the use of ACS field interviewers to investigate address problems, and the use of address information from the Census Bureau’s e-StARS database of linked administrative records.

Recommendation 4-3: The Census Bureau should support a continuing research program on the quality of the MAF and the cost-effectiveness of the various operations that are designed to update the MAF. This program should include periodic field checks on MAF addresses, comparisons with housing unit estimates for specific areas, comparisons with the e-StARS database, and comparisons with the results of the 2009 complete block canvass that will be used to prepare the 2010 census MAF. The program should also include studies of methods to improve the listing of small multiunit addresses in urban areas, characteristics of duplicate housing units, and characteristics of undeliverable mail addresses. In addition, the program should examine the effectiveness of the CAUS and explore ways to improve its performance.

The e-StARS database referenced in recommendations 4-2 and 4-3 is the Census Bureau’s electronic Statistical Administrative Records System (StARS). This database consists of addresses and other linked information for households and people from a number of federal and state administrative records, including Social Security, unemployment compensation, Medicare, and others. Addresses are geocoded to small geographic areas. The Census Bureau is using the e-StARS database for wide-ranging research on such topics as ways in which administrative records could improve census operations (Resnick and Obenski, 2006). The Bureau is also experimenting with the use of e-StARS to reduce the variance of ACS estimates for subcounty areas (Fay, 2006; see Section 6-B).

Sample Design Concerns

The ACS sample design is complex and differs from the point-in-time design of the decennial census long-form sample. The panel is concerned that users understand the differences, including the role of housing and population controls. The panel is also concerned about the consequences of smaller sample sizes (compared with the long-form sample) and variable sampling rates (including CAPI subsampling) for the sampling errors of ACS estimates.

Long-Form and ACS Sampling Frames

The 2000 census long-form sample was a systematic sample of housing units from the DMAF, using variable sampling rates to provide more precise

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