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COUNTING PEOPLE IN THE INFORMATION AGE Duane L. Steffey and Norman M. Bradburn, Editors Panel to Evaluate Alternative Census Methods Committee on National Statistics Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1994
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distin- guished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is adminis- tered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This project is supported by funds provided by the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, under contract number 50-YABC-1-66032. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 94-68466 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05178-9 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, D.C. 20418 Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) B482 Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
PANEL TO EVALUATE ALTERNATIVE CENSUS METHODS NORMAN M. BRADBURN (ChairJ, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago ROBERT M. BELL, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California GORDON J. BRACKSTONE, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario CLIFFORD C. CLOGG, Departments of Sociology and Statistics, Pennsylvania State University THOMAS B. JABINE, Statistical Consultant, Washington, D.C. KATHERINE S. NEWMAN, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University D. BRUCE PETRIE, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontano PETER A. ROGERSON, Department of Geography, State University of New York, Buffalo KEITH F. RUST, Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland NORA CATE SCHAEFFER, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin EDWARD A. SCHILLMOELLER, A.C. Nielsen Company, Northbrook, Illinois MICHAEL F. WEEKS, Battelle Memorial Institute, Durham, North Carolina ALAN M. ZASLAVSKY, Department of Statistics, Harvard University DUANE L. STEFFEY, Study Director ANU PEMMARAZU, Senior Project Assistant MEYER ZITTER, Consultant . . .
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 1993-1994 NORMAN M. BRADBURN (Chair), National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago JOHN E. ROLPH (Vice ChairJ, Department of Information and Operations Management, School of Business Administration, University of Southern California MARTIN H. DAVID, Deparunent of Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison JOHN F. GEWEKE, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis NOREEN GOLDMAN, Office of Population Research, Princeton University JOEL B. GREENHOUSE, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University ERIC A. HANUSHEK, W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, Department of Economics, University of Rochester ROBERT M. HAWSER, Department of Sociology and Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, Madison NICHOLAS JEWELL, Program in Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley WILLIAM NORDHAUS, Department of Economics, Yale University JANET L. NORWOOD, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. DOROTHY P. RICE, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco KEITH F. RUST, Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DANIEL L. SOLOMON, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, North Carolina State University MIRON L. STRAP, Director '-v
Contents PREFACE SUMMARY 1 INTRODUCTION The Role of the Panel, 16 Census Bureau Research and Development, 19 Planning for the 2000 and Future Censuses, 26 2 PRELIMINARY CENSUS DESIGN ISSUES Address List Development and Related Activities, 30 Record Linkage, 36 Legal Issues, 38 Operational Issues, 42 RESPONSE AND COVERAGE Research on Response and Coverage Issues to Date, 49 Roster Improvement Research, 52 Response Improvement Research, 58 Use of the Telephone, 62 Other Automated Response Technologies, 72 Hard-to-Enumerate Populations, 73 Tool Kit and Planning Database, 86 Outreach and Promotion, 89 v . . V11 15 30 47
Vl 4 SAMPLING AND STATISTICAL ESTIMATION Nonresponse Follow-up, 97 Integrated Coverage Measurement, 105 Statistical Estimation, 119 ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS Basic Requirements for More Effective Use of Administrative Records, 138 An Administrative Records Census: Key Features and Issues, 148 Use of Administrative Records in the 2000 Census, 159 Use of Administrative Records in Other Demographic Programs, 163 Summary and Conclusions, 174 6 ALTERNATIVES FOR LONG-FORM DATA COLLECTION Continuous Measurement, 180 Manx Sampling, 196 RECOMMENDATIONS REFERENCES APPENDIX: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PANEL MEMBERS AND STAFF CONTENTS 96 136 178 203 211 223
Preface In response to the Decennial Census Improvement Act of 1991 and at the request of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of the Census, the National Research Council in 1992 began two studies on the census in the year 2000. The studies are being conducted by two panels under the Research Council's Committee on National Statistics. One study, being conducted by the Panel on Census Requirements in the Year 2000 and Beyond, is considering what purposes a decennial census serves and whether alternative data collection sys- tems can meet these objectives. The interim report of that panel was published in May 1993 (Committee on National Statistics, 1993a); its final report is scheduled for completion in late 1994. The second study, being conducted by the Panel to Evaluate Alternative Census Methods, has focused on how the census should be taken. The panel includes members with expertise in statistics, survey methods and design, decen- nial census operations, field organization of large-scale data collection, demog- raphy, geography, marketing research, administrative records and record linkage, small-area statistics, and respondent behavior (see the Appendix for biographical sketches of panel members and staff). The panel has conducted much of its work through four working groups that were formed to consider different aspects of alternative census designs: (1) re- sponse and coverage issues, including alternative enumeration methods; (2) sam- pling and statistical estimation; (3) administrative records; and (4) alternatives for small-area data collection. In preparing this report, working groups and staff drafted material for review by the full panel and subsequent revisions were made in response to members' comments. Thus, the report represents the collective . . v''
. . . V111 PREFACE thinking of the panel on the issues we have addressed. Nonetheless, we recognize the substantial contributions of individual panel members through their working group affiliations. Nora Cate Schaeffer was convertor of the first working group, which in- cludes Katherine Newman and Michael Weeks. This group examined response and coverage issues and reviewed research on methods to improve census re- sponse and reduce differential coverage. Topics studied by the group include questionnaire design and implementation, census fostering and residence rules, methods for hard-to-enumerate populations, and census outreach and promotion. This working group was primarily responsible for drafting Chapter 3 of this report. Robert Bell was convertor for the second working group, which includes Clifford Clogg and Alan Zaslavsky. This group examined how problems of coverage and differential coverage could be assessed and improved with sam- pling and statistical estimation methods. Topics investigated by the group in- clude sampling and truncation of nonresponse follow-up, alternative methodolo- gies for coverage measurement, and the integration of sampling and estimation with other census operations to produce final population totals. This working group was primarily responsible for drafting Chapter 4 of this report. Thomas Jabine was convertor of the third working group, which includes Gordon Brackstone and Peter Rogerson. This group studied current and potential uses of administrative records in censuses and other components of the Census Bureau's demographic data systems. The group considered technical, legal, and administrative issues-as well as such factors as cost and public acceptability- regarding new uses of administrative records and future research and develop- ment. This working group was primarily responsible for drafting Chapter 5 of this report. Keith Rust was convertor for the fourth working group, which includes Norman Bradburn, Bruce Petrie, and Edward Schillmoeller. This group studied two proposed alternatives-continuous measurement and matrix sampling for collecting the detailed sociodemographic data that are currently gathered on the decennial census long form. The group examined methodological and opera- tional issues associated with the implementation of these proposals. The group also considered other factors in its evaluations, including accuracy, costs, accept- ability to census data users, and effects on the decennial enumeration. This working group was primarily responsible for drafting Chapter 6 of this report. The panel transmitted its first brief report to the Census Bureau in December 1992 (Committee on National Statistics, 1992~. That letter report offered general comments on the design selection process and made several recommendations regarding further consideration of the use of administrative records for the nation's censuses in the future. In September 1993, the panel transmitted an interim report, which presented the panel's findings and conclusions to that date, many of which concerned plans for the 1995 census test (Committee on National
PREFACE IX Statistics, 1993b). We have excerpted relevant material and integrated earlier recommendations in preparing this report. The panel has endeavored to deliver a timely and thorough report. Although the primary audience for this report is the Census Bureau, we have also tried to include sufficient technical background so that the report is of value to a wider audience. We have offered a generous number of recommendations, and we hope the Census Bureau will find this report useful in planning for the 1995 census test and the 2000 census. We have been heartened by the responsiveness of Census Bureau staff to recommendations in our earlier report. This report reflects our general satisfaction with the direction of the census research and development program, although we note exceptions and suggest modifications or shifts in emphasis of the program. At the time of this report, the major components of the 1995 census test have been identified, but details of field operations and estimation procedures are still being determined. Therefore, the plans for the 1995 census test discussed in the report are tentative and are subject to change. We believe that one major contri- bution of the 1995 census test, if it is properly designed and executed, will be cost data on the innovations under consideration-e.g., nonresponse follow-up sam- pling and truncation, application of the planning database and tool kit, and new approaches for integrated coverage measurement. Accurate information on cost and operational effectiveness will be essential for making sound decisions in December 1995 on the final design for the 2000 census. We thank the Census Bureau staff for their accessibility and cooperation in providing information and materials for deliberations of our panel and its work- ing groups. We would like to thank Harry Scarr, acting director of the Census Bureau, for addressing the panel at numerous panel meetings during the past two years. We would like to give special thanks to Robert Tortora, Susan Miskura, and Mary Mulry for providing regular briefings on 2000 census research and for responding promptly to requests for documentation. Also, we thank the follow- ing members of the Year 2000 Research and Development Staff, who were extremely generous with their time: Solomona Aoelua, Bob B. air, LaVerne Collins, Arthur Cresce, Jim Dinwiddie, Catherine Keeley, Jay Keller, Joe Knott, Charlene Leggieri, Sandy Lucas, and Violetta Vasquez. Other Census Bureau staff with whom the panel consulted include Charles Alexander, Leslie Brownrigg, Jon Clark, Tom DeCair, Gregg Diffendal, Don Dillman, Jerry Gates, Deborah Griffin, Susan Knight, John Long, Elizabeth Martin, Lawrence McGinn, Laurie Moyer, Gregg Robinson, Rajendra Singh, John Thompson, Signe Wetrogan, David Whitford, and Henry Woltman. Federal agency representatives who provided information include Bruce Johnson and Jack Kaufman of the U.S. General Accounting Office; Katherine Wallman of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget; Fritz Scheuren, Ellen Yau, and Peter Sailer of the Internal Revenue Service; and Jim Scanlon, John Fanning, Dale Hitchcock, and Jim Kaple of the U.S. Department of Health and
XPREFACE Human Services. The panel is also grateful for discussions with several congres- sional staff members, including TerriAnn Lowenthal, Shelly Wilkie Martinez, David McMillen, and George Omas. We are grateful to Johnny Blair, associate director of the Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park, for preparing a technical paper that evaluated, summarized, and analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service taxpayer opinion surveys and other relevant sources. The paper also evaluated the design and methodology used in the surveys and other research. We also thank Edwin Goldfield for preparing two background papers reviewing innova- tions in the decennial census and previous studies of the decennial census of population and housing. There are many staff members of the Committee on National Statistics who provided guidance and advice, particularly Miron Straf, Constance Citro, and Barry Edmonston. The panel also appreciates the editorial work of Eugenia Grohman, associate director for reports, and Christine McShane, editor of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Their efforts have greatly improved the report's structure and presentation. We especially thank our panel staff. We thank Meyer Zitter, consultant to the panel, for his part in drafting the material in Chapter 5 on the use of adminis- trative records in other demographic programs of the federal statistical system. Anu Pemmarazu, senior project assistant, competently prepared summaries of panel meetings and draft documents, and handled myriad administrative matters with efficiency and professionalism. Her keen ability to anticipate project needs and to manage the often challenging logistics of panel meetings, as well as her unflagging willingness to take on diverse assignments, kept our day-to-day op- erations running smoothly. No greater blessing can be given to a panel than to have a study director with the depth of understanding, sense of organization, felicity of expression and willingness to put in long hours possessed by Duane Steffey. He gently, but firmly, kept us on track, made certain that we always had the next milestone in sight, and turned our often rambling prose into an integrated and readable docu- ment. Our gratitude to him truly knows no bounds. A special place in the pantheon of National Research Council study directors is reserved for him. Finally, I would like to thank the panel members for their generous contribu- tion of time and expert knowledge. They gave unstintingly of their expertise and never faltered in their assignments. The report is truly a collaborative effort. Working with them was both a great pleasure and a learning experience for me. Norman M. Bradburn, Chair Panel to Evaluate Alternative Census Methods
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