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Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census
idence rules and residence-related concepts in the decennial census context. We discuss the form of the residence rules used in the 2000 census and the basic difficulties faced by both census respondents and the Census Bureau itself in defining residence.
Part II describes numerous living situations for which specifying a “usual residence” is not straightforward. Chapter 3 begins by describing major segments of what the Census Bureau has traditionally termed the “group quarters” population. These groups—students in dormitories, health care patients, and prisoners, along with parts of the military population—are major potential sources of census error. Chapter 4 focuses on general living situations and social and demographic trends that make specification of a single residence extremely difficult. The chapter also includes discussion of some population groups that may be missed, or not well handled, by current census procedures. Chapter 5 draws some basic conclusions and directions for specific research from the overview in the preceding two chapters.
The panel’s core findings and recommendations are detailed in a sequence of chapters contained in Part III. Chapter 6 argues for a reconceptualization of residence rules as they have been used in the past, suggesting instead the development of a core set of residence principles. We discuss the nature of the census questionnaire itself in light of this approach and recommend that the Bureau move toward a question-based (rather than instruction-based) method of collecting residence information. Chapter 7 recommends improvements in group quarters and nonhousehold enumeration and Chapter 8 suggests guidance on other residence-related census operations. In addition, Chapter 8 discusses the Census Bureau’s research and testing program, directed in part at specific concepts that should be tested as part of the 2010 census, but also focused on a broader research agenda to improve the collection of basic census data in the future.
The Census Bureau’s residence rules for the 2000 census are reproduced in Appendix A. The residence concepts and questionnaire structures used in selected foreign censuses are outlined in Appendix B. Finally, though our charge precludes consideration of whether American citizens living overseas should or should not be included in the census, that population—including military and federal government personnel stationed overseas—has been at the core of several residence rules revisions; Appendix C explores that history.