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Reengineering the 2010 Census: Risks and Challenges
and accuracy of interactions between census enumerators and follow-up respondents. These devices have great potential to improve census-taking, but their development process involves considerable risk and uncertainty (Section 5-A). In Section 5-B, we comment on several areas—including group quarters and residence rules—where both the 2000 census experience and continually changing societal influences suggest the need for redefinition and recalibration of census-taking approaches. We then turn in Section 5-C to two particular enumeration challenges—representing different extremes of urbanicity—that we believe deserve attention in 2010 census planning. Section 5-D comments on the Census Bureau’s plans to expand the means by which respondents can return their census information, including wider use of the Internet and telephone. Finally, the 2000 census experience focused attention on two processes—unduplication of person records and imputation for nonresponse—that are more commonly thought of as late-stage, data-processing functions. However, lessons learned from the 2000 census coupled with new technology will make these processes—and management of the critical trade-offs in cost and accuracy associated with them—a fundamental part of the enumeration strategy of the 2010 census (Section 5-E).
As we discuss PCD plans, it is important to note that the term “portable computing device” (PCDs) is the panel’s, and not currently the Census Bureau’s, usage. The Census Bureau uses the term “mobile computing device” or, more frequently, simply “MCD” to refer to the computers. However, the choice of MCD as a label is unfortunate because it conflicts with the abbreviation for “minor civil division,” a long-standing concept of census geography that refers to the subcounty (township) divisions that are functioning governmental units in several Midwestern and Northeastern states. For this report, we have adopted the compromise label of PCD.
5–APORTABLE COMPUTING DEVICES
Since the 1970s, computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) has emerged as a major element of modern survey methodology. Development began with computer-assisted telephone interviewing