rather than census correction.1 As a result of this change, rather than focus on the measurement of net census coverage error for demographic and geographic subsets of the U.S. population, the coverage measurement program in 2010 will focus on measurement of the rates of the components of census coverage error for subsets of the population defined not only geographically and demographically, but also by the census processes used. The hope is to use this information to help identify census processes that are associated with a high rate of coverage error and then identify alternative processes to reduce the rates. This feedback loop will then help to facilitate census process improvement for subsequent censuses. Of course, an important secondary goal of the coverage measurement program still remains, which is to inform census data users about the net coverage error for large geographic areas and demographic groups. The shift in the principal objective of the coverage measurement program from that adopted in 2000 (and in 1990) stems from both the specific circumstances surrounding the 2000 census and broader dynamics. With respect to the 2000 census, a decision by the Supreme Court in 1999 precluded the use of census adjustment for purposes of apportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives if it is based on data from a sample survey (as it would almost certainly be). Furthermore, the time needed to carry out and review coverage measurement also very likely precludes the use of adjusted counts as input into redrawing the boundaries of the districts for the U.S. House of Representatives (unless the dates for the census, April 1, or for redistricting, April 1 of the following year, are changed).

Also, the problem of census omissions has become a problem of erroneous enumerations (overcounts) and census omissions: Prior to 1990 the main coverage problem was census omissions, but at the national level in 2000 the number of erroneous enumerations was roughly the same as the number of census omissions.2

The new problem of both census omissions and erroneous enumerations has arisen partly because of the effort to reduce the main problem of census omissions that dominated prior to 2000. In response to the challenge of reducing census omissions, between 1960 and 2000 the Census Bureau added a number of alternative ways in which households could be included on the Master Address File (including the Local Update of Census Addresses Program), and in which individuals could be enumerated in the census (including the Be Counted Program). These additional ways for households and individuals to be included in the census certainly


Actually, this is in a sense a return to the pre-1990 goal of coverage measurement.


While this balancing did not obtain for every demographic or geographic subgroup, it is also true that the differential nature of net coverage error was reduced from that of previous censuses. (For information on adjusted counts in 2000, see Schindler, 2006.)

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