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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Improving the
American Community Survey

Proceedings of a Workshop

Daniel L. Cork, Rapporteur

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

The project that is the subject of this report was supported by the U.S. Census Bureau through Contract No. YA1323-14-CN-0033. Support of the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (No. SES-1024012). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-49000-9
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25387.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
×

PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON IMPROVING THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

WARREN BROWN (Chair), Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research, Cornell University

SUSAN BROWER, Minnesota State Demographic Center

SHAWN BUCHOLTZ, Housing and Demographic Analysis Division, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

MICHAEL DAVERN, NORC at the University of Chicago

DONALD DILLMAN, Department of Sociology and Social and Economic Sciences Research Center, Washington State University

BETH JAROSZ, Population Reference Bureau

PATRICE MATHIEU, Social Survey Methods Division, Statistics Canada

DANIEL CORK, Study Director

ANTHONY MANN, Senior Program Associate

BRIAN HARRIS-KOJETIN, Director, Committee on National Statistics

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS
2019

ROBERT M. GROVES (Chair), Office of the Provost, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Department of Sociology, Georgetown University

MARY ELLEN BOCK, Department of Statistics, Purdue University

ANNE C. CASE, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

MICHAEL CHERNEW, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School

JANET CURRIE, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

DONALD A. DILLMAN, Department of Sociology, Washington State University

DIANA FARRELL, JPMorgan Chase Institute, Washington, DC

DANIEL KIFER, Department of Computer Science, Pennsylvania State University

THOMAS L. MESENBOURG, Retired; formerly, U.S. Census Bureau

SARAH M. NUSSER, Department of Statistics, Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology, Iowa State University

COLM A. O’MUIRCHEARTAIGH, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, and NORC at the University of Chicago

JEROME P. REITER, Department of Statistical Science, Duke University

JUDITH A. SELTZER, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

C. MATTHEW SNIPP, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

BRIAN HARRIS-KOJETIN, Director

CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Scholar

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Acknowledgments

Like the March 2016 workshop that preceded it, this Workshop on Improving the American Community Survey (ACS) was the culmination of an intense and quick period of scoping, planning, and development on the part of the staff of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as the volunteer members of the workshop planning committee. The September 26–27, 2018, workshop was remarkable for its range of expert and stakeholder input, and it is hoped that it (and the subsequent expert meetings) will prove as productive to the ACS research and development agenda as was the 2016 effort.

The time, talent, quality, and candor of the Census Bureau’s ACS research team was on great display in the Census Bureau’s presentations, for which we thank them sincerely. We particularly appreciate the support of Victoria Velkoff, head of the ACS Office during the formation and execution of the workshop; she has since been named associate director for demographic programs at the Census Bureau. With Velkoff, Jennifer Ortman was particularly critical to the construction of the workshop agenda, along with Elizabeth Poehler. We are grateful to them and to all the Census Bureau staff who spoke at and participated in the workshop.

The workshop would not have been possible without the input and guidance of the fellow members of the workshop planning committee, who were unflagging in their support. And, of course, it would not have been possible without the expertise and the commitment of the experts who answered our call to speak at the workshop or serve as discussant. Even in those cases when they might not have seen a direct connection between their work and the ACS, their contributions were all on-point and extremely valuable. We would be remiss if we did not make special mention of Amy O’Hara (Georgetown University) for so eagerly and ably filling a key discussant role on the workshop’s first day—on not much more than 24-hour notice—when the scheduled discussant developed

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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a sudden (but very understandable) time conflict. We commend them all for their contributions.

These proceedings are the main product of the workshop. This report was prepared by a rapporteur whose charter was to distill the gist of the presentations and the essence of the discussions. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

This Proceedings of a Workshop was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published proceedings as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this proceedings: Warren Brown, Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research, Cornell University; Daniel Kasprzyk, Independent consultant, Chevy Chase, MD; and Andrew Reamer, Institute of Public Policy, The George Washington University.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the proceedings nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this proceedings was overseen by Judith A. Seltzer, California Center for Population Research, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles. She was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this proceedings was carried out in accordance with standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the rapporteur and the National Academies.

Warren Brown, Chair
Planning Committee for the Workshop on Improving the American Community Survey

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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2.3.3 Improving ACS Estimation with Multiple Surveys and Third-Party Data

2.3.4 Insights and Data Products from Linking Health Survey Data with Administrative Housing Data

2.3.5 Lessons Learned from Construction and Use of the National Mortgage Database

2.3.6 Value Added from Linking Multiple Data Resources and Survey Data at the Regional Level

2.3.7 Private Sector Experience with Data Linking and Blending

2.3.8 Discussion

2.3.9 Floor Discussion

3 Increasing American Community Survey Participation Through Improved Respondent Communication

3.1 Overview of Respondent Contact Strategies

3.1.1 Census Bureau’s Current ACS Mail and Contact Strategy

3.1.2 Contrast: Statistics Canada’s Wave Methodology Approach for Census/Survey Respondent Contacts

3.1.3 Discussion

3.2 ACS Testing on Respondent Contact Strategies

3.2.1 Overview of ACS Tests to Boost Participation Through Improved Communication

3.2.2 A View From the Private Sector

3.2.3 A View From Academia

3.2.4 Floor Discussion

3.3 Rethinking the Communication Process With Respondents: Toward a Strategic Framework

3.3.1 Introduction to Census Bureau’s Strategic Framework

3.3.2 Review of How Current ACS Mail Materials Mesh With the Strategic Framework, and Next Steps

3.3.3 Discussion

3.3.4 Floor Discussion

3.4 Listening to ACS Respondents

3.4.1 Assessing High-Burden ACS Questions

3.4.2 Lessons Learned from ACS Focus Group Work

3.4.3 Trends in Respondent Concerns and Assessing Burden

3.4.4 Discussion: Assessing Burden and Resolving Respondent Concerns

3.4.5 Discussion: Structuring Respondent Communication Based on Feedback

3.4.6 General Concluding Remarks

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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TABLES

2.1 Available and Ideal Administrative Records for Income Questions on the American Community Survey

2.2 Results of Substitution of Administrative Records Values for Imputed and Proxy-Response Race Values in the 2010 Census

2.3 Data Compilation Methods for Income Components and Income Taxes, 2016 Canadian Census

2.4 Rough Assessment of Availability of Principal Data Types for Outcomes of Interest Regarding Transition-Aged Youth

2.5 Effectiveness of Deterministic Record Linkage Between NCHS Health Survey Data and HUD Rental Assistance Program Data

2.6 Example of Claritas Basic Race/Hispanic Estimation Method for BG 01001 020100 1 in Autauga County, Alabama

2.7 Example of Claritas Names Based Method for Hispanic Change for BG 48039 660602 2 in Brazoria County, Texas

3.1 Collection Response Rates in the 2011 and 2016 Censuses of Canada

3.2 Overall Census Collection, Internet, and Self-Response Response Rates, 2001–2016 Censuses of Canada

3.3 Response Rates by Collection Methodologies, 2016 Census of Canada

3.4 Impact of Wave 1 Letter/Response Option Choice, Live Test in 2011 Census of Canada

3.5 Experimental Design and Results, 2017 American Community Survey Pressure Seal Test

3.6 Results, American Community Survey Mail Design Test

3.7 Experimental Design and Results, 2017 American Community Survey Adaptive Strategy Test

3.8 American Community Survey Questions Requiring Most Time to Complete, in 2017 Survey of ACS Interviewers

BOXES

1.1 Topics on the American Community Survey

2.1 Administrative Records at the Census Bureau

2.2 Guiding Principles for Determining Appropriateness of Third-Party Data for Use in American Community Survey Production

2.3 Introductory Text and Disclaimer Used in 2016 Canadian Census

2.4 Market Segments Defined in Claritas’ Prizm® Premier Data Product

3.1 Text of Introductory Letters, Waves 1–3 of 2016 Census of Canada

3.2 Example of Codebook Entries, Potential Messages in American Community Survey Mail Materials

3.3 Example of Message Coding: Part of Mailing 1 Letter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Improving the American Community Survey: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25387.
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Since its origin 23 years ago as a pilot test conducted in four U.S. counties, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) has been the focus of continuous research, development, and refinement. The survey cleared critical milestones 14 years ago when it began full-scale operations, including comprehensive nationwide coverage, and 5 years later when the ACS replaced a long-form sample questionnaire in the 2010 census as a source of detailed demographic and socioeconomic information. Throughout that existence and continuing today, ACS research and testing has worked to improve the survey’s conduct in the face of challenges ranging from detailed and procedural to the broad and existential.

This publication summarizes the presentations and discussion at the September 26–27, 2018, Workshop on Improving the American Community Survey (ACS), sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau. Workshop participants explored uses of administrative records and third-party data to improve ACS operations and potential for boosting respondent participation through improved communication.

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