1. Pick up some segments of the GQ universe only through the household sample. The segments could be defined by size or type. These segments would be represented in estimates of the total population, but the samples would probably be too small to produce reliable results for the group quarters population separately.

  2. Completely exclude some GQ segments from the ACS universe.

Both of these options have the advantage of eliminating the need to maintain a sampling frame for certain segments of the universe. The first option would require that field representatives be able to conduct a household or GQ interview, depending on what is found in the field, or that a field representative refer a facility to the central office for interviewing at a later time.

These changes would have to be carefully considered in the context of data user needs, especially if the GQ estimates are important for calculating total population estimates. However, as discussed, a small number of GQ types are already excluded from the ACS data collection for a variety of reasons, and ACS estimates are controlled to be consistent with the PEP estimates for all group quarters (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). Excluding more facilities would surely raise new concerns, but it is important to evaluate whether some are contributing disproportionately more to the cost of the data collection than the use of the data justifies. As discussed above, other sources that could provide population counts of the residents of certain types of group quarters should also be considered when evaluating this issue.

Recommendation 2-6: The Census Bureau should conduct a general evaluation of the reasons for the relatively high rates of ineligible and eligible but unoccupied group quarter facilities in the ACS sample and determine whether there are practical ways to reduce these rates for all or some group quarters.

Recommendation 2-7: The evaluation should take into consideration the costs associated with determining that a facility is ineligible or unoccupied and how these costs would change if some of the work were performed before a case is sent to the field.

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