A short-form only census. The Census Bureau has now fielded the American Community Survey (ACS), which is a continuous version of the decennial census long form. Therefore, under current plans there will be no long form in the 2010 census. This reduces respondent burden and will facilitate several aspects of data collection in the census, including data capture, data editing and imputation for nonresponse, the work of follow-up enumerators, and the management of foreign language forms and foreign language assistance. As a result, this change is likely to improve data quality.
Use of handheld computing devices for nonresponse follow-up. The enumerators that follow up nonrespondent households will now use a handheld computing device to (1) administer the census questionnaire (computer-assisted personal interviewing), (2) edit the responses in real time, (3) collect, save, and transmit the data to census processing centers, (4) help locate residences through the use of computer-generated maps (and possibly geographic coordinates), and (5) possibly help organize enumerator routes.
Improved MAF/TIGER system. The Master Address File (MAF) has been identified as being deficient. For example, see National Research Council (2004b: Finding 4.4). There are currently efforts to improve, for 2010, both the Census Bureau’s MAF and its geographic database, the TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) system. The MAF provides a list of household addresses, and TIGER is used to associate each address on the MAF with a physical location. The MAF/TIGER Enhancement Program includes (1) the realignment of every street and boundary in the TIGER database; (2) development of a new MAF/TIGER processing environment and the integration of the two previously separate resources into a common technical platform; (3) expansion of geographic partnership programs with state, local and tribal governments, other federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service, and the private sector; (4) implementation of a program to use ACS enumerators to generate address updates, primarily in rural areas; and (5) use of periodic evaluation activities to provide quality metrics to guide corrective actions (Hawley, 2004). One motivation for this initiative was the recognition by the Census Bureau that many census errors and inefficiencies in 2000 resulted from errors in the Master Address File and in the information on the physical location of addresses.
Coverage follow-up interview. The Census Bureau is greatly expanding the percentage of housing units that will be administered a coverage follow-up (CFU) interview in 2010, in comparison to those in 2000 who were administered either the Coverage Edit Follow-up (CEFU) or the Coverage Improvement Follow-up (CIFU) interviews. CEFU was used to determine the correct count and characteristics for people in households with more than six residents (since the census form had space for information for only six persons), and the correct count for households with count discrepancies (e.g., differences between the number of separate people listed on the questionnaire and the indicated total number of residents). CIFU was used to determine whether addresses that were initially judged as being vacant were in fact vacant. The expansion of CFU over CEFU and CIFU was motivated by the recognition, partially provided by A.C.E., that confusion with residence rules made an important contribution to census coverage