complete long-form data for group quarters residents in the census has been difficult in the past, and it remains to be seen how successful a long-form-only collection will be for group quarters facilities.


Our predecessor panels on the 2000 census and the 2010 census plan (National Research Council, 2004c:152–155; 2004b:150–152) reviewed the many implementation problems that plagued group quarters data collection in the 2000 census. In this section, we draw from and expand on their analyses in our own account of the group quarters process in 2000 (see also Jonas, 2003; Abramson, 2003).

Failure to Reconcile Group Quarters Roster with MAF The Census Bureau’s inventory of group quarters was developed independently from the Master Address File (MAF). The two were developed by separate internal divisions of the Bureau, and were not cross-checked with each other prior to November 1999. An adjunct of the Local Update of Census Addresses Program was instituted to allow local and tribal governments to review group quarters listings, but the effectiveness of that program was severely compromised by an 18-month-late start. Since the program began just 4 months prior to Census Day, participation was low given competing demands on local resources for census outreach and other activities. The failure to adequately reconcile the group quarters roster with the MAF and with local authorities hurt the Bureau’s ability to use an accurate, nonoverlapping, and comprehensive address list as the base of the 2000 census.

Poor Handling of Geographic Location The group quarters roster was also not well reconciled with the Census Bureau’s Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing geographic database. For unknown reasons, a number of group quarters—including very long-established prisons and college dormitories—were given inaccurate geographic location codes. These inexplicable errors led to sizable local shifts in population, as group quarters facilities were inadvertently assigned to neighboring cities and counties. These group quarters discrepancies account for a large fraction of the population counts that local jurisdictions challenged in the Census Bureau’s Count Question Resolution Program.1

Of these discrepancies, the highest-profile case arose when the Census Bureau acknowledged that 2,696 students at the University of North Car-


Though the Count Question Resolution Program could result in the Census Bureau issuing an errata statement and a certificate of revised population, a condition of the program was that the revised counts could not be used for apportionment or redistricting.

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