combining the use of sampling and estimation with traditional mail and physical enumeration (Chapter 4 discusses other innovations included in the test). Sampling was used at two points in the census process: in follow-up interviews for a sample of nonrespondents to mail questionnaires and in a coverage measurement survey at the end of nonresponse follow-up, with results incorporated into the census test. The 1995 census test was conducted in three locations: Paterson, New Jersey; Oakland, California; and six parishes in northwest Louisiana. The Census Bureau carried out extensive analyses of the census test results and has documented the research in a series of memoranda (Bureau of the Census, 1995). Number 46 in this series (Vacca, Mulry, and Killion, 1996) is a very useful compilation of results and decisions. That work was reviewed for this report.
The Census Bureau has also conducted a smaller census test, called the 1996 Community Census, in six census tracts in Chicago, Illinois, and in the pueblo of Acoma Reservation in New Mexico and the Fort Hall Reservation and Trust Lands in Idaho. The 1996 test was primarily concerned with evaluating refinements in integrated coverage measurement (ICM) procedures (Whitford, 1996). The results from this test were not available for this report. The Bureau has also released a comprehensive plan for conducting the redesigned 2000 census (Bureau of the Census, 1996) and has conducted a series of public presentations around the country to engage local interests and gain feedback.
This report evaluates information from the 1995 census test, analyzing a variety of issues and test results that bear on the success of the 2000 decennial census. The Census Bureau has developed a detailed and dynamic research agenda (Killion, 1996a) for preparing for the decennial census. We applaud this effort and believe that resources invested in research now can have a big payoff in a more efficient, accurate, and operationally smooth census in 2000.
The panel's first interim report (White and Rust, 1996) discussed issues of accuracy of census counts achieved through the use of sampling procedures. The report pointed out that, in addition to the significant cost saving in field data collection, the use of sampling for nonresponse follow-up offers other potential benefits. The report described the ways in which the use of sampling for nonresponse follow-up could reduce the level of nonsampling error that arises in the process of collecting census data. The next chapter of this report reviews some additional issues related to the use of sampling procedures as a part of census operations that were not addressed in the panel's first interim report, particularly the implications of sampling for public confidence in the census, mail return rates, and the accuracy of small-area data.
Chapter 3 discusses plans and procedures for building an accurate Master Address File (MAF) and for updating the Census Bureau's Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) system database. An accurate geographic representation of the territory to be enumerated and a complete list of addresses referenced to their correct geographic location are crucial to the success of the proposed 2000 census methodology.
In Chapter 4 the panel briefly discusses several new methods tested or under consideration for the decennial census, including respondent-friendly questionnaires,