From: "Census2000" <census2000(a)ccmc.org>
Statistical Adjustment Unlikely in Future, Census Director Says: Plus:
Census Advisory Committee Meetings; Supreme Court; Hears Utah Imputation
Case; Legal Fights Over Adjusted Data Continue; Appropriations Update;
Future Use of Statistical Adjustment In Doubt: The debate over census
adjustment continued to generate controversy on Capitol Hill, six months
after the Census Bureau announced it would not use results from the 2000
census Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (A.C.E.) survey to adjust census
data used for non-political purposes, such as allocating federal program
Census Bureau Director C. Louis Kincannon said in an interview with The
Washington Post (April 17, 2002) that statistical methods developed over
the past 20 years to improve the accuracy of the direct count have not
solved the problem, have not [improved] the results of the best census
that we can do. Mr. Kincannon went on to say that the bureau must
look at either a different method or perhaps modified objectives to see
what we can do as part of the early planning for 2010. The Post
reported that senior agency officials have concluded that they cannot
produce adjusted census numbers, based on a coverage evaluation survey,
in time to issue detailed population data to the states for
redistricting one year after Census Day (the legal deadline).
Last month, a senior Census Bureau statistician told the National
Academy of Sciences Panel on the 2000 Census that the A.C.E. survey was
better operationally than the 1990 coverage measurement survey, but
that it missed scientifically by a factor of ten. Dr. Howard Hogan
said proper reporting of residence (e.g. where people should be counted)
was a significant problem with the 2000 quality check procedure;
evaluations found that respondents often report living at the place they
are interviewed, which may be different from the residence they reported
during the census.
Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Civil
Service, Census, and Agency Organization, applauded the bureaus
decision to focus on improving census accuracy through enhanced
traditional counting methods. For decades now the Census Bureau has
spent millions and millions of tax dollars on developing a failed
program that has never been used for its intended purpose. Fiscally,
operationally and legally, this is the responsible course to take, Rep.
Weldon told the Post.
But Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the former senior Democrat on the
Subcommittee on the Census during the 2000 count, said that Mr.
Kincannons statement may be good politics, but it is lousy science.
She criticized the Bush Administration for trying to cement plans for
the 2010 census without completing the evaluations of the 2000 census.
Since 1980, the Census Bureau has fielded a quality-check survey
following the direct count, to measure undercounts (people missed) and
overcounts (people counted twice or included erroneously) and to provide
a basis for adjusting the numbers. In 1990, then-bureau director
Barbara Everitt Bryant recommended using the post enumeration survey
(PES) results to adjust the census, after the survey revealed the
highest recorded differential undercount of racial minorities.
Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher overruled Dr. Bryant, and the
1990 census numbers were not adjusted.
In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled in a case (Glavin v. Clinton) brought
by the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation that federal law
barred the use of sampling methods to derive the state population totals
used for congressional apportionment. The Census Bureau fielded a
172,000 housing unit A.C.E. survey in Census 2000, in the hopes of
improving census data used for non-apportionment purposes. But in March
2001, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans decided not to adjust the counts
sent to the states for redistricting, saying the bureau did not have
time to fully evaluate inconsistencies between A.C.E. results and an
independent demographic analysis population estimate. Last October,
Acting Bureau Director William Barron said further research fouond three
million more duplicates in the census than the A.C.E. survey had
detected, making the results unusable for adjustment.
The Washington Post article said agency officials believe that a
quality-check survey following the door-to-door census count would be
used in the future to measure accuracy but not to adjust the numbers.
Census Bureau Issues New 2000 Undercount Estimates: The Census Bureau
has revised its estimates of net undercount for Census 2000. The new
preliminary revised figures are based on further analysis of the three
million additional duplicates (called erroneous enumerations) that the
A.C.E. survey did not measure, leading to the bureaus October 2001
decision not to adjust the census for non-political purposes.
The revised estimates were calculated for seven race and Hispanic origin
groupings used in the A.C.E. process. (The first revised estimates,
issued last fall, included undercount rates only for three groupings.
The bureau considers the original A.C.E. undercount rates, released in
March 2001, to be flawed, and displays them only for comparison
The new analysis shows a net overcount for Whites (which includes Some
Other Race) and Asians. The net undercount of Native Hawaiians and
Other Pacific Islanders, and of American Indians and Alaska Natives, is
substantial. The undercount rates for African Americans and Hispanics
are unchanged from October. In a April 4, 2002, memorandum, Census
Bureau staff described the latest calculations as a candidate
explanation for the discrepancies between the A.C.E. estimates and
demographic analysis. The additional research also shows the
persistence of a differential undercount between Whites and minority
groups, the staff said. Last summer, the bureau reported that Whites
accounted for 82 percent of the duplicates the A.C.E. would have
eliminated (had there been an adjustment); the explanation of the
revised estimates does not include the race and ethnic distribution of
the additional three million duplicates.
Census Advisory Committees To Meet: The Census Bureaus race, ethnic,
and decennial census advisory committees will meet next week at the
agencys Suitland, Maryland headquarters. The committees will receive
briefings on Census 2000 data dissemination, the American Community
Survey, and the status of 2010 census planning, including content
determination, reaching linguistically isolated households, enumerating
American Indian reservations, counting overseas Americans, response
options, and other important operational issues. All proceedings are
open to the public.
The five Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees will meet jointly from
April 29 May 1. The committees represent the African American,
American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian
and Other Pacific Islander populations. The meeting runs from 8:30 a.m.
5:00 p.m. on April 29, 9:00 a.m. 5:45 p.m. on April 30, and 9:00
a.m. 1:00 p.m. on May 1. The committees will hold separate,
concurrent sessions during the afternoon of April 29 and the morning of
May 1. The Decennial Census Advisory Committee will meet on May 2 from
8:45 a.m. 5:30 p.m., and on May 3 from 8:45 a.m. 1:45 p.m.
Census Bureau headquarters is located at 4700 Silver Hill Road in
Suitland, MD. The meetings will take place in Federal Office Building
#3, Francis Amasa Walker Conference Center.
Legal update: On March 18, the U.S. Department of Justice asked a
federal district court in Los Angeles to reconsider its ruling in favor
of Democratic lawmakers who sued under an obscure 1928 statute (dubbed
the seven-Member rule) for access to the A.C.E.-adjusted Census 2000
numbers. In papers asking the court to reverse its earlier decision,
the USDOJ said the issue is a political dispute between the legislative
and executive branches over access to information that did not belong in
the courts. Sixteen members of the House Committee on Government
Reform, led by senior Democrat Henry Waxman (D-CA), took the Commerce
Department (the Census Bureaus parent agency) to court last spring,
after the department refused to release the adjusted data. In January,
Judge Lourdes Baird ruled in favor of the congressional plaintiffs,
writing that, the plain language (of the statute) mandates that the
secretary release the adjusted data. Late last month, the judge denied
the Justice Departments request to vacate the original order; the
government is now considering an appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court
On March 27, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the
case of Utah, et al. v. Donald Evans, Secretary of Commerce, et al.
U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson defended the Census Bureaus use
of imputation, and distinguished it from statistical adjustment based on
a post-census survey. The provision of law under which the Court
prohibited adjustment refers only to sampling methods. The Court is
expected to issue a decision before its current term ends in early July.
Appropriations update: The U.S. House and Senate have completed their
overall budget blueprints for fiscal year 2003 (FY03), clearing the way
for appropriators to recommend specific spending levels for federal
agencies and programs. While non-binding, the budget resolutions set
spending priorities for the 13 regular appropriations accounts. The
Census Bureau is funded through the Commerce, Justice, and State, The
Judiciary, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
House and Senate members did not meet to iron out differences between
their respective bills. The House budget resolution recommends $759
billion in new discretionary spending, with slightly less than half set
aside for non-defense related programs. The Senates version allocates
$795 billion in new discretionary spending. (Discretionary spending
refers to non-mandatory federal programs; examples of mandatory federal
payments are social security and federal/military retirement benefits.)
Last November, a diverse group of census stakeholders, under the
auspices of the Census 2000 Initiative, wrote to senior congressional
Democrats and Republicans on committees that oversee and fund Census
Bureau activities, expressing support for continued development and
adequate funding of the American Community Survey. The stakeholders
also encouraged prompt resolution of several design and operational
concerns, including effective outreach and promotion, content
determination, and adequate sample size. The letter is posted on the
Initiatives web site at www.census2000.org
Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be
directed to Terri Ann Lowenthal at 202/484-2270 or, by e-mail at
<terriann2k(a)aol.com>om>. For copies of previous News Alerts and other
information, use our web site www.census2000.org
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