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The Census Bureau’s current Geographic Support System initiative focuses on improving address coverage to facilitate a transition from a complete to a targeted address canvassing operation in preparation for the 2020 census. As part of this initiative, the Census Bureau established an Address Coverage and Sources Working Group that focuses on three priority areas: (1) reviewing the current MAF update processes and recommending areas for improvement; (2) recommending methods and requirements for maintaining GQ addresses in the MAF; and (3) working closely with the Partnerships Working Group to recommend methods to improve MAF coverage using nontraditional address sources, such as partner-supplied or commercial address data (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011f).

The fact that GQ addresses will receive special attention as part of the Geographic Support System initiative is a promising development because, to date, procedures developed to maintain the MAF have been focused almost exclusively on keeping the inventory of housing units current. Strategies for updating the inventory of GQ facilities are less comprehensive, and the sources used for updates related to them are less than adequate. As a result, the relatively poor quality of GQ records is one of the shortcomings of the MAF.


The ACS Office receives the MAF data used to develop a sampling frame for the American Community Survey in the form of data extracts based on ACS-specific filtering rules developed to minimize both undercoverage and overcoverage in the survey. The filtering rules specify what types of addresses should be included in the extracts, which are delivered to the ACS Office twice a year. The main sampling operation occurs around August and September of the year preceding the sample year, and the MAF extract delivered for this is based on the records available as of July of that year. A second extract is drawn for the January and February supplemental sampling operation, and this is designed to update the sample with addresses that have been added to the MAF since the main extract was drawn.

The GQ sample is selected during the main sampling operation, occurring during the year preceding the sample year. Because the updating of the GQ addresses between censuses is operationally difficult and lags behind procedures for updating housing unit addresses, the inventory of group quarters in the MAF extract contains information primarily from the most recent census, including the identification of group quarters closed on Census Day, which is checked again during the ACS fieldwork.

The ACS Office creates its own sampling frame for the GQ population. The initial GQ sampling frame consisted only of the GQs that were listed in the MAF extracts. The current procedure used to create the next year’s sam-

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