For 2000, components of the former S-Night program were reformed into a new multistage operation termed service-based enumeration (SBE); see Box 4-4. Various components were covered through large deployment of enumerators on different nights around Census Day—shelters first, then soup kitchens and selected outdoor locations identified by local officials and community groups. Rule 17 of the 2000 census residence rules—consistent with 1990 practice—directed that people “at a soup kitchen or outreach program (e.g., mobile food van)” be permitted to indicate a usual home elsewhere. If no such home could be specified for a person, they were to be counted at the facility as if they reside there—even if the facility offers no beds or, by definition, people are legally barred from actually lodging in the facility (as is true for soup kitchens). The Bureau also mounted a T-Night operation on March 31, 2000, interviewing people at migrant work camps, campgrounds, fairs and carnivals, and marinas; people counted at these locations were permitted to report a usual home elsewhere.
Throughout history, Americans have never been known for their propensity to stay put in one place for a long time. Rather, the nation is one that is constantly on the move; as of the mid-1990s, it was estimated that 17 percent of the population move their residence at least once a year (Hunter et al., 2003:1). People move for many reasons, including the loss of a job or a transfer within the same company, the formation or dissolution of marriages or partnerships, or simply the search for new opportunities and new settings.
Conceptual problems—for both the person answering the questionnaire and for the Census Bureau in processing the results—arise for people who move residences on or around Census Day. This includes people reached at a current address for whom a move is imminent, people who have just moved to a new location, and people who are in the midst of a move (perhaps temporarily staying in a hotel or with friends or family). The major conceptual question posed by movers is whether a “usual residence” can be defined prospectively (as the place where the person expects to spend most of the time) or must be defined retrospectively. The 2000 census marketing campaign emphasized the impact of census data on the placement of such services as fire stations and health care facilities; to the extent that these themes resonate with the public, census respondents may be more inclined to think of themselves as counting at the new location even if they have not yet actually lived there.