The mechanics of censustaking have changed greatly since marshals were first sent out on horseback in 1790; as times have changed, the “usual residence” concept has endured even though its exact interpretation has shifted. The most recent paradigm shift in defining residence in the census came with the adoption of mail-based enumeration for most of the census population in 1970; that shift included drawing a linkage between census residence and a specific mailing address. Looking ahead, over the long term, the Census Bureau research program needs to consider broader shifts that lie ahead—the impact of the Internet and e-mail and the diminished importance of traditional mailing addresses (and paper mail) in people’s lives, more transitory living arrangements, and the changing need for census data as private and public databases grow in completeness.



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