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Envisioning the 2020 Census –2– Planning the 2020 Census: Cost and Quality LESSONS AND CONCLUSIONS FROM THE HISTORY of the modern U.S. decennial census—and the role of research and development (R&D) in past decades—are vital to considering directions for effective R&D for the 2020 and subsequent censuses. Our reference to the historical record takes different shapes in the later chapters of this report, with Chapter 3 critiquing the Census Bureau’s current research strategies with an eye on past efforts while Chapter 4 discusses organizational and structural features of the history of Census Bureau operational research. This chapter looks at the historical record—particularly for the post–World War II decennial censuses—with a focus on broader forces. A lesson we learn from our historical review is that two key drivers—the costs of the decennial census and the quality of resulting census information—are the most important areas of concern for a successful census in 2020. Reconciling cost and quality involves trade-offs; the role of an R&D program such as we would like to see for the 2020 census is to provide the high-quality information and evidentiary basis for addressing those trade-offs. The history of the modern decennial census is also the story of a third set of factors—social and technological change—in which the census must operate and that offer both challenges and opportunities for a high-quality, cost-effective census in 2020.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census We begin in Section 2–A with a general historical overview of the census in the post–World War II era to set the necessary context.1 We then turn in subsequent sections to examination of trends in census quality (2–B) and census costs (2–C). We close in Section 2–D with an assessment of how we think those two drivers should affect 2020 census planning in general. 2–A DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN CENSUS 2–A.1 1940 and 1950: Sampling and R&D The basic methodology of the 1940 and 1950 censuses was not dissimilar to that used in previous censuses: temporary Census Bureau employees (enumerators) went door to door, writing down answers provided by household respondents on large sheets of paper, or “schedules.”2 Each schedule had one line per person for 30–40 people on the front and one line per housing unit on the back for the people listed on the front.3 The data were keypunched and tabulated by clerks using technology invented by Herman Hollerith for the 1890 census. Yet underlying the similarities were important innovations that paved the way for today’s census. The 1940 census was the first census to use newly developed probability sampling methods to ask a subset of the population some of the census content (6 of 60-odd questions); it was also the first census not only to include formal evaluations of the quality of the enumeration and of specific content items, but also to be followed by a program of pretests and experiments leading up to the next census (see Chapter 3 for details). This R&D program resulted in improvements to the wording of questions, enumerator instructions, and other features of the 1950 census. The 1950 census included at least four important innovations. First, sampling was used much more extensively for collecting the census content: about two-fifths of the 60-odd questions were asked of samples of the population, which presumably contributed to the reduction in real dollar per housing unit costs in 1950 compared with 1940.4 Second, the first mainframe computer (UNIVAC I) for use outside academic and defense research 1 Our synopsis of census-taking in 1940 through 2010 is based principally on Jenkins (2000) [1940 census]; Goldfield and Pemberton (2000a,b) [1950, 1960 censuses]; National Research Council (1985:Chap. 3, 5) [1970, 1980 censuses]; National Research Council (1995) [1990 census]; National Research Council (2004a) [1990, 2000 censuses]; National Research Council (2004b) [planning for the 2010 census]. 2 Enumerators were first hired in place of U.S. marshals for the 1880 census. 3 The content of the census questionnaire expanded greatly from a few items in the first censuses to dozens of items in censuses of the late 19th century; in 1940, a census of housing was added to the census of population. 4 The 1940 census was an outlier in the first half of the 20th century with regard to costs. It cost substantially more per housing unit than the 1930 census, so that the 1950 census costs reverted to the historical norm (see Section 2–C.1).
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Envisioning the 2020 Census was delivered to the Census Bureau in spring 1951 in time to help process some of the census results. Third, the 1950 census included several experiments with far-reaching effects: tests of a household schedule in place of a line schedule, a housing-based sampling scheme for content instead of a person-based sampling scheme, self-enumeration in place of enumerator reporting, and variation of enumerator assignments in such a way as to be able to measure the error in content due to differences among enumerators. Fourth, the 1950 census included the first postenumeration survey to measure completeness of the census count. 2–A.2 1960: Mailout and the “Long Form” The results of the enumerator variance experiments in the 1950 census, which indicated that the census was no more accurate than a 25 percent sample (Bailar, 2000), galvanized the Census Bureau to proceed with R&D on self-enumeration in place of personal visits as the dominant enumeration method (see Section A–1.b). The 1960 census was the first to use household questionnaires in place of line schedules and the first to use two different questionnaires—a “short form” with basic questions asked of every person and household and a “long form” with questions asked of a sample. (There were several variations of the long form with different sample sizes.) It was also the first census to mail out the questionnaires: shortly before Census Day, U.S. postal carriers dropped off unaddressed short forms to all housing units on their routes; households were instructed to fill out the forms and wait for an enumerator to pick them up and transcribe the responses to a computer-readable form. At every fourth household, the enumerator left one of the long forms to be completed by the household and mailed back to the census district office (in rural areas, enumerators completed the long form at the time of their visit). The long-form response rate was 77 percent; enumerators revisited households that failed to mail back their long form to obtain their answers in person. A Bureau-invented device called FOSDIC (film optical sensing device for input to computers) was used to read microfilm images of the census questionnaires and transmit the data to mainframe computers for editing and tabulation. The effective use of computer technology presumably contributed to the modest reduction in real dollar per housing unit costs in 1960 compared with 1950. 2–A.3 1970–1980: Mailout-Mailback, Computerized Address List, Coverage Improvement, Dual-System Estimation The 1970 census saw the implementation of mailout-mailback technology as we know it today, in which the Census Bureau develops a comput-
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Envisioning the 2020 Census erized address list, coded to census geographic areas (e.g., blocks, tracts, places, counties), uses postal carriers or census enumerators to deliver labeled questionnaires to every address on the list, and uses enumerators to follow up those addresses that do not mail back a questionnaire. The concept behind the development of an address list was to improve coverage and have control over each questionnaire rather than simply leaving it up to postal carriers and enumerators to do a complete job. To ensure that the new procedures would work well, the Census Bureau decided to limit their use to areas of the country containing 60 percent of the population; the remaining areas were enumerated in person.5 The 1980 census expanded mailout-mailback techniques to areas of the country containing 95 percent of the population. The 1980 census also greatly expanded coverage improvement efforts that were begun in 1970. While the completeness of the census count was a concern from the very first 1790 census, understanding of coverage errors in the census and their possible implications for the distribution of power and resources reached fever pitch in the years following the landmark “one-person, one-vote” decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 (Baker v. Carr). The Census Bureau adopted special coverage improvement programs for the 1970 census to obtain greater accuracy in the population counts because of their use for legislative redistricting and federal fund allocation and the belief that new methods were required to improve coverage given fears of being counted among some population groups, overlooked housing units in multiunit structures, and other factors. (By contrast, 1950 and 1960 census planning assumed that undercoverage was largely because enumerators failed to follow instructions—see U.S. Census Bureau, 1974:1.) The 1980 census greatly expanded and added to the coverage improvement programs used in 1970, spending about six times the amount spent in 1970 in real terms on such programs. For example, in 1980 enumerators rechecked units that appeared to be vacant or otherwise not eligible for the census on a 100 percent basis rather than for a small sample of the units as in 1970, and local officials were given the opportunity to review preliminary housing unit counts after nonresponse follow-up (Citro, 2000). Finally, the 1980 census made the first use of dual-system methodology for estimating the net undercount and disparities in coverage for population groups by matching the results of an independent postenumeration survey to the census results in a sample of areas. (In contrast, the 1950 and 1960 postenumeration survey programs simply compared aggregate counts for the census and a postcensus recount by specially trained enumerators of a sam- 5 Title 13 of the U.S. Code was modified in 1964 (P.L. 88-530) to eliminate the requirement that enumerators personally visit each dwelling; this change permitted use of mailout-mailback procedures in the 1970 and subsequent censuses.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census ple of areas—this “do it again, better” method was shown to underestimate the undercount compared with dual-system estimation.) As discussed in Section 2–B, net coverage error declined to an all-time low in 1980 compared with the 1940–1970 censuses, but real dollar per housing unit costs of completing the census almost doubled compared with 1970, whereas the 1970 cost was about the same per housing unit as 1960. 2–A.4 1990–2000: Controversy Over Adjustment; Incremental Change Ambitious plans were originally developed for both the 1990 and 2000 censuses to adopt the recommendations of many statisticians to use sampling for the count itself and not just the content in order to improve the completeness of census coverage and save on costs. Ultimately, the secretary of commerce decided not to adjust the 1990 census data for coverage error in July 1991. A court-ordered procedure to consider adjustment on the basis of a relatively small postenumeration survey ended with the courts upholding a decision by the secretary not to adjust the counts, even though measured net and differential undercount increased compared with 1980 (see Section 2–B).6 Similarly, plans to use sampling for nonresponse follow-up in the 2000 census were ruled to violate Title 13 by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999, and problems with the large 2000 postenumeration survey led to widely supported decisions by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce not to adjust the census results for legislative redistricting or federal fund allocation. Indeed, the estimated net undercount for the 2000 census was close to zero, although this result reflected large numbers of duplicates almost offsetting equally large numbers of missed people. Perhaps as a consequence of the attention devoted to the adjustment controversy and to refining the postenumeration survey methodology, neither the 1990 nor the 2000 census saw major innovations in census procedures of the magnitude of the use of computerized processing, mailout-mailback enumeration, and expanded coverage improvement programs that were introduced in the 1960–1980 censuses.7 Essentially, the 1990 and 2000 censuses made incremental modifications to previous census procedures; they did not alter the paradigm of the modern census as established in 1980: development and checking of a computerized address list; mailout-mailback; in-person follow-up for nonresponse; coverage improvement operations; 6 Adjusted counts at the national level by age, race, and sex were used to control the estimates from major household surveys in the decade of the 1990s, including the Current Population Survey, which is the source of official monthly unemployment and annual poverty statistics. 7 However, the 2000 census was the first to capture both name and date of birth from completed census questionnaires, and to use those in matching studies to estimate duplicate census entries.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census computerized editing and tabulation; and postcensus evaluation of coverage. Census net coverage worsened somewhat in 1990 and improved in 2000; census real dollar per housing unit costs increased by about 30 percent from 1980 to 1990 and by about 60 percent from 1990 to 2000. From 1960 to 2000, real dollar per housing unit costs increased by over 400 percent. The experiments included in the 1990 and 2000 censuses were limited in scope (see Sections A–5.b and A–6.b) and did not set forth a clear path for innovation in 2010. An exception was the Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, which tested the ability to conduct a separate American Community Survey (ACS) to obtain long-form questionnaire content at the same time as a full census (see next section). An experiment in using administrative records to substitute for a traditional census or for nonresponse follow-up was well conducted but, because of a late start in planning and limited resources, was limited in scope (Bye and Judson, 2004:1–2). The evaluations of census procedures in 1990 and especially 2000 were limited in usefulness for future census planning, consisting largely of descriptive reports that documented the inputs and outputs of particular procedures but did not provide rigorous cost-benefit analysis of them or an assessment of their relative effectiveness for different kinds of geographic areas or population groups. 2–A.5 2010: Recovery from Near Disaster? By 2001, the Census Bureau articulated a strategy for a “reengineered” census process in 2010; it also announced that adjustment for measured net undercount would be off the table for 2010. Save for the pilot work that had been done on the ACS, this emergent strategy for 2010 did not extend directly from the 2000 census evaluations and experiments for the simple reason that it could not do so chronologically—most of the evaluation reports were only completed and released in 2002 and 2003. However, findings from the 2000 census experience would later influence 2010 census plans—for instance, in the decision to add two coverage probe questions to the 2010 census questionnaire. The reengineered 2010 process hinged critically on three major initiatives. First, the Census Bureau planned to modernize its Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) system—the geographic database used to map census addresses and code them to specific census blocks (and thus to higher-level aggregates like cities or school districts). When it was developed in the 1980s, TIGER represented a significant improvement over the patchwork address coding guides that were used in the 1970 and 1980 censuses, but after almost 20 years of use, it needed realignment of its geographic data (through comparison with local geographic information system files) and overhaul of its software structure. The Census Bureau embarked on a multiyear Master Address File (MAF)/TIGER En-
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Envisioning the 2020 Census hancements Program as a key plank in its 2010 census plan; the major component of this program was a contract (the MAF/TIGER Accuracy Improvement Program) to perform the complete realignment of TIGER features in electronic files, which was awarded to Harris Corporation and carried out. Second, the Census Bureau committed to replacing the census long-form sample—a detailed battery of social and economic questions administered to samples of census respondents—with the continuous American Community Survey. The idea for conducting a “rolling census” goes back several decades; formal planning of a continuous ACS began in the early 1990s, and pilot data collection began in 1996 in 4 counties, later expanded to about 30 counties. The Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, conducted in about one-third of all counties, confirmed that the Bureau could successfully field the ACS and the decennial census at the same time. This larger-scale administration also yielded data that could be compared with the 2000 long-form sample to assess the adequacy of the new survey. Based on the results, the Bureau decided that the 2010 and subsequent censuses would include only the short-form items and that the ACS would go into full production as soon as funding became available, which occurred in 2005. Third, the Census Bureau decided to use modern handheld computer technology for two key census processes: checking the address list in 2009 and conducting nonresponse follow-up enumeration in 2010. The use of such technology was expected to significantly reduce the amount of paper (questionnaires, enumerator timesheets, maps, etc.) and office space required for the census, permit real-time monitoring of census field operations, and reduce census costs compared with paper-and-pencil methods. However, the R&D program for the handheld technology and the contract for implementation, also with the Harris Corporation, were poorly planned and executed, necessitating an extensive “replan” effort in early 2008 (see Section 2–C.2), which resulted in the decision to revert to paper-and-pencil methods for nonresponse follow-up operations. Entering the 2010 planning cycle, the Census Bureau hoped that its 2008 “dress rehearsal” would be exactly that—a full operational pretest. The Bureau’s 1998 dress rehearsal for the 2000 census was less a rehearsal than a major experimental comparison of three competing census designs, each making different use of sampling and coverage measurement. However, the 2008 dress rehearsal in San Joaquin County, CA, and the Fayetteville, NC, area was not able to function as a full dress rehearsal. The planned rehearsal was already scaled back because of the budgetary constraints of operating for key periods under continuing resolution, previous-fiscal-year-level levels. But, with the early 2008 replan, the Bureau could not conduct a nonresponse follow-up operation in its dress rehearsal for the basic reason that the late reversion to paper-based methods left it without a nonresponse follow-up operation to test. The lack of a full-fledged dress rehearsal left
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Envisioning the 2020 Census the 2010 census with many unanswered questions as to its procedures and plans. We discuss the implications of these plans and developments on estimated 2010 census costs in Section 2–C. Of course, the effects on completeness of coverage in the 2010 census will not be known until after the census and its associated coverage measurement programs are conducted. 2–B CENSUS QUALITY Perhaps the most critical driver of decennial census planning and execution is the concern that the census achieve as complete coverage of the population as possible, including not only the total number of inhabitants, but also their distribution by state and other geographic areas and their racial and ethnic composition. This concern dates back to the first census in 1790, when Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson expressed the view that the census count was short of the “true” population, which he believed to be 4.1 million people and not 3.9 million as the census reported (Wells, 2000:116). Subsequent censuses also raised concerns about coverage—notably, in 1870, complaints of undercounts in New York City and Philadelphia led President Ulysses S. Grant to order a recount, which, however, added only 2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, to the two cities’ population totals. The dramatic growth in the population of the South between 1870 and 1880 ultimately led the 1890 census office to estimate that the 1870 census had undercounted the South by 10 percent and the country as a whole by 3 percent (Hacker, 2000b:129). In the 20th century, the findings from the 1920 census that the population was more urban than rural for the first time in the country’s history led to attacks on the accuracy of the census, and, for the first time, Congress was not able to agree on a reapportionment of the House of Representatives to reflect the census results in a timely manner (McMillen, 2000:37–38). Following the civil rights revolution and the “one person, one vote” Supreme Court decisions, concern about undercount fueled controversy over whether to adjust the census for measured net undercount and to correct disparities in coverage by geographic area and population group and drove the planning, execution, and evaluation of the 1980–2000 censuses. 2–B.1 Definition and Measures We use the term “census quality” to denote the accuracy of the count and its basic distribution by geography and population group. Since formal coverage evaluation began for selected population groups in the 1940 census and for the population as a whole in 1950, two general quality metrics have dominated the discussion. The first metric is net coverage error,
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Envisioning the 2020 Census simply the difference between census-based counts or estimates and their associated true values for some geographic or demographic domain; estimated counts greater than the true values are then dubbed a net overcoverage, while estimates lower than the true value represent net undercoverage. Because the true values are unknown, competing strategies have been devised to derive approximations—typically through an independent effort to estimate the same population (postenumeration survey) or derivation of estimates based on birth, death, and migration data (demographic analysis). To provide comparability across domains, net coverage error is often expressed as a percentage of the “true” counts. Due to the historical undercoverage of racial and ethnic minority groups, the second type of quality metric—differential net undercoverage—focuses on the difference between the rate of net undercoverage error for a given demographic group compared with the national rate. Census undercoverage and overcoverage are made up of two general types of errors: omission, which occurs when a current resident of the United States is not included in the census anywhere, and erroneous enumeration, which occurs when a nonresident (or nonperson) is erroneously included anywhere in the census or when a person is included more than once. Coverage error may also arise when a (nonduplicated) resident is counted at the incorrect geographic location. The severity of this latter type of error depends on the degree of geographic displacement and the level of aggregation of interest; depending on those perspectives, geographic misallocations are either moot (e.g., when a person in one block is listed in the wrong block, but both blocks in question are within the same county for which coverage is being estimated) or count as two errors (undercoverage in one block and overcoverage in another). 2–B.2 Net Coverage Error, 1940–2000 Table 2-1 shows estimated net coverage error, by the method of demographic analysis, and the difference in coverage estimates for blacks and all others, for the 1940 through 2000 censuses. With the exception of 1990, when the net undercoverage rate increased from the previous census, there has been a sustained trend toward more complete coverage of the total population. Whereas the 1940 census had an estimated net undercount rate as high as 5.4 percent, the 2000 census achieved an estimated net undercount rate of practically zero (0.1 percent). Estimated net undercount rates for blacks and nonblacks also declined over the period (with the exception of the uptick in 1990 for both groups), although the difference between black
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Table 2-1 Estimates of Percentage Net Undercount, by Race, from Demographic Analysis, 1940–2000 (in Percent) 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 Total population 5.4 4.1 3.1 2.7 1.2 1.7 0.1 Black 8.4 7.5 6.6 6.5 4.5 5.5 2.8 Nonblack 5.0 3.8 2.7 2.2 0.8 1.1 −0.3 Difference (percentage points) 3.4 3.6 3.9 4.3 3.7 4.4 3.1 NOTE: Minus sign (−) indicates net overcount. SOURCES: 1940–1980: National Research Council (1995:Table 2.1); 1990–2000: National Research Council (2004a:Table 5.3, columns for “revised (October 2001)”). and nonblack net undercount rates increased from 3.4 percent in 1940 to 4.3 percent in 1970, and was as high as 4.4 percent in 1990, before declining to 3.1 percent in 2000. Demographic analysis does not provide estimates of coverage error for other population groups, such as Hispanics, but coverage rates for those groups appear to have improved as well. Thus, based on postenumeration survey methodology, net undercount decreased from 5 percent in 1990 to 0.7 percent in 2000 for Hispanics, from 4.6 percent in 1990 to 1.8 percent in 2000 for non-Hispanic blacks, from 2.4 percent in 1990 to a net overcount of 0.8 percent in 2000 for non-Hispanic Asians, and from 0.7 percent in 1990 to a net overcount of 1.1 percent in 2000 for non-Hispanic white and other races (National Research Council, 2004a:Table 6.7). 2–B.3 Another Metric: Gross Coverage Errors Undoubtedly, the achievements in reducing estimated net undercount and narrowing the differences between estimated net undercount rates for racial and ethnic groups over the 1940–2000 period are due, in no small measure, to the proactive efforts by the Census Bureau, in cooperation with many public- and private-sector organizations, to improve coverage. As noted above, the addition of coverage improvement operations to the conduct of the census began in 1970 and greatly escalated in 1980. Yet research has shown that coverage improvement programs not only add people to the census who may have been missed otherwise, but also add people who should not be counted at all or who may have been counted elsewhere. Examples include the 1980 Vacant/Delete Check program (U.S. Census Bureau, 1989:Ch. 8) and the 1990 program to count parolees and probationers (Ericksen et al., 1991:43–46). In 2000, the problem-plagued development of the MAF from multiple sources, some not used in previ-
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Envisioning the 2020 Census ous censuses, contributed to large numbers of duplicate enumerations, only some of which were weeded out in subsequent census operations (National Research Council, 2004a:142–143). Estimates of gross errors, including both erroneous enumerations and omissions, are as large as 36.6 million in 1990 (16.3 million erroneous enumerations and 20.3 million omissions) and 33.1 million in 2000 (17.2 million erroneous enumerations and 15.9 million omissions) (National Research Council, 2004a:253). Too much should not be made of the specific numbers, given that some errors are not of consequence for larger areas of geography and given different definitions and methods for estimating gross errors in the two censuses, but, however defined, the census is and has always been far from error-free. 2–C CENSUS COSTS It appears throughout much of the history of the U.S. census—and particularly in the period after 1970—that concerns about coverage have trumped concerns about costs, with Congress willing to appropriate ample funds for the conduct of the census. However, cost increases from census to census are not written into stone—in fact, real dollar per person or housing unit costs have held steady and even declined in some censuses, as seen in the next section. Yet in the period 1970 to 2010, costs have escalated enormously, and the increases appear harder and harder to justify. Because of this continued growth in census costs, it seems highly likely that containing costs—while maintaining or improving census quality—will and should be a major driver of 2020 census planning. In the discussion that follows of historical census costs, it is important to note the difficulties in obtaining comparable cost estimates across time. Comparisons can be affected by the choice of a specific price deflator; also, it is not clear that what is included in census costs is strictly comparable from census to census. Thus, the reader should consider the data provided as indicative of the order of magnitude of the costs from one census to the next. Following usual practice, we discuss “life-cycle” costs, which are inclusive of precensus planning and testing, the actual conduct of the census, and processing and dissemination of census results. The limitations of available census cost data make it difficult to decompose cost increases (or decreases) by examining specific operations.8 In fact, the absence to date of a robust, comprehensible, fully parameterized cost model for the census and its components makes it difficult not only to analyze the reasons for changes in costs 8 Another way of describing the situation is that the Census Bureau’s cost accounting is not program-oriented; costs for broad categories such as office space may be known, but not how those costs may be disaggregated by specific programs or operations.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Census Advertising Pre-Census Day Outreach Post-Census Day Outreach 1980 Public service advertising (Advertising Council selected Ogilvy & Mather as vendor, working pro bono); idea of seeking $40 million appropriation for paid advertising considered but ultimately rejected Subcampaigns: Pre-Census Day (“Answer the Census—We’re Counting on You”), post-Census Day (“It’s Not Too Late”), business manager focus (promoting employee response), and enumerator recruitment Print media campaign included outdoor posters and transit cards, including posters in about a dozen languages; Census Bureau publicity office contacted 75 top cartoonists to encourage them to use census themes in editorial cartoons and comic strips Radio and television campaign included Spanish-language spots and about 44 celebrity public service announcements Broadcasters Census Committee of ’80 (station owners and managers) convened by Census Bureau and Department of Commerce to promote prime placement of messages Special outreach effort to minority media organizations Encouraged communities to set up about 4,000 complete count committees Request to “key persons” in 300 census statistical areas—typically city or county planning officials—to volunteer time as liaison between the Census Bureau and local committees providing input on small-area geographic designations (tracts, neighborhoods, etc.) Outreach to about 600 major national service organizations and labor groups beginning in July 1979 Census Bureau publicity office contacted trade associations to encourage them to communicate census messages, including American Society of Association Executives and Food Marketing Institute Partnership with selected major businesses, including five largest grocery chains, General Cinema Corporation, and Goodyear Outreach to members of Congress to convey census messages and to encourage them to tape radio and television appeals for census participation School Project distributed census-related materials for use in grades 4–12 Specific “It’s Not Too Late” theme in public advertising campaign “Were You Counted?” campaign included advertisements in local newspapers (available in 33 languages), short-form questionnaire for printing in local newspapers (for readers to clip and return), and distribution of special forms to local governments and complete count committees
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Envisioning the 2020 Census 1990 Public service advertising (Advertising Council selected Ogilvy & Mather as main vendor, working pro bono, as in 1980) Four minority advertising firms recruited by Advertising Council to produce public service announcements and advertisements focused on black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Puerto Rican communities Broadcasters Census Committee of ’90 established by National Association of Broadcasters to encourage support and broadcast of census messages in electronic media; differed from 1980 version by including radio managers as well as television Efforts to secure pro bono ad slots and segments on major cable networks as well as broadcast networks Publicized “kickoff ” events for publicity campaign in various ethnic communities in February and March 1990 Census Awareness and Products Program developed partnerships with local community organizations Community awareness specialists assigned to all regional census centers Concerted effort on “census as news”—Census Bureau publicity ofice active in distributing press releases and feature articles; effort included intense publicity on S-Night operations Mayors’ cooperation program: publicized visits by high-level Bureau staff to 35 mayors Government Promotion Handbook sent to all local governments to encourage formation of complete count committees Census Education Project on larger scale than 1980; teaching kit sent to all elementary and secondary schools, aimed at grades 4–12; Bureau also supported teacher training workshops Public Housing Initiative: working with local public housing authorities, residents of public housing complexes were sought for outreach and to work as urban update/leave enumerators Information booklet mailed to almost 400,000 churches Work with National Head Start Initiative to promote message placement and encourage Head Start families and staff to seek work as census takers “Were You Counted?” campaign (questionnaire printed in various periodicals for readers to clip and return; electronic media messages emphasized ability to call telephone assistance line) “Thank You America” program: certificates of appreciation and plaques distributed to active individuals and organizations; direct “thank you” message also included in mailing of final population counts to local governments
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Census Advertising Pre-Census Day Outreach Post-Census Day Outreach 2000 Paid advertising, November–June (Young and Rubicam, Inc., contractor), 17 languages “Census 2000 Road Tour” included about 2,000 stops at community events Partnership and Marketing Program (more extensive) About 650 partnership specialists hired to maintain partnerships with local governments and community organizations Supported creation of complete count committees Census in the Schools (K-12) Kits distributed to Head Start and adult citizenship and literacy training centers Direct mail campaign included multiple cues and reminders (e.g., advance letter, reminder/“thank you” postcards) Be Counted Campaign (media announcements encouraged people to send in a special form, placed in public locations) 2010 Paid advertising (DraftFCB as prime contractor, with several partner agencies to reach specific markets), 28 languages (originally 14) Integrated Communications Campaign Plan; includes advertising in new and nontraditional media (e.g., Internet, grocery stores) Extensive audience segmentation research done in planning campaign, including analysis of American Community Survey data “Census Road Tour” Partnership Program (even more extensive) Census in the Schools (K-12) (originally K-8) Bilingual English-Spanish questionnaire mailed to residents in selected areas Replacement questionnaires mailed to selected households Be Counted Campaign (media announcements will encourage people to send in a special form) SOURCES: See Table 2-4.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Table 2-6 Coverage Improvement Programs and Procedures, 1970–2010 Censuses—Initial Enumeration Methods Census Type of Enumeration Questionnaire/Mailing Package Office/Processing Structure 1970 Mailout-mailback (postal service delivered addressed questionnaires; respondents mailed them back) Conventional (postal service delivered unaddressed questionnaires; census enumerators picked up and completed) Special Places (Group Quarters) visited and enumerated Transients (in hotels, campgrounds, etc.) enumerated on “T-night” Computer-readable questionnaire 12 permanent regional offices (Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Seattle) 1 temporary area office (San Francisco) 393 temporary local offices Suitland headquarters Processing centers in Jeffersonville, IN, and Pittsburg, KS 1980 Mailout-mailback (as in 1970) List/enumerate (census enumerators developed list and enumerated residents) Special Places (Group Quarters) visited and enumerated “T-night” operation on March 31 to count transients or long-term residents of hotels, motels, and tourist homes Overnight “M-night” (“mission night”) operation on April 8–9 to count people at places like missions and flophouses, short-term detainees in jail, and people spending night in transportation terminals Computer-readable questionnaire 12 permanent regional offices (same as 1970 and continuing to present, replacing St. Paul with Kansas City, KS) 12 regional census centers, located in regional office cities 412 local offices Suitland headquarters Processing centers in Jeffersonville, IN; Laguna Niguel, CA; and New Orleans, LA
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Census Type of Enumeration Questionnaire/Mailing Package Office/Processing Structure Casual Count: in inner-city areas, census enumerators visited employment or welfare offices during daylight hours and major gathering places (pool halls, street corners, bars, etc.) in early evening; locations chosen based on suggestions from local officials, and operation generally took place over 1–2 weeks “Overseas Travel Reports” distributed to international air and ship lines for distribution between March 15 and April 1 (for mailback by respondent) to try to count U.S. residents in transit 1990 Mailout-mailback (as in 1970) Update List/Leave (census enumerators delivered addressed questionnaires and updated list; respondents mailed back) List/Enumerate (census enumerators developed list and enumerated residents) Urban Update/Leave and Urban Update/Enumerate operations applied rather than mailout-mailback in urban blocks containing predominantly public housing developments or boarded-up buildings, respectively Computer-readable questionnaire Reminder postcard 1 week after questionnaire delivery (in mailout-mailback and Update List/Leave areas) 12 permanent regional offices 12 regional census centers (12 located in regional office cities, plus temporary center in San Francisco) 449 local offices Suitland headquarters Backup computer center in Charlotte, NC Jeffersonville, IN, National Processing Center 7 processing offices for data capture (Albany, NY; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Jacksonville, FL; Jeffersonville, IN; Kansas City, MO; San Diego, CA)
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Special Places (Group Quarters) visited and enumerated Transients enumerated on “T-night,” March 31, focusing on transient places such as campgrounds and marinas Shelter and Street Night (“S-night”): replacement and expansion of “M-night” and casual count operations of 1980; two phases conducted overnight between March 20 and 21, first counting shelter inhabitants and then a “street” count of people in open public locations preidentified by local governments 2000 Mailout-mailback (as in 1970) Mailout-mailback Conversion to Update List/Leave and Urban Update List/Leave (originally designated for mailout, census enumerators delivered addressed questionnaires and updated list; respondents mailed them back) Update List/Leave (as in 1990) Rural Update List/Enumerate (originally designated for Update List/Leave, census enumerators delivered addressed questionnaires, updated list, and enumerated respondents) List/Enumerate (census enumerators developed list and enumerated residents; earlier in remote Alaska) Special Places (Group Quarters) visited and enumerated Transients enumerated on “T-night” Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) (people enumerated at selected locations, such as shelters) Advance letter (in mailout-mailback areas) User-friendly optical-scanner-readable questionnaire Reminder postcard 2 weeks after questionnaire delivery (in mailout-mailback and Update List/Leave areas) Internet response option available in place of mailback Telephone response option available in place of mailback (also to answer questions) 12 permanent regional offices 12 regional census centers 520 local offices Suitland headquarters National Processing Center (Jeffersonville, IN) 3 contractor-operated data capture centers
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Census Type of Enumeration Questionnaire/Mailing Package Office/Processing Structure 2010 Mailout-mailback (as in 1970) Urban Update List/Leave (designed for urban areas with lots of P.O. boxes, apartments with central mail drop, etc.) Update List/Leave (as in 1990) Update List/Enumerate (designed for colonias, areas with large numbers of vacant units, and American Indian tribal areas) Remote List/Enumerate (census enumerators will develop list and enumerate residents; to be conducted earlier in remote Alaska) Special Places (Group Quarters) will be visited and enumerated; in addition, there will be an advance visit Transients will be enumerated on “T-night” Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) (people enumerated at selected locations, such as shelters) Advance letter (in mailout-mailback areas) User-friendly optical-scanner-readable questionnaire Bilingual Spanish-English questionnaire (to be sent to 13 million addresses in areas with high concentrations of Hispanics) Reminder postcard 2 weeks after questionnaire delivery (in mailout-mailback and Update List/Leave areas) Second questionnaire to be sent to everyone in hard-to-count areas and to mail nonrespondents elsewhere Telephone response option available in place of mailback (also to answer questions) 12 permanent regional offices 12 regional census centers 520 local offices Suitland headquarters National Processing Center (Jeffersonville, IN) 2 contractor-operated data capture centers SOURCES: See Table 2-4.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Table 2-7 Coverage Improvement Programs and Procedures, 1970–2010 Censuses—Follow-Up of Mail Returns Census Field Follow-Up Telephone Follow-Up 1970 Report of Living Quarters Check (field follow-up of households in small multiunit structures reporting more units than on the census list) 1980 Report of Living Quarters Check Dependent Roster Check (more residents reported on front of questionnaire than on inside pages) Whole Household Usual Home Elsewhere Check—follow-up of questionnaires where question asking whether “everyone here is staying only temporarily and has a usual home elsewhere” was answered in affirmative and additional home address(es) listed on back on form Personal visit follow-up of cases where telephone follow-up failed Follow-up for missing information (item nonresponse), households apparently returning duplicate questionnaires, or cases where field “Followup 1” (see Table 2-8) efforts failed 1990 Whole Household Usual Home Elsewhere Check Follow-up for missing information Follow-up for missing information (as in 1980) 2000 Coverage Edit Follow-Up (returns that reported more or fewer people in Question 1 than on the individual pages; returns with 7 or more household members [the form only included room for 6]; and returns with Question 1 blank and exactly 6 people with individual information provided) 2010 Coverage Follow-Up (same as 2000, with the possible addition of duplicates discovered in nationwide matching of the census against itself, cases in administrative records that do not match a return, and responses to two new coverage questions that indicate possible problems) SOURCES: See Table 2-4.
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Table 2-8 Coverage Improvement Programs and Procedures, 1970–2010 Censuses—NRFU (Nonresponse Follow-Up) and Post-NRFU Census Program 1970 NRFU (mailback areas)—2 visits before going to Last Resort (neighbor, landlord, etc.) National Vacancy Check—Sample survey of 13,500 housing units originally classified as vacant; results used to reclassify 8.5% of all vacant units as occupied and impute people into them Post-Enumeration Post Office Check (PEPOC)—Postal Service checked enumerator address lists in conventionally enumerated areas of 16 Southern states; census enumerators followed up sample of missed addresses; results used to impute housing units and people into the census based on postal review of addresses listed by enumerators in conventional enumeration areas 1980 NRFU (mailback areas)—3 visits before going to Last Resort; conducted in two waves: “Followup 1” (April 16–planned end on May 13): Obtain questionnaires from households not returning forms by 2 weeks after Census Day and to check on vacant units “Followup 2” (May 22–July 7): Begin with Vacant/Delete Check—100% reenumeration of units originally classified as vacant or nonresidential—and move on to follow-up still-missing questionnaires, households where interview attempts in “Followup 1” failed, and persons found using nonhousehold sources (see below). Followup 2 also included recanvass of enumeration districts in 137 local offices where local review suggested problems with prelist addresses (see Table 2-4) Post-Enumeration Post Office Check (PEPOC)—100% recheck of address list and enumeration of missed units in conventionally enumerated areas Prelist Recanvass—Address list rechecked in Prelist areas (in some areas only selected enumeration districts rechecked) Local Review—Local officials provided with preliminary housing unit and population counts to indicate problem areas for rechecking Nonhousehold-Sources Program—Administrative lists (driver’s license records, immigration records, and New York City public assistance records) matched to census records for selected census tracts in urban district offices and missing people followed up 1990 NRFU (mailback areas)—6 visits (3 in-person, 3 telephone) before going to Last Resort Vacant/Delete Check—100% reenumeration of units originally classified as vacant or nonresidential (except for seasonal vacants and units classified by 3 or more operations as vacant) Housing Coverage Check (recanvass)—Reenumeration of over 500,000 blocks with 15 million housing units identified as problematic from various sources (e.g., comparisons with building permit data) Local Review—Local officials provided with preliminary housing unit and population counts to indicate problem areas for rechecking (about 150,000 blocks were recanvassed)
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Envisioning the 2020 Census Parolee/Probationer Check—Questionnaires were distributed to parole and probation officers to distribute to those under their jurisdiction Reenumeration of households with only one member in 24 local offices and partial reenumeration of households in 7 local offices in NJ—Carried out because of allegations of fraud by enumerators 2000 NRFU (mailback areas)—6 visits before going to Last Resort (as in 1990) Vacant/Delete Check—100% reenumeration of units originally classified as vacant or nonresidential (except for seasonal vacant units and units classified by 2 or more operations as vacant) Coverage Improvement Follow-Up (CIFU)—Revisit of addresses added in Update/Leave for which no questionnaire was mailed back; New Construction LUCA Program addresses; blank mail returns; late Postal Service Delivery Sequence File address additions Field Verification—Field check of various addresses that were not resolved after CIFU Ad Hoc Master Address File (MAF) Unduplication—Comparisons with building permits, etc. suggested substantial duplication of addresses on the MAF (even after unduplication operation prior to NRFU); matching program and subsequent examination identified 1.4 million housing units to delete Reenumeration of 1 local office and partial reenumeration of 7 offices—Carried out because of evidence of incompetence or fraud 2010 NRFU (mailback areas, new construction addresses)—6 visits before going to Last Resort (as in 1990) Vacant/Delete Check—100% reenumeration of units originally classified as vacant or nonresidential (as in 2000) Coverage Follow-Up (CFU)—Telephone-only follow-up, which may include NRFU as well as mail returns—see Table 2-7 Field Verification—Field check of various addresses that are not resolved after CFU Last minute, ad hoc checks likely based on past experience SOURCES: See Table 2-4.
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