system in fiscal 2003 had averaged 4 different placements; “those remaining in foster care for a decade or more could expect to be moved about once a year.”34 Because of the movement of children in foster care placements, the ties between children and households (when foster children are placed in family homes) could be viewed as tenuous or transitory; this could affect the householder’s notion of whether the child is a “usual resident” there. If foster caregivers know that a child’s placement in their home is likely to be short term (as opposed to a full adoption), they might believe they should not include the child in a household roster.

Children in “congregate foster care”—group-based settings—may present difficulties for enumeration because of the variety of housing arrangements in which they may be found. These congregate living arrangements run the gamut from “institutional” approaches such as dedicated orphanages and youth centers to group home situations that are indistinguishable from other housing stock. Indeed, a goal of some state-sponsored homes for these youths is to make housing as home-like and nonclinical as possible (e.g., providing access to regular schools and treatment at medical clinics outside the living facility). Address lists generated without full participation of child welfare agencies could lead to operational problems and data oddities that may challenge editing and imputation routines in the census. For instance, the census return from what seems to be a typical suburban house may appear to be a grouping of 6–10 minor children with no adult as a permanent resident (even though staff would be always present at the home, they would not likely reside there full time). Given the age of the children, direct delivery and administration of questionnaires to the children in the facilities would likely not be tenable. As with other group quarters, the accuracy of enumeration in these settings would depend on the willingness and ability of facility staff to provide responses or on the quality of facility or administrative records.


The 2000 census recorded about 282,000 residents of military barracks and other on-base residences, another 30,000 at short-term or transient housing on military bases, and 44,000 men and women on military ships (see Table 3-1). These counts reflect only a part of the broader military population (and their dependents) serving in the United States, in its waters, and overseas. The military population is challenging to count because of the diversity of service locations and the changing nature of assignments. As Hollmann (1987:279) notes, the “usual residence” principle that “is readily applicable to the vast majority of the population” is less suited to the military because they “are by


As extreme cases, 12 Texas foster children in fiscal 2000 were found to have gone through at least 40 different foster placements.

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