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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A Panel Charge." 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.
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Appendix A
Panel Charge

An ad hoc panel will conduct an in-depth review of the statistical methodology for measuring the group quarters population in the continuous American Community Survey (ACS). The panel will consider user needs for ACS data on the various components of the group quarters population, including inmates of federal, state, and local correctional facilities, residents of nursing homes and other long-term health care facilities, college students living in campus housing, military personnel in barracks or on a ship in home port, and residents of noninstitutional group quarters, such as hospices, convents, monasteries, group homes, and migrant workers quarters. In light of user needs and considerations of operational feasibility and compatibility with the treatment of the household population in the ACS, the panel will recommend alternatives to the current sample design, weighting procedures, and other methodological features that can make the ACS group quarters data more useful for small-area data users, particularly users of ACS 5-year period estimates for small governmental jurisdictions, census tracts, and block groups. The panel will issue an interim report at the end of the first year of the study with recommendations for near-term improvements in the sample design and weighting of group quarters in the ACS and a final report at the conclusion of a 24-month study with findings and recommendations for longer term improvements to the measurement of the group quarters population.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A Panel Charge." 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.
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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.

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