–4–
Complex and Ambiguous Living Situations

IN THIS CHAPTER we look beyond the residential ambiguities inherent in the group quarters or nonhousehold population to examine other living situations and social trends that complicate the specification of residence. We consider five main categories:

  • people with ties to multiple nonpermanent residences, including those who are highly mobile (Section 4–A);

  • groups for whom residential ambiguity is created by complex household structures and the changing nature of “family” in American life (4–B);

  • homeless people with ties to no fixed residence, living on the streets or making use of shelters and other services (4–C);

  • people who may be missed by existing census operations and questions, whether due to gaps in residence rules and questions or to structural features in the census questionnaire (4–D); and

  • people whose true residential location—and even their counting in the census—may be affected by the nature of the housing stock in which they live (4–E).

4–A
MULTIPLE RESIDENCE AND HIGHLY MOBILE POPULATIONS

This section describes some living situations in which a person’s residence lacks a degree of permanence: people in these situations tend to move between



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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census –4– Complex and Ambiguous Living Situations IN THIS CHAPTER we look beyond the residential ambiguities inherent in the group quarters or nonhousehold population to examine other living situations and social trends that complicate the specification of residence. We consider five main categories: people with ties to multiple nonpermanent residences, including those who are highly mobile (Section 4–A); groups for whom residential ambiguity is created by complex household structures and the changing nature of “family” in American life (4–B); homeless people with ties to no fixed residence, living on the streets or making use of shelters and other services (4–C); people who may be missed by existing census operations and questions, whether due to gaps in residence rules and questions or to structural features in the census questionnaire (4–D); and people whose true residential location—and even their counting in the census—may be affected by the nature of the housing stock in which they live (4–E). 4–A MULTIPLE RESIDENCE AND HIGHLY MOBILE POPULATIONS This section describes some living situations in which a person’s residence lacks a degree of permanence: people in these situations tend to move between

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census more than one residential location, with varying frequency. Gober and Mings (1984:165) argue that “nonpermanent changes in residence have received little attention by social scientists in the western-industrialized world because the process of nonpermanent movement falls between the crack, so to speak, of what we usually define as migration and tourism.” For many reasons, even the rough size of the populations in these living situation groups is difficult to ascertain, much less definitive information on trends in their growth as a share of the total population. Alone among modern U.S. censuses, the 1980 census included in its supplementary reports a separate tabulation of nonpermanent residents, tallying “elderly seasonal migrants, owners of second homes, itinerant farm workers and business people who reside part-time in out-of-town accommodations” (Gober and Mings, 1984:164). These estimates “were never intended as estimates of seasonal or any other form of temporary migration” (McHugh et al., 1995:253), and they excluded nonpermanent residential situations such as those “staying temporarily at the home of a permanent resident or in hotels, motels, campgrounds or other tourist-like settings” (Gober and Mings, 1984:164). Despite their limitations, the 1980 estimates were something rare in the study of multiple-residence situations—national-level information, rather than case-study analysis. Both Smith (1989) and McHugh et al. (1995) suggest broader conceptual frameworks for understanding multiple residence. These frameworks suggest that the assumption that people are linked to a single usual fixed place of residence may be unrealistic. 4–A.1 “Snowbirds” and “Sunbirds” “Anyone who has spent spring vacation in Daytona Beach, August at the New Jersey seashore, or February in Sun City, Arizona, knows that many places have large numbers of temporary residents who live there for a few days, weeks, or even months.” These temporary residents, Smith (1989:430) notes, “often have a tremendous impact on an area’s economic, social, and physical environment, as they increase the demand for housing, shopping centers, health care, water, electricity, transportation, recreational facilities, police protection, and many other types of goods and services.” Lowry (1987:15) comments that some of the “seasonal inflow of residents” in such areas are “casual visitors who will not return; but others return year after year, either to rented quarters or to seasonal homes that they own.” This latter group is particularly interesting because, by virtue of the frequency with which they return to the area, they develop strong ties and “often become substantially involved in local affairs through their status as property owners.” However, “they are not usually able to vote in local elections because they have registered elsewhere.”

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census The term “snowbird” has gained popular usage to describe people—often retirees or the elderly—who leave cold-weather areas during the winter months for warmer climes, such as Florida, Arizona, southern California, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Hogan and Steinnes (1996) and Smith and House (2005) adopt the term “sunbird” to describe those who follow the counterpart trend, fleeing hot summer areas for milder northern climes in places like Cape Cod, the Maine shore, and northern Wisconsin. As discussed in Box 2-1, the existence of such seasonal migration has been known for decades, and tradeoffs in its perceived impact were considered in adjusting the date of the census in the early 1900s. However, the census has not historically asked the questions to make an informed assessment of the size and growth of the snowbird and sunbird communities.1 Instead, the research that has been done to date on the demographics of the snowbird population has tended to be local area studies done in areas with high concentrations of seasonal residents: Smith and House (2005:4) and colleagues surveyed 500 Florida households each month between September 2000 and December 2003 by telephone. Of the 7,041 respondents aged 55 and older, 83 percent were permanent, full-time Florida residents; 12 percent were permanent Florida residents who indicated that they spend more than 30 consecutive days at some other location (sunbirds), and 5 percent were not permanent Florida residents but were currently in the state on an extended stay (snowbirds). See also Smith and House (2004a,b) and Galvez (1997) for further comment on the Florida snowbird population. Research on the Arizona snowbird population has taken several shapes. Happel and Hogan (2002) and colleagues conducted a statewide household survey during 1990–1991, intended to reach 400–500 households a month. That survey showed a variation in the percentage of nonpermanent households, ranging from 0.7 percent in September to 6 percent in February and March (peak season). Though the survey offered other insights, it was terminated in 1991 due to funding cutbacks. However, Arizona State University sponsored smaller-scale, targeted interviewing at mobile home and recreational vehicle parks, beginning in 1984 and continuing through 2000. Happel and Hogan (2002) estimated that Arizona may have 273,000 long-term seasonal residents who come each year at the peak of the season. Similarly, Smith and House (2004a) estimate that there may be as many as 920,000 seasonal residents arriving each year in Florida, not counting short-stay tourists. 1 The 1980 special tabulation on nonpermanent residents covered only those snowbirds whose destination was Arizona or Florida (Hogan and Steinnes, 1996).

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census Researchers from the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) estimate that 127,000 “winter Texans” took up residence in the Rio Grande Valley (63,500 households), spending a total of $420 million while there; the average length of stay was 3.7 months, and most had made the same seasonal move for 10 years or more (Valley Markets and Tourism Research Center, 2005). The UTPA study also collected survey information from full-time valley residents, as well as Mexican nationals who cross the border for very short (often one day or less) visits, principally to shop. UTPA researchers have conducted a study of “winter Texans” biennially since 1986 (see also Center for Tourism Research, 2003). Snowbirds were also the focus of an ethnographic study conducted as part of the 2000 census experimental program; Hunter et al. (2003) and de la Puente (2004) summarize the results of the study, performed by Mings (2001). Though the current levels of snowbird and sunbird migration are not well determined, researchers suggest that seasonal migration will almost certainly continue to increase due to several factors, among them the aging of the “baby boomer” generation, longer life expectancies, and rising household wealth. The local area surveys that have been done on the snowbird populations focus principally on the nature and impact of snowbirds on their destination communities, where they go to for their seasonal trips. Much less is known about the origin locations of the snowbird population—the small-area impacts of depopulation in northern, cold-weather communities and consequent lessening of the need for some services (Happel and Hogan, 2002). In much the same manner as in localities housing college students or prisoners, the location at which seasonal residents are counted in the census is important to both communities—arguably more so, since large seasonal swings in population can create large drains on local resources like transportation and health care. The limited work that does exist on snowbirds’ origin destinations suggests that some common assumptions may be erroneous. For instance, “it is popular wisdom that the usual residence for nonpermanent households is ‘far away,”’ noted Mann (1987:11): “for example, 61 percent of all New York State households initially enumerated in a place other than their usual residence were found in Florida, hardly a surprise.” However, there are limits to which snowbird movement can be thought of as a cross-state phenomenon; Mann cites a Census Bureau report on nonpermanent households as reporting that “47 percent of California’s nonpermanent households lived permanently elsewhere in California; 44 percent of New York State’s nonpermanent households lived in New York and 33 percent of Texas’ lived in Texas.” Relatively little research has been done to date on either the origin or destination of sunbirds; see Hogan and Steinnes (1996) for a contrast between snowbirds “flying from” Minnesota and sunbirds originating in Arizona. The residence rules for the 1990 census (see Box 5-4) would treat a snow-

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census bird or sunbird as “a person who has more than one home and divides time between them,” in which case the rules directed that they be counted at “the household where he/she spends the greater part of the calendar year.” The problem of counting seasonal residents was singled out for commentary in the Rolark (1995:3) memorandum outlining the 2000 census residence rules: [The 1990 rule for “snowbirds”] was never clearly explained on the census questionnaire and we never told respondents which calendar year (i.e., the census calendar year, January 1, 1990 to December 31, 1990; the calendar year preceding the census, January 1, 1989 to December 31, 1989; or the year from April 1, 1990 to April 1, 1991) [to use as a reference]. Using any of these reference periods presents a unique set of problems ranging from the accuracy of the respondent’s memory to the respondent’s inability to project future behavior. We recommend that persons who live in one residence during the winter months and live in another residence during the remainder of the year be counted at the place where ‘they spend most of their time’ during the ‘yearly cycle’[—]the nonwinter residence. This gets back to the general rule for persons with multiple residences. Accordingly, snowbirds are referenced in rule 2 of the 2000 census residence rules as being counted “where they spend most of the time during the week, month, or year, etc.” and are cited as an example of a “yearly cycle” in the attachment to the rules. Conceptually, the accurate counting of the seasonal snowbird and sunbird populations is complicated by several factors, including the timing of census operations and the cross-national scope of seasonal migration. First, with respect to timing, the 1920 decision on the timing of Census Day (see Box 2-1) alludes to a basic tradeoff that must be weighed: the early months of the year—including the peak census activity months of March and April—are times when the census may find snowbirds at their winter (and likely shorter-term) address. At their nonseasonal addresses, some information on their characteristics may be gleaned from proxy interviews with neighbors or landlords, but the census questionnaire provides no mechanism to suggest a connection between the two addresses. The issue of timing is complicated further when follow-up interviews and coverage measurement operations extend into May, June, and July. Snowbirds may return to their nonseasonal homes, but the later interviews may miss sunbirds who depart at the beginning of the summer season. Second, snowbird and sunbird migration is not only within the United States. Coates et al. (2002) observe an increasing tendency for Canadians to move to warm-weather locations in the United States for the winter months. “Detailed statistics on the scale of the seasonal migration are sketchy at best” and support widely varying estimates, but they conclude (based on 1999 data)

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census that on the order of 300,000–375,000 Canadians join the snowbird migration. Foreign nationals receiving a census questionnaire at their seasonal home might be less inclined to return it, but that question does not appear to have been studied empirically. In addition, Coates et al. (2002) suggest an increased tendency for snowbirds (both U.S.- and Canada-based) to spend winter months in Mexico, making it impossible to contact them directly at the seasonal residence. Both Happel and Hogan (2002) and Smith and House (2004a) argue for the need for the Census Bureau to be able to generate national estimates of the seasonal migrant population. Though improvements could be made to the decennial census to acquire such estimates, both sets of authors suggest that the American Community Survey (ACS, the replacement for the census long-form sample) is an ideal vehicle for generating these estimates on a regular basis. In particular, Smith and House (2004a) advocate asking specific questions on the ACS in order to differentiate short- and long-term visitors to an area: “Is the current address your usual place of residence?” If not, “Where is your usual place of residence?” And, “How many months will you be at the current address during your current visit?” In this section, we have focused on one component of seasonal migration, specifically the movement of older, retired people for stays of several months. It is worth nothing that other significant short-term population movements affect younger age groups and even shorter “seasons.” One such case are groups of migrant farm workers, which we discuss in Section 4–A.6; another seasonal population of interest in major hosting cities like Las Vegas, Chicago, and Atlanta is the steady stream of short-term attendees of professional meetings and conferences. Still another major, regular such shift is the influx of college students on spring break that arrives at beach communities, such as South Padre Island, Texas, and Panama City, Florida, or other destinations. Because colleges vary in the exact date of their spring break or semester/quarter break, these communities may experience major population surges—and both the economic benefits and resource drains that accompany that growth—for much of March through April. Studies of the size and nature of the spring break population is limited, but the short-term effect on small areas can be large. Vincent et al. (2000) estimated that 186,000 college students came to the South Padre Island area alone in March 2000, spending on the order of $156 million and resulting in the creation of 4,276 jobs during the spring break season. 4–A.2 Modern Nomads: Recreational Vehicle Users The “life course” framework for multiple residence suggested by McHugh et al. (1995) identifies snowbird and sunbird movement as a cyclical migration pattern prevalent among retirees and the elderly. Another pattern evident in

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census the same age group—albeit less tied to specific seasons—are those people who essentially travel year-round in recreational vehicles (RVs), touring various parts of the country and visiting family members and friends. Part of this population is also known as “Good Sams,” after the Good Sam Club formed so that members could have a signal to know of other motorists and facilities where they could get assistance on the road. In the extreme case of year-round RV users, these people might be considered “homeless snowbirds”—constantly on the move with the seasons (Happel and Hogan, 2002). Sponsored by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the University of Michigan Survey Research Center has conducted national surveys of RV users every 4 years, as part of its Surveys of Consumers program. The 2001 National Survey of Recreation Vehicle Owners was based on a representative sample of households contacted between January and June 2001. The survey estimated that 6.9 million U.S. households own a RV,2 representing 7.6 percent of all vehicle-owning households, consistent with rates around 7 percent from previous versions of the survey and suggesting mild growth from a recent low of 6.8 percent in the 1993 data (Curtin, 2001). Owners of full-size motorhomes (1.9 percent of all households) tend to be older (average age of 59) than those with less fully equipped RV types like folding camping trailers (average age of 41). Only 18 percent of motorhome owners reported having dependent children, compared with 61 percent of folding camping trailer owners. For the 2000 census, a new residence rule 16 was meant to clarify the way in which the RV population should be counted rather than change it. The rule allowed this group to claim a usual home elsewhere; if the respondent could not specify a place where they live most of the time, they were to be counted at the camp where they were found. The rule further noted that if a respondent considers the RV to be his or her usual place of residence, then the RV is considered a housing unit and would be tabulated with the household (not group quarters) population. Hunter et al. (2003) and de la Puente (2004) summarize ethnographic research by Mings (2001) that focused on a set of RV campgrounds in Arizona. This work suggests some of the conceptual difficulties involved in counting RV users: Definition of the physical place where they are “most of the time”: The place where truly diehard RV users live or stay most of the time may in fact be the RV, if they keep to a steady rotation of visiting friends and relatives for weeks at a time. The 32 RV-using snowbirds interviewed by Mings 2 For the purposes of the study, “recreational vehicle is defined to include all types of motorhomes, conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheel travel trailers, folding camping trailers, and truck campers” (Curtin, 2001:5).

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census (2001) constitute a rather small sample; still, of that number, some 20 percent do not maintain a permanent residence. Inaccessibility by common enumeration techniques: By their nature, intensive RV users can be difficult to reach by physical mail, much less in a timely fashion. Hence, it is possible that a census questionnaire could be sent to a home they maintain, or to the home of friends or relatives where RVers commonly return, but there is no guarantee that the people in question will be there to receive or answer it. Or they may also rely on a rented post office box for the accumulation of their physical mail and thus might not be included in the census mailout population to begin with. The constancy with which they are on the road means that they can be difficult to reach by personal visit; they might be contacted by a one-shot deployment of enumerators to campgrounds (e.g., a T-Night-type operation as described in Section 4–C), but they might not. The best chance of their inclusion in the census might be from proxy reporting by a neighbor or family member, but that approach may impair the accuracy of the data. Incomplete inventory of RV campsites: Mings (2001), as summarized by Hunter et al. (2003), found that some of the sites where he interviewed dedicated RV-using snowbirds (with no other residence) were not visited by enumerators in any census operation. He urged that future censuses pay more attention to undeveloped and public land campsites rather than commercial RV resorts and privately owned campgrounds. Public land campsites differ from their commercial counterparts in at least two respects that further complicate census enumeration matters. First, they typically do not offer any kind of mail delivery (some commercial RV grounds do), making even a fluke census questionnaire delivery unlikely. Second, public grounds typically impose a limit on the length of stay—for instance, 14 days—that encourages frequent moving by their users (Hunter et al., 2003:5). 4–A.3 Commuter Workers and Commuter Marriage Partners Work and employment can be a source of ambiguity in residence definitions for a variety of reasons. In the next section we discuss cases where ambiguity stems from the nature of the job itself; here, we discuss ambiguity caused by the location of work. Economic or family circumstances compel some people to live lengthy distances from their work location, in the exurbs and rural expanses surrounding metropolitan areas. These long-distance commuter workers may live one place (near work) during the work week but return to another the rest of the time, making it difficult to identify one usual residence.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census From the survey or census context, the problem of trying to obtain information from such a commuter worker—single, without family—is vexing enough. More difficult still are “commuter marriages” where work conditions may split spouses or family members. Each party, reached separately, may not think of the place where he or she lives simply for the purpose of going to their job as their “usual” residence. Commuter marriages are one of many changing and evolving structures that have drawn the attention of family demographers in the past few decades. Actual data on the extent of commuter workers or commuter marriages are difficult or impossible to obtain. For a group for which so little is known about its basic size and trends, the commuter population has nonetheless drawn a great deal of attention in residence discussions. In summarizing the 1986 Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) residence rules workshop, CEC Associates (1987:23) wondered whether “usual residence” was the appropriate benchmark for this group and whether something more akin to “an ‘habitual’ residence, perhaps that residence where the person has lived consistently over a longer period of time,” would be more meaningful. More fundamentally, the report focused on a critical concern in addressing this group: namely, the tendency for people to connect “household” with family, rather than the census concept of “household” as a collection of people at a housing unit. Choices in treating commuter workers can induce “potential bias of family composition data, creating a class of fictitious single parent families, possibly with incomes greatly underrepresented by excluding that of the absent spouse.”3 CEC Associates (1987:22) concluded that the rule for commuter workers “probably needs to be retained” for the 1990 census, but that “research needs to be undertaken to determine the impact of this rule on family and household statistics, on occupancy statistics, and most importantly on apportionment and redistricting data.” The 2000 census residence rules attempted to add some clarity to the handling of commuter workers, though how well that worked is unclear. Rolark (1995:5) observed that the 1990 residence rules strictly considered commuter workers as “persons with one residence where they stayed on weekends and another residence where they stayed during the week while working”; hence, the rules would count the weekday residence as the usual residence since it would be the place where the greatest amount of time was spent in a given week. “Other patterns of staying (e.g., one month away, one month home, etc.) were not explicitly addressed.” With the attachment on weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles included in the 2000 rules, the Bureau opted to leave determination of the appropriate time cycle to the respondent; “persons having 3 This specific phenomenon regarding family and household data is not a specific concern for the 2010 short-form-only census, since household income is traditionally a long-form (and now ACS) question.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census a weekly, monthly, or other cycle of commuting should be counted at the place where they spend the most time in that week, month, or other cycle.” However, the decision was not universally accepted by the staff committee developing the rules: Some team members strongly disagreed with this decision feeling that this rule does not provide enough guidance to cover the varied patterns of commuter workers. Those who disagreed also felt that, from a respondent’s perspective social attachments were stronger determinants of usual residence than the place where the person slept most nights. They felt that although some family members worked and lived away from the family home, they would still be included on the form that his/her family filled out, despite what the rules stated. Though the Rolark memo implies a more flexible concept of commuter worker arrangements, the phrase “commuter workers” only occurs in the discussion of a “weekly cycle” in the 2000 census residence rules. In addition, the Web-posted version of the residence rules speaks only to “commuter workers living away part of the week while working,” advising that they be “counted at the residence where they stay most of the week.” The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), administered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Federal Highway Administration, provides some empirical glimpses at long-distance commutes.4 The NHTS defines “stretch commutes” as those involving trips of at least 50 miles one way: 2001 NHTS data estimated that 3.3 million Americans stretch commute annually, with about 19 percent of those commuters traveling one-way distances of 100 miles or more. In a 4-week period (20 business days), 65 percent of those stretch commuters with a travel distance of 50–99 miles made the commute 16 or more days; that percentage drops to 33 percent for those with one-way trips of 100–199 miles and to 12 percent for drives of 200 or more miles. What the survey does not immediately reflect is changes to household structures that result from these commuter patterns—for example, 65 percent of commuters traveling 200 or more miles make that commute only 1–4 days in a 4-week period, but it is not clear whether that is because the traveler maintains a second residence closer to the work location. Nested under the broad heading of commuter workers is one very small, highly mobile, and very influential subpopulation—members of Congress.5 The Bureau’s procedural history of the 1970 census reports that “each member of Congress had the option of being enumerated at his Washington-area 4 For additional information on the NHTS, see http://www.bts.gov/programs/national_household_travel_survey [8/1/06]. 5 Similar arguments hold for state legislators, who may need to have residences in the state capital while also maintaining residence in their home districts. In many states, though, legislative sessions are short duration.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census address in his home State. For Congressmen and Senators who made the latter choice, the appropriate population and housing data were tabulated for his home address” (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1970:8-2). Mann (1987) suggests that the same choice was offered in 1980, and the the U.S. Supreme Court’s summary of the government’s brief in Franklin v. Massachusetts (Box 2-5) noted this provision as well. The residence rules for the 1990 census indicated that “the Census Bureau plans to count Members of Congress either at their Washington, D.C. area address or at their home state residence, dependent upon which one they consider to be their usual residence” in following the instructions on the questionnaire. For 2000, it is not clear whether any special program was in place, but members of Congress were listed as an example of a multiple-residence category to be handled by rule 2—no guidance on whether a weekly, monthly, or yearly cycle was most applicable. The counting of members of Congress is one instance for which the difference between different standards of defining residence—and the varying standards used by federal and state agencies—are particularly vivid, as strict adherence to a usual residence standard defined by spending four or more nights a week in a place would seem to make the great majority of them ineligible for reelection from their districts, inasmuch as they would be “residents” of the Washington area (Mann, 1987:7–8).6 4–A.4 Residential Ambiguity Due to Occupation The basic nature of work and employment can serve to complicate residence patterns. As cases for which a strict interpretation of living or staying someplace “most of the time” can be problematic, Sweet (1987:12) suggested: Consider the long haul truck driver. Perhaps he (or she) is on the road 200 or more days a year. Yet he has a family and maintains a household at some fixed location. He and his family regard him as a member of this household, and it would seem to be a mistake not to classify this person as a member of his household. Other occupations where a similar pattern might often occur include traveling sales people and installers of large, complex equipment. What distinguishes this group from others that we have discussed is that they normally do not maintain another residence in a fixed location somewhere else. In such cases, “it would seem desirable to classify these persons as residents of their home”—wherever they might specify it to be—“even though they do not spend a large share of the time there.” 6 Likewise, absolute adherence to a Census Bureau-style “usual residence” standard (“live and stay most of the time”) in all settings would typically establish both the President and Vice President of the United States as residents of the District of Columbia. The 12th Amendment’s stipulation that the two must be from different states would then seem to make the president-vice president ticket ineligible for reelection.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census Table 4-5 Births and Deaths in the United States by Month, 2004, Provisional Vital Statistics Data Month Births Deaths Number Rate per 1,000 population Number Rate per 1,000 population January 334,000 13.5 236,000 9.5 February 317,000 13.7 203,000 8.8 March 347,000 14.0 212,000 8.5 April 334,000 13.9 197,000 8.2 May 339,000 13.6 195,000 7.9 June 346,000 14.4 187,000 7.8 July 360,000 14.5 191,000 7.7 August 357,000 14.3 189,000 7.6 September 357,000 14.8 185,000 7.7 October 350,000 14.0 195,000 7.8 November 337,000 13.9 192,000 7.9 December 345,000 13.8 211,000 8.4 SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005). “Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2004.” National Vital Statistics Reports 53(21): Table B. Originally published June 28; updated October 18. [marshals] are to insert in their returns all the persons belonging to the family on [Census Day], even those who may be deceased at the time when they take the account; and, on the other hand, that they will not include in it, infants born after that day. This, though not prescribed in express terms by the act, is the undoubted intention of the legislature, as manifested by the clause, providing that every person shall be recorded as of the family in which he or she shall reside on [Census Day]. By 1940, instructions strove to be more specific—enumerators were to count people living as of 12:01 a.m. on Census Day. Babies born after 12:01 a.m. should not be counted, but people dying after 12:01 a.m. should. This instruction was repeated in 1960 (1950 had a simpler “count people living on Census Day” instruction). The 1970–1990 censuses did not explicitly give directions, but the Bureau’s implied suggestion was to count anyone alive at any time on Census Day. The three phenomena described thus far in this section—moves, births, and deaths around Census Day—can create complications for enumeration and household rostering based on the timing of the interviews. In particular, the more time passes between the administration of the census questionnaire and follow-up operations (e.g., enumerator contact in the case of large households with more than seven members or the postenumeration survey used for coverage evaluation), the more such changes may create problems in match-

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census ing. In Section 6–F, we discuss a particular flaw in current census operations where moves, births, and deaths may cause problems. The flaw is the designation of April 1 as Census Day at the same time that the letter accompanying the census forms (and other publicity) encourages respondents to complete and return the questionnaire before April 1. 4–D.3 Babies and Young Children The accuracy with which the census counts children, and infants in particular, has been a point of concern for at least a century. Early census ledgers requested that enumerators list infants’ ages as fractions of a year, so that a 3-month-old would be listed as 3/12 and an 18-month-old as 16/12.21 However, the 1850 census volume (DeBow, 1853:iv) chided that, “in regard to ages the assistant marshals are often remiss with infants. They omit fractions, and show all to be of one year of age, instead of noting the parts of the year, etc. On this account some counties include no births within the year.” Young (1901:254) summarizes findings from the 1880 and 1890 censuses, in which “apparent deficiencies in census reports of children [were] caused by omissions in the enumeration and by overstatement of age.” The latter was judged to be “by far the more important”’ infants under 1 year old might be seem to be undercounted because parents might report them as being 1 year old, a practice that may have been encouraged by the 1890 census schedule’s use of “age at nearest birthday” rather than “age at last birthday” as the question heading. The 1940 and 1950 censuses tried to increase attention to this long-standing problem by requiring the completion of a separate infant card for “each child born during the 4 months from 12:01 a.m. December 1, 1939, to 12:01 a.m., April 1, 1940” (e.g., infants of less than 4 months). More recently, West and Robinson (1999) analyzed 1990 census data, including results from independent demographic analysis estimates of the population, to confirm the undercount of children. They found that the undercount of children ages 0–17 was particularly concentrated among American Indian, Hispanic, and black households, and among households where the property is rented rather than owned. West and Robinson (1999) argue that residence rule problems “may disproportionately affect children” because they are central to several household and living situations that make accurate rostering difficult. We have already discussed several of these situations—children living at boarding schools or colleges for part of the year, and children in foster care settings—in Chapter 3, and issues surrounding children in joint custody arrangements and 21 The 1860, 1880, and 1890 enumerator instructions directed that fractions only be used for children under 1 year of age and that children under 1 month be reported as 0/12. The 1900 and 1910 instructions directed that fractions be used for “child[ren] not 2 years old,” while the 1920 and 1930 census asked for fractional ages up until children “not 5 years old.”

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census cohabiting-couple households in this chapter. Generally, children may be raised in households that do not include either of their biological parents for a variety of reasons. Children may be raised in households maintained by their grandparents; West and Robinson (1999) cite research suggesting that as many as 2 million children lived in grandparent households in 1990. Depending on circumstances—such as the loss of parents or removal by incarceration— children may also be raised by other relatives or by family friends. To the extent that such arrangements are not “formalized”—e.g., the grandparents do not actually take legal custody of the children—it is possible that some respondents to a census or other questionnaire asking them to roster their households might not think it proper to include the children. Census coverage errors among children may arise from respondent misunderstanding of (or resistance to) stated census residence rules, but there is reason to suspect that a more basic, structural feature of the census questionnaire itself plays some part. In 2000, the census questionnaire allowed for detailed entry of data for six people, with space to list only the names of six additional people. These large households were intended to be automatic cases for the coverage edit follow-up operation, but if the household could not be contacted during follow-up, the exact nature of persons 7–12 in the household—and certainly any information in households with 13 or more— would be unknown. The reason that this structural feature may affect the counting of children is that listing people in descending age order may be a natural approach for the adult responding to the census form. Indeed, this type of ordering was explicitly instructed during the enumerator-contact era from 1850 through 1960.22 Likewise, a respondent may intuitively reverse-sort people in the roster by the degree to which they “belong” in the household; in cases where extended families and multiple generations live in the same structure, children of kin may simply fall lower in the respondent’s mental ordering of people in the household. Hence, they may fall in the section where only names are recorded, or not at all if no space is left. Using 1998 data from the Current Population Survey, O’Hare (1999:8) suggested that 5.6 million children lived in households of seven or more people; to the extent that age ordering is used in answering the census form, these children would be at risk of being missed in the census. 4–E AMBIGUITY DUE TO HOUSING STOCK ISSUES The “Be Counted” program of the 2000 census placed blank questionnaires in public places so that people who believed that they had not been 22 Per the 1850 enumerator instructions, “the names are to be written, beginning with the father and mother [or other adult head of family]; to be followed, as far as practicable, with the name of the oldest child residing at home, then the next oldest, and so on to the youngest, then the other inmates, lodgers and borders, laborers, domestics, and servants.”

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census reached by the census could return a questionnaire; the program expanded on the similar “Were You Counted?” program of the 1960–1990 censuses.23 These programs resulted in the addition of thousands of people to the census—71,000 in 1980 (from 62,000 returned forms) and 260,000 in 1990 (on 352,800 forms). For the 2000 census, the Census Bureau printed over 16 million “Be Counted” forms, about 74 percent in English and the remainder in five different languages; 804,939 were returned, eventually resulting in the addition of 560,880 people (Carter, 2002:iii, 1).24 Though the raw counts of persons added to the census by these self-report programs is small relative to the population as a whole, the programs are important because they are the exception to an otherwise strict rule: the only way in which any information—good or bad—can be obtained from respondents is if they are reached by a census questionnaire, delivered in the mail or by an enumerator. In a mail- and address-based census, this can only happen if the housing stock occupied by people is known and reachable; this is not always the case. As America’s urban centers grew in size, and a larger share of the populace lived in cities rather than in rural areas, census officials became aware of an increasing variety of places and shelters where people and families settled. The Census Bureau’s official definition of what constitutes a “housing unit” has shifted with time, as shown in Table 4-6, as has guidance on hard-to-determine housing locations. Enumerator instructions for the 1860 census warned that “very many persons, especially in cities, have no other place of abode than stores, shops, etc.”—that is, “places which are not primarily intended for habitation.” Upon contact by the enumerator, “such buildings will be reckoned as dwelling houses within the intention of the census law” and persons who actually live in them were to be counted there.25 Officials of the 1880 census considered an even broader array of unusual housing types: By individuals living out of families is meant all persons occupying lofts in public buildings, above stores, warehouses, factories, and stables, having no other usual place of abode; persons living solitary in cabins, huts, or tents; persons sleeping on river boats, canal boats, barges, etc., having no other usual place of abode, and persons in police stations having no homes. Of the classes just mentioned, the most important, numerically, is the first, viz.: those persons, chiefly in cities, who occupy rooms in 23 In addition to circulating forms to mayors’ offices, the 1970 census took the step of having the “Were You Counted?” form printed in several large newspapers; “the reader was urged to fill in this form and send it to the census district office if he believed that he or members of his household had been missed in the enumeration” (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1970:5-32). 24 Carter (2002:28) concludes that about 15,410 of the returned “Be Counted” forms “were determined to be persons with no usual residence.” 25 However, watchmen or other staff who sometimes “sleep in such store or shop merely for purposes of security” but maintain a home elsewhere in the city were to be counted with their families.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census Table 4-6 Criteria for Distinguishing Separate Units in Multi-Unit Dwellings, 1850–2000 Census Housing Unit Criteria 1850 Living together in a house, or part of a house, upon one common means of support and separately from others in similar circumstances 1860 Living together in a house, or part of a house, upon one common means of support and separately from others in similar circumstances; institutions may be broken into multiple units if there are several tenements or distinct households 1870 Living together under one roof and provided for at a common table 1880–1890 Common roof and table; in “tenement houses and the so-called ‘flats’ of the great cities,” households distinguished by separate tables 1900 “Best test” is number of separate tables; each unit “usually, though not always, has its own meals” 1910–1930 Separate portions of the dwellings house and housekeeping entirely separate 1940 Separate portion of house and separate cooking or housekeeping facilities 1950 Room with separate cooking equipment or two or more rooms with direct access to a common hallway 1960 Live and eat separately from others and direct access to a common hall or cooking equipment 1970 Live and eat separately from others and direct access to a common hall or complete kitchen facilities (the rules were not strictly enforced) 1980 Live and eat separately from others and direct access to common hall (the rules were not strictly enforced) 1990 Live and eat separately from others and direct access to common hall 2000 Live separately from others and direct access to common hall SOURCE: Ruggles and Brower (2003:Table 2); Ruggles (2003:Note 2). public buildings, or above stores, warehouses, factories and stables. In order to reach such persons, the enumerator will need not only to keep his eyes open to all indications of such casual residence in his enumeration district, but to make inquiry both of the parties occupying the business portion of such buildings and also of the police. The 1880 administrators announced that they would issue letters “to the mayor[s] of every large city of the United States, requesting the cooperation of the police, so far as it may be necessary to prevent the omission of the classes of persons herein indicated.” The 1890 enumerator instructions used similar language, though no letters to mayors or police were offered; however, new residence patterns—“tenement houses and the so-called ‘flats’ of the great cities”—were added to the roster of special cases.26 26 Interpreting eating as a key sign of usual residence, the 1890 instructions directed that “as many families are to be recorded” in these places “as there are separate tables.”

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census As Ericksen (2000:207) summarizes, “whole-household omissions” are easy to understand conceptually; they occur when an entire housing unit is left off the Master Address File and, hence, does not receive a questionnaire. However: Some housing units are missed because no one finds the building. Others are missed because they are located in structures that appear to contain only one residence but actually contain several. For instance, a three-story house, originally built for one family, is converted into apartments. From the outside, the census-taker sees only one door and one mailbox, and he or she does not search for nor find the extra housing units to update the mailing list. …Housing units for the very poor can be be hard to find. Old apartment buildings, often located in high-crime areas, may not have separate mailboxes or identifiable numbers for the individual apartments. Many very poor people, frequently undocumented aliens, live in places like garages and tents located in the backyards of friends or relatives. Their addresses are not listed and they are not counted. In the balance of this chapter we briefly consider two special cases where the nature of housing stock precludes an easy determination of residence. 4–E.1 Hotels and Motels The earliest census enumerator instructions recognized the need to account for the population found in inns and other public houses. Through the 19th century, public houses and hotels tended to be places where people spent relatively long stretches of time; the concept of the hotel as a primarily short-term and transient residential location is a more modern one, particularly spurred on by the emergence of motor lodges or motels in the mid-20th century. The enumerator instructions for the 1900 census were the first to acknowledge the temporary, “transient guests of a hotel”; these “are not to be enumerated as of the hotel, unless they are likely otherwise to be omitted from the enumeration.” Instead, only boarders or employees “who regularly sleep” at the hotel (including the owner) were to be counted at the hotel. The 1930 enumerator instructions acknowledged the basic problem of hotel housing stock: “the distinction between an apartment house and an apartment hotel, and in turn between an apartment hotel and a hotel devoted mainly to transients, will often be difficult to establish.” Having laid out the basic challenge, though, the instructions prescribed a rather confusing rule: All of the persons returned from a hotel should likewise be counted as a single “family,” except that where a family of two or more members (as a husband and wife, or a mother and daughter) occupies permanent quarters in a hotel (or an apartment hotel), it should be returned separately, leaving the “hotel family” made up principally of individuals having no other family relations.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census The 1960 census—the last “traditional” personal-visit census—included hotels as one of the “special places” to be addressed by special enumeration techniques. Under the definition of “housing unit” established for that census (see Table 4-6), persons residing in an apartment hotel would be counted as separate units, so long as they have access to a common hallway (Ruggles and Brower, 2003:80). Since that time, the exact manner in which hotels and motels have been included in (or excluded from) the census is uncertain. Among the most recent censuses, the 1980 census was the only one to attempt direct contact with temporary hotel guests; guests “on the night of March 31, 1980, were requested to fill out a census form for assignment of their census information back to their homes if they indicated that no one was at home to report them in the census” (Bureau of the Census, 1982:C-1). Instead, the 1990 and 2000 censuses left hotels and motels as an ambiguous case—not explicitly covered in the household population, not directly considered part of the group quarters population, and only partly included in the shelter-based population. In 1990, the Bureau did include occupied hotel and motel rooms in its definition of “housing unit,” when occupied by permanent residents: that is, persons who consider the hotel as their usual place of residence and have no usual place of residence elsewhere. In addition, some hotels and motels were counted as part of the “emergency shelters for homeless persons” category to be counted in the S-Night operation, specifically, those charging less than $12 a night and those used entirely or dedicated in part to homeless people).27 The 2000 census included no attempt to count persons living in hotels or motels, and no mention of hotels is made in the 31 residence rules for the 2000 census. Several challenges are posed by hotels and motels for definition of residence: Proliferation of extended-stay hotels: Over the past two decades, extended-stay suite hotels have become a larger share of the hotel market. They have become options for people whose employment sends them to another site for weeks or months, and the hotel-type arrangement may be more attractive and less burdensome than solutions like short-term or month-to-month apartment leases. Poor fit with either household or group quarters listing, and with household or group quarters enumeration procedures: Hotel rooms are a gray area in 27 These single room occupancy (SRO) hotels, also described as “flophouses,” tend to “offer individual, sparsely furnished rooms, with limited cooking facilities and communal bathrooms”; they “have traditionally offered housing to the poor elderly, the low-income single working population, the mentally handicapped, and alcohol and narcotic addicts” (Rollinson, 1990:47). Though the overall stock of SRO housing in the United States is believed to be declining, sizable pockets remain in some large cities; a canvass of such facilities in San Francisco found over 450 families and 760 children living in SROs (Citywide Families in SROs Collaborative, 2001).

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census terms of potential coverage on Census Bureau address lists. Given that some hotel rooms (particularly extended-stay options) can effectively serve as short- to long-term leased apartments, an argument could be made for their inclusion as potential housing units. That said, hotel stays are much more often short term in nature. Given the highly transitory nature of most of the hotel population, and that the U.S. census remains a de jure rather than de facto count, it could likewise be argued that special, broadly aimed efforts at enumerating the hotel population would be wasteful. Embedded and associated housing units: As hinted in the 1900 enumerator instructions, hotels and motels can be deceptive in that actual full-time living situations may be overshadowed by the short-term transitory nature of guest stays. For instance, even the smallest motels may have owners or managers who live on-site; they should rightly be counted in the household population, but they may be missed entirely, depending on the quality of address updating systems. Likewise, it is certainly not unprecedented for hotels to become a full-time living arrangement (e.g., family members of owner/managers or conversion of hotels—in part or in full—to apartments or condominiums).28 4–E.2 People Dislocated by Disasters The destruction caused by natural disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires—can disrupt the lives of thousands of people, forcing them to find shelter or alternate housing for weeks or months following the disaster. The decennial census has had to deal with the short-term dislocation impacts caused by major disasters: Hurricane Floyd (North Carolina, August 1999) in the 2000 census, the Loma Prieta earthquake (San Francisco Bay area, October 1989) in the 1990 census, and Hurricane Camille (Gulf Coast, August 1969) in the 1970 census among them. But the impact of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005—causing not only massive damage but the effective depopulation of New Orleans—has raised particular concern over major conceptual and logistical challenges, for the definition of residence and for basic data collection, that must be addressed by the decennial census (and the entire federal statistical system). This set of challenges is also set against the backdrop of the terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, and the realization that major dislocation effects may arise from human-caused as well as natural disasters. The 2000 census residence rules included no specific provision for counting people displaced by disasters. Under a general heading of “people away 28 A recent high-profile example is the landmark Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The hotel closed in April 2005 for conversion for mixed use; a smaller hotel component will still operate, with 150 rooms, but 200 condominium units will be carved out for occupancy.

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census from their usual residence on Census Day,” technical documentation for 2000 census data indicates that, “in some areas, natural disasters…displaced households from their usual place of residence. If these people reported a destroyed or damaged residence as their usual residence, they were counted at that location” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001:C-3). How exactly this count was to be implemented was not made clear: The closest analogue to the short-term facilities where disaster evacuees might be housed is the “emergency shelter” of rule 24 of the 2000 census residence rules—one for which reporting of a usual home elsewhere is disallowed. The documentation suggests that the mechanism for counting people away from their usual residence was “by means of interviews with other members of their families, resident managers, or neighbors” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001:C-3). However, the standard 2000 census questionnaire included no provision for reporting other address information for household members, and the instructions on the form direct respondents to include “people staying here on [Census Day] who have no other permanent place to stay” at this household (seemingly including disaster evacuees temporarily staying with family members). Reliance on neighbor reports in cases where whole neighborhoods are destroyed or displaced is also problematic. Conceptually, the case of people dislocated by disasters raises the fundamental question of how much weight should be placed on intent in determining usual residence—in this case, on the intent to return to buildings that no longer exist or to housing units that are uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. In Chapter 2, we discussed various conflicting legal and social standards that underlie the meaning of residence. Displaced people face a particularly difficult set of tradeoffs because they must create some ties to their new community that otherwise could be considered evidence of permanent change— such as renting or leasing housing and enrolling children in local schools. At the same time, they are obliged to maintain ties to the disaster area—seeking federal disaster benefits and insurance settlements and paying taxes and land use fees. The Katrina example is particularly telling as the 2006 election season nears; Louisiana election officials plan to permit hurricane evacuees to vote and to allow votes specific to New Orleans offices and issues to be cast at multiple stations around the state. Proposed federal legislation would extend absentee voting to Katrina evacuees in both 2006 and 2008, on the same basis as military personnel stationed abroad, and would further require all states to publicize and promote this absentee voting.29 29 The legislation, the Displaced Voter Protection Act of 2005, would require displaced per

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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census Logistically, people displaced by disasters raises yet another set of basic questions. Through partnership with federal authorities and private charities, can displaced people be contacted—either in the census, if the disaster occurs close to Census Day, or in ongoing collections like the ACS or CPS? Barring that, can an up-to-date inventory of the destroyed (and rebuilding) housing stock be maintained, and the population in temporary shelters be accurately logged and followed up as they move to more permanent homes? sons to “submit an affidavit stating that the individual intends to return to the place of residence where the individual is otherwise qualified to vote.” The act was introduced separately in the House and Senate as H.R. 3734 and S. 1867, respectively, and has also been incorporated into an omnibus relief bill, H.R. 4197. As of May 2006, all of the bills had not advanced beyond committee consideration (the omnibus H.R. 4197 having been referred to 9 separate committees).

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