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Experimentation and Evaluation Plans for the 2010 US Census: Interim Report

Jan Beise
By National Research Council, USA, 2008.

In connection with every recent decennial census, the U.S. Census Bureau has carried out experiments and evaluations. A census “experiment” usually involves field data collection during the census in which alternatives to current census processes are assessed for a subset of the population. An “evaluation” is usually a post hoc analysis of data collected as part of the decennial census processing to determine whether individual steps in the census operated as expected. The Census Bureau program for evaluations and experiments for the 2010 decennial census is referred to as the 2010 CPEX Program.

CPEX, like its predecessor programs, has enormous potential to help improve the next census, which is the federal government’s single most important, and most costly, data collection activity. A well-planned and well-executed CPEX is a sound investment to ensure that the 2020 census is as cost-effective as possible.

The primary purpose of this interim report is to help reduce the possible subjects for census experimentation from an initial list of 52 research topics compiled by the Census Bureau to perhaps 6, which is consistent with the size of the experimentation program in 2000. This interim report also offers broad advice on plans for evaluations of the 2010 census. The panel expects to provide fuller details of individual experiments and evaluations in its subsequent reports.


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