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ASA_Census_Expert300 karma

Great question! The Census Bureau started conducting the American Community Survey (ACS) in 2005 to address this very concern. The ACS--unlike the decennial census--is designed to collect timely demographic, housing, social, and economic data every year. However, we still need the decennial census to count all people living in the United States. -MM

ASA_Census_Expert240 karma

From Tom Louis: In my view, the biggest gap is, due to funding limitations and other problems, the bureau wasn't able to do as many full-scale field tests as would be desirable. So, there are some uncertainties, but it is likely (not certain!) that no major problems will emerge.

ASA_Census_Expert184 karma

I saw two gaps/threats (not sure failure is appropriate) in the current design:

  • first, the persistent under-funding of the decennial census in the 2nd half of this decade led to under-TESTING & other cutbacks. That is scary
  • The second is the plan to use differential privacy algorithms to reduce disclosure risk in reporting out census counts. The train has left the station on that yet the testing and impact on the quality of such a data product is relatively unknown. You gotta be scared when you are in a situation where "you don't know what you don't know" and IMHO that is the case with knowledge about the impact of census data utility in the face of differential privacy


ASA_Census_Expert160 karma

you bet. All decennial censuses experience missing data. There are two types!

1) some questions on the form are not answered

2) No completed form is returned (ie everything is missing)

Guess what? When some Qs are not answered (ie, 1 above), sometimes an enumerator will contact you/the household and ask for that info. And sooooometimes, the Census bureau will fill it in with a statistical prediction!

And when no one returns a form and an enumerator is unsuccessful in getting a response from you *or* your neighbor (yah, called a proxy response), if the Census Bureau knows someone lives in the uncooperative house, they will *impute* (predict/fabricate statistically) the entire form! That happened 6M times in 2010 and it will be much more IMHO in 2020


ASA_Census_Expert125 karma

hahaha... it wouldn't pass the laugh test! and those responses would not be used (imho)

Seriously, back in the 1970 census a "Hispanic" Q was added that asked (among other categories) if people were "Central American", "South American" etc. But the Q WAS NOT TESTED -- it was just inserted into the Census form. Lo & behold, when responses were being tabulated a bunch of Hispanics were found to live in Alabama and Iowa and those areas. When the census bureau did some digging, turns out that folks in Iowa considered themselves living in the central pare of the USA ("America" so they marked that. And in the southern states, folks figured they lived in the "South" so they were "South American" :-)

true story!