the cost per household of the 1970 census ($10.52 in 1990 constant dollars) times the number of households in 1990 (104 million), or $1.09 billion.


We have used the change in the gross domestic product (GDP) deflator as the measure of inflation, which rose 222 percent from 1970 to 1990. But the central conclusions of this section are unchanged if other general measures of inflation are substituted. The chain weight GDP price index rose by 207 percent. We also attempted to construct a special weighted index reflecting the increase in the wages, fringes, and costs of goods and services purchased for the census. The full set of data was not available to construct such an index, but we estimate that it might show an increase in the range of 237 to 245 percent. Even with the upper end of this range as a measure of inflation, "unexplained" cost increases over the 1970 to 1990 period would still amount to over $1.2 billion (compared with the $1.3 billion cited in the text).


About 110 district offices, called master district offices, were open as long as 18 to 20 months during the 1989 and 1990 fiscal years. Master district offices managed address list development activities in the year prior to the 1990 census.


During the period from 1960 to 1990, the number of persons per housing unit decreased. Such a decrease would reduce the length of the personal interview for nonresponse follow-up, but the impact on enumerator productivity and census costs would probably be slight. The relationship between censuses and household size is also affected by other factors. First, there is generally a positive relationship between household size and census mail response rates. Smaller households typically have lower mail response rates, which contribute to increased costs. Second, declines in household size have been associated with increases in nontraditional households (households different from married couples with or without children present). Nontraditional households, for various reasons, increase the difficulty and cost of census enumeration. Finally, households with fewer people increase the difficulty of making personal contact during nonresponse follow-up, the most expensive phase of census operations.


The Census Bureau intentionally "overtrained" the number of enumerators because past experience showed that many enumerators resign before census operations end. The goal was to have a sufficient number of people trained so that there would be enough workers available during the daily peak activity.


Census Bureau analysis (Keller, 1994) suggests that actual production rates during the nonresponse follow-up operation in the 1990 census (interviews completed by enumerators per hour) increased from 1980 to 1990. Census staff believe that these production gains can be attributed to improved training, better management reports, and incentive payments.

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