National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: 4 Weighting and Estimation
Suggested Citation:"5 Future Work." National Research Council. 2010. Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13075.

Future Work

This interim report makes recommendations and suggests further research focused on the statistical methods used to produce estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) that include group quarters residents. During the course of the next year, the panel will continue to examine these topics in the broader context of data user needs and the role and mission of the ACS. The overall question to consider is whether the current and potential uses of the ACS data justify the costs associated with including group quarters (GQs) in the sample and whether data user needs could in fact be better met with alternative approaches to producing the estimates of interest.

The panel will consider the implications of dropping some types of group quarters from the sample, as well as alternatives to the current approach of producing estimates that may be necessary to users. The alternatives include a possible redesign of the data collection approach to combine the household and GQ data collection in a way that potentially increases efficiency and reduces some of the challenges related to maintaining two separate sampling frames. Better integration of the household and GQ address lists into one unified Master Address File may be an important aspect of this. Other possibilities involve the use of alternative sources for the GQ data and statistical techniques, such as small-area model-based estimates to replace unreliable direct estimates. The panel will also continue to examine the sampling approach, including the sample allocation and subsampling rates.

The discussion so far has focused on the problem of coverage error. Another area of interest is the quality and usability of the data obtained from group quarters when an interview is completed. The ACS survey instrument was developed with the household population in mind, and even though collecting some of the data on the questionnaire from GQ residents is necessary, many of the questions on the present questionnaire are not applicable to all GQ populations. Customizing the instrument by GQ type may not be cost-effective, but a short-form questionnaire that includes only the items that are absolutely necessary and applicable to group quarters could be considered. This is another topic of interest for the final report.

Suggested Citation:"5 Future Work." National Research Council. 2010. Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13075.
Page 27
Next: References »
Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey: Interim Report Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $21.00 Buy Ebook | $16.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Following several years of testing and evaluation, the American Community Survey (ACS) was launched in 2005 as a replacement for the census "long form," used to collect detailed social, economic, and housing data from a sample of the U.S. population as part of the decennial census. During the first year of the ACS implementation, the Census Bureau collected data only from households. In 2006 a sample of group quarters (GQs) -- such as correctional facilities, nursing homes, and college dorms -- was added to more closely mirror the design of the census long-form sample.

The design of the ACS relies on monthly samples that are cumulated to produce multiyear estimates based on 1, 3, and 5 years of data. The data published by the Census Bureau for a geographic area depend on the area's size. The multiyear averaging approach enables the Census Bureau to produce estimates that are intended to be robust enough to release for small areas, such as the smallest governmental units and census block groups. However, the sparseness of the GQ representation in the monthly samples affects the quality of the estimates in many small areas that have large GQ populations relative to the total population. The Census Bureau asked the National Research Council to review and evaluate the statistical methods used for measuring the GQ population.

This book presents recommendations addressing improvements in the sample design, sample allocation, weighting, and estimation procedures to assist the Census Bureau's work in the very near term, while further research is conducted to address the underlying question of the relative importance and costs of the GQ data collection in the context of the overall ACS design.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!