Analyze Census Bureau data and facilitate cross-divisional ties: In addition to planning evaluations and analyzing experiments connected to the decennial census, the office would analyze data collected from topic modules on the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey (discussed below in Section 5–B.3). This research office should also tap the field experiences and operational data from surveys conducted by the Bureau on behalf of other agencies, several of which are noted in the previous two chapters: these include the National Nursing Home Surveys, the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.
Design new experiments: Based on perceived gaps in knowledge, the office could design new surveys and experiments of the type we describe further in Chapter 8. Over time, the experience of this office in spurring new research would lay a solid foundation for improving census processes on the basis of sound scientific evaluations.
Build and strengthen ties to external research: An important function of the office would be to monitor and cull from the work of the broader research community. External researchers have developed a number of data sources that focus on living arrangements and difficulties in counting people with ties to one or more places: these include the National Survey of Families and Households (Sweet et al., 1988; Sweet and Bumpass, 1996, 2002), the New Immigrant Survey, the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study, and the site-specific surveys of snow-bird and sunbird populations (discussed in Section 4–A.1). Synthesizing the results of researchers’ analyses of these data sources would be an important function of the trends office; more significantly, the office should study and learn from the approaches used in these studies to reach targeted populations and collect data from them. This work could suggest improvements that could be used to improve the accuracy of the census. We revisit the need for Census Bureau ties to external research in Chapter 8.
In this closing section, we suggest selected topics that are particularly ripe for basic research, several of which could be done using extant data resources internal to the Census Bureau. This is a selected list, and should not be interpreted as either a comprehensive list or as a specification of the highest priority research topics.
First, existing 2000 census data should be able to help address remaining questions on the characteristics and reporting patterns of large households, those with seven or more members; the 2000 and other recent censuses only