in beginning to plan for 2000 before release of data products had even been completed for 1990. In late 1991 the secretary of commerce established a 2000 Census Advisory Committee, consisting of over 30 representatives from a wide range of associations representing business, labor, minority groups, data