(spreadsheet) form if that is more convenient for them.5 The specific implementation of the CJRP instrument is not necessarily something we endorse—indeed, the list of “include” and “exclude” instructions on the instrument is particularly elaborate and potentially confusing, but the general approach of tailoring the collection method to the anticipated means by which facilities can respond is a useful one.
Because administrative and facility records have been, and will almost certainly continue to be, a major source of data on the nonhousehold population, it is imperative that the Census Bureau undertake a continuing research effort to assess the accessibility of facility records at group quarters facilities and to determine whether the existing data systems meet census data collection needs.
In a sense, what we envision is analogous to the development of the Census Bureau’s MAF. Following the 1990 census, the Bureau elected to take the 1990 address list as a base and to continue to update and edit it over subsequent years, rather than follow past practice and rebuild the list from scratch 10 years later. The 1990 and 2000 censuses relied on pre-census facility visit operations to establish contact with group quarters sites and generate preliminary population estimates for workload planning purposes. The research effort we envision would maintain facility listings as a continuous resource, much like the MAF. Through queries to the facilities, it should be determined whether the facility’s records can provide the data of interest—the short-form census items like name and race, plus whether alternate address information (ARE) is known for each person in the facility and whether stays can be characterized as short or long term.
The second caveat to our general preference for direct enumeration whenever possible is that too much homogeneity in the style and substance of the questionnaire used for the nonhousehold population may be harmful. For instance, soldiers and sailors have a different vocabulary related to the nature of their residence and their length of stay at a location than do college students, who in turn probably respond differently to questions and probes than people incarcerated in a county jail. In 2000, the Military and Shipboard Census Reports used to collect information from soldiers and sailors differed slightly (with terminological differences) from the ICRs used for the rest of the nonhousehold population. Though it is inadvisable to push this guidance to extremes and try to develop a form for every population type—just as it is self-defeating to attempt to delineate a specific residence rule for ev-
The questionnaire is available at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/cjrp/asp/methods.asp [6/1/06].