Glossary of Relevant Census Terms


Administrative records.

Records that are collected as part of the operation of federal, state, and local programs, typically fund allocation and tax programs, such as Internal Revenue Service and Food Stamp Program records.


"Be Counted."

A census program that makes census questionnaires available in public places for return, makes census questionnaires available in foreign languages by telephone, and permits responding to the census by telephone.


Casing check.

A program in which postal workers determine addresses for which they did not receive a questionnaire and notify the Census Bureau.

Census tract.

A census-defined geographic area of roughly 1,500 house-holds.

Closeout.

The use in the census of whatever data have been collected by the date by which all interviewing must be concluded. Imputation is used to fill in any missing information. See also Last resort.

Coefficient of variation.

An assessment of the variability of an estimate as a percentage of the size of the quantity being measured.



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--> Glossary of Relevant Census Terms Administrative records. Records that are collected as part of the operation of federal, state, and local programs, typically fund allocation and tax programs, such as Internal Revenue Service and Food Stamp Program records. "Be Counted." A census program that makes census questionnaires available in public places for return, makes census questionnaires available in foreign languages by telephone, and permits responding to the census by telephone. Casing check. A program in which postal workers determine addresses for which they did not receive a questionnaire and notify the Census Bureau. Census tract. A census-defined geographic area of roughly 1,500 house-holds. Closeout. The use in the census of whatever data have been collected by the date by which all interviewing must be concluded. Imputation is used to fill in any missing information. See also Last resort. Coefficient of variation. An assessment of the variability of an estimate as a percentage of the size of the quantity being measured.

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--> Computer-Aided Personal Interview (CAPI). The use of a computer to assist an interviewer in carrying out an interview. Advantages include avoiding errors in skip patterns, providing immediate edit checks, and expediting electronic data capture. Correlation bias. A (technical) bias in dual-system estimation by which the estimated counts would be, on the average, either too low or too high, caused by heterogeneity in enumeration probabilities for both the census and the post-enumeration survey. The heterogeneities of the probabilities for these two attempted enumerations are typically positively related, which causes the estimated counts to be on the average too low. Coverage improvement programs. Often (but not always) nationally applied methods and programs that attempt to collect information from individuals and households that might be missed using mailout/mailback or nonresponse follow-up. Before the 2000 census cycle this term referred to such programs as the parolee and probationer program (used in 1990) in which lists of these individuals were checked to see whether they were enumerated, and the non-household sources program, in which several administrative record lists were matched to census records to try to identify people missed in the census for purposes of field follow-up. For the 2000 census, "coverage improvement" refers more to efforts to complete the address list, use of multiple response modes, and service-based enumeration. Demographic analysis. A method that uses various administrative records (especially birth and death records, information on immigration and emigration, and Medicare records) and information from previous censuses to estimate the total number of people in various demographic groups resident in the United States on a specific date, and therefore their census undercoverage. Dress rehearsal. The largest census test, typically 2 years before the decennial census, in which the methods and procedures of the upcoming decennial census are given their final test to identify any operational problems. Dual-system estimation. An estimation methodology that uses two independent attempts to collect information from a household to estimate the number of people missed by both attempts. Erroneous enumeration. The inclusion of someone in the census in error. Such inclusions may be people born after census day or deceased

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--> before census day, people in the United States temporarily, and people in the wrong location. It also includes people counted more than once, i.e., duplicates. Error. The difference between an estimate and the true value. Household. All the persons who occupy a housing unit. Housing unit. A house, an apartment, etc., that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters, which are those in which the occupants live and eat separately from any other persons in the building. See also household. Imputation. A method for filling in missing information. Sequential hot deck imputation fills in information from a previously processed respondent (and therefore geographically close) with other similar characteristics. Integrated coverage measurement (ICM). The use of a post-enumeration survey and some type of estimation method, e.g., dual-system estimation , to produce adjusted census counts in time for apportionment and therefore all uses of census data. Last resort. Last resort enumeration is the collection of data from neighbors, apartment managers, post office employees, etc., and is used when a response from a resident cannot be obtained. See also closeout. Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Program. A Census Bureau program in which local officials are given the opportunity to review address lists and make corrections, additions, and deletions to that list, and to make corrections to census maps to match any changes that may be needed. The LUCA program covers only local governments in mailout/mailback enumeration areas; other local governments are eligible to participate in a different type of address list review program. Long form. The census questionnaire that is mailed to a (roughly) one-sixth sample of households (for mailout/mailback areas), which includes the short form questions and additional questions about income, commuting patterns, etc. See also short form. Mailout/mailback. A method of census enumeration used primarily in urban areas in which questionnaires are mailed to each address and the residents are asked to mail back the completed questionnaires.

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--> Master Address File (MAF). The list of addresses on which the census enumeration is based. It is derived from the 1990 census address list and is updated using a variety of sources, including information from the U.S. Postal Service and local officials. See also Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System. Matching. The process through which it is determined how many persons are included in both the post-enumeration survey and the census (in PES blocks) and how many persons are only included on one or the other attempted enumeration. Multiple response modes. Generally speaking, methods for being enumerated, not including mailout/mailback and enumeration as part of usual nonresponse follow-up. In 2000 these methods will include obtaining and returning questionnaires available in public places ("Be Counted" forms), the use of the telephone and possibly the internet to obtain or provide census information, and the enumeration of persons at places that offer services to the homeless. Nonresponse. The failure to obtain all or part of the information requested on a census questionnaire. Mail nonresponse is failure to return the census questionnaire that was mailed to housing units; ICM nonresponse is failure to answer the questions posed by ICM (PES) interviewers. Nonresponse follow-up. The field operation whereby census enumerators attempt to obtain completed questionnaires from interviewing members of households for which no questionnaire was returned as part of mailout/mailback. When done on a 100 percent basis, it is referred to as nonresponse follow-up (NRFU), and when it is done on a sample basis, to distinguish it from NRFU it is referred to as sampling for nonresponse follow-up (SNRFU). Post-enumeration survey (PES). A sample survey conducted in selected areas after nonresponse follow-up is completed that collects similar information to that collected during the census for purposes of estimating how many people the census undercounted and overcounted; sometimes referred to as a coverage measurement survey. Two separate activities make up the post-enumeration survey: the P-sample is the sample of individuals found by the post-enumeration survey in PES blocks; the E-sample is the sample of census enumerations for PES blocks.

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--> Poststratification. The separating of a data set collected through use of sampling into strata on the basis of information gathered during data collection, and then treating each strata separately in estimation. Poststratum. A collection (of individuals in the census context) that shares some characteristics (e.g., race, age, sex, region, owner/renter) obtained during data collection and that are separately treated in estimation. Raking. An estimation procedure in which a table of counts (possibly of several dimensions) is iteratively, multiplicatively adjusted, one dimension at a time, until convergence, so that the resulting table agrees with one-dimensional marginal totals that are considered of higher quality. Replacement form. A second census questionnaire that is mailed out shortly after the mailing of the reminder card. If the forms are only mailed to initially nonresponding housing units, they are referred to as targeted replacement forms; if they are mailed to all housing units, they are referred to as a blanket replacement forms. Service-based enumeration. Enumeration of typically homeless people at food kitchens and shelters. Short form. The census questionnaire that is mailed to about five-sixths of all households. The short form concentrates on basic demographic information. See also long form. Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System. The framework for identifying the exact geographic location of residential addresses (as well as other physical features). Trace sample (also referred to as master trace sample). A sample of census records (possibly by selecting all records in a sample of decennial census blocks) for which all information relevant to census data collection is retained to assist in analyzing and comparing methodologies suggested for use in the subsequent census. Transparent file. A file of census enumerations, including those added through the use of integrated coverage measurement, which provides household characteristics for the ICM enumerations (and possibly changes in household characteristics for some enumerated in the traditional manner) so that the enumerations added through use of integrated coverage measurement are not distinguishable.

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--> UAA vacants. Undeliverable-as-addressed vacants—housing units that the postal carrier believes to be vacant, rather than being undeliverable because the address is bad or does not exist. Under(over)coverage; under(over)count. A nonspecific term representing either the rate or the number of individuals missed (erroneously included) in the decennial census. More specifically, gross undercoverage and gross undercount are the rate or number of those missed for a demographic group or geographic area (similarly for gross overcoverage and gross overcount); net undercoverage and net undercount are the difference between the rate or number of those missed for a demographic group or geographic area and the rate or number of those erroneously included; differential (net) undercoverage and differential (net) undercount are the difference between the rate or number of net undercoverage between two demographic groups or between two geographic areas. Unduplication. The process by which individuals reported on more than one census questionnaire are identified and counted once at only one geographic location. Update leave/mailback. A method of census enumeration used primarily in rural areas in which the census questionnaire is delivered to an address by a census enumerator. The master address file is corrected at the time of delivery (if necessary). Residents at the address are asked to fill out the questionnaire and mail it back.