the periodic Surveys of Inmates in Federal and State Correctional Facilities and Local Jails, sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics).
The question is whether users require continuous collection of detailed long-form-type information for GQ residents for counties, cities, and smaller areas and whether their requirements are sufficiently pressing to justify the high cost of obtaining high-quality responses in the ACS. Indeed, for the institutional population, one can question the relevance of much long-form-type information. For example, what does it mean to ask a prisoner about his or her income, and how useful are the responses? Most residents of nursing homes and long-term-care hospitals likely have income from such sources as Social Security or retirement or disability benefits, but it is not clear how they or their proxies may report other income sources, such as support from family members. In fact, in 2000, fully 78 and 77 percent of prisoners and nursing home residents, respectively, had all of their income imputed because they did not answer any of the income questions. In comparison, 25 percent of household residents had all of their income imputed (National Research Council, 2004b:Tables 7-5, H-8).
The panel thinks that the Census Bureau should give serious consideration to whether long-form-sample-type data from the continuous ACS for the institutional population—and perhaps other types of GQs—is needed to an extent that justifies the costs. Dialogue with the user community could identify items that are important to collect every year on a comparable basis and items that are not needed or for which data are not likely to be of sufficient quality to be useful. Discussion with users could also determine whether it is necessary to collect any data at all for residents of some or all types of GQ. A decision to alter the universe for the ACS by excluding some or all GQ residents would require the use of an appropriate set of population estimates to use as controls for the ACS estimates. For example, household population estimates are used in the 2005 ACS estimates, and noninstitutionalized population estimates are used in other household surveys. The quality of these estimates for estimation areas (counties and groups of small counties) would need to be carefully evaluated (see Section 5-D). A decision to alter the universe for the ACS would also have implications for ACS tabulations and other data products (see Section 4-D.4 below).
Recommendation 4-7: The Census Bureau should discuss with data users their requirements for detailed information from the ACS for residents of institutions and other types of GQs, particularly at the local level. The discussions should assess benefits against costs, and the results should be used to determine any changes to the GQ com-