means. The sequence of tests usually culminates in a dress rehearsal two years prior to the decennial census. In addition to the test censuses, the Census Bureau has also conducted some smaller scale experimental data collections during the intercensal period.


As it began to design its CPEX program for 2010, the Census Bureau requested that the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies convene the Panel on the Design of the 2010 Census Program of Evaluations and Experiments. The panel’s charge is to:

… consider priorities for evaluation and experimentation in the 2010 census. [The panel] will also consider the design and documentation of the Master Address File and operational databases to facilitate research and evaluation, the design of experiments to embed in the 2010 census, the design of evaluations of the 2010 census processes, and what can be learned from the pre-2010 testing that was conducted in 2003–2006 to enhance the testing to be conducted in 2012–2016 to support census planning for 2020. Topic areas for research, evaluation, and testing that would come within the panel’s scope include questionnaire design, address updating, nonresponse follow-up, coverage follow-up, unduplication of housing units and residents, editing and imputation procedures, and other census operations. Evaluations of data quality would also be within scope….

More succinctly, the Census Bureau requests that the panel:

  • Review proposed topics for evaluations and experiments;

  • Assess the completeness and relevance of the proposed topics for evaluation and experimentation;

  • Suggest additional research topics and questions;

  • Recommend priorities;

  • Review and comment on methods for conducting evaluations and experiments; and

  • Consider what can be learned from the 2010 testing cycle to better plan research for 2020.

The panel is charged with evaluating the 2010 census research program, primarily in setting the stage for the 2020 census. As the first task, the panel was asked to review an initial list of research topics compiled by the Census Bureau, with an eye toward identifying priorities for specific experiments and evaluations in 2010. This first interim report by the panel uses the Bureau’s initial suggestions for consideration as a basis for commentary on the overall shape of the research program surrounding the 2010 census and leading up to the 2020 census. It is specifically the goal of this report to suggest

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