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Using the American Community Survey: Benefits and Challenges
Sample Frame (Master Address File)
Recommendation 4-1: Given the centrality of the MAF to the ACS, the Census Bureau should ensure that adequate resources are provided to maintain the highest possible completeness and accuracy of MAF address information on a continuous basis.
Recommendation 4-2: The Census Bureau should plan now for programs to follow the 2010 census to ensure that the MAF is updated on a continuous basis more completely than is being done prior to 2010. These programs should include not only the current updates from the Delivery Sequence File and the Community Address Updating System, but also such initiatives as continuing local review, 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 Community Address Updating System and explore ways to improve its performance.
Data Collection for Housing Units
Recommendation 4-5: The Census Bureau should conduct experimental research on the effects of the different data collection modes used in the ACS—mailout-mailback, computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), and computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI)—on ACS estimates and, when possible, on response errors for questionnaire items. In addition, the Census Bureau should assess how different patterns of responding by mail, CATI, and CAPI among population groups and geographic areas affect comparisons of ACS estimates and inform data users of consequential differences.