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Working Papers

Census Taker in Alaska, 1940
A census taker in Alaska, 1940.

U.S. Census Bureau "Working Papers" have not undergone a review and editorial process generally accorded official Census Bureau publications. These working papers are intended to make results of Census Bureau research available to others and to encourage discussion on a variety of topics.

Delivering What Users Want: the Evolution of Census Bureau Small Area Data [1.1MB PDF] - Michael S. Snow, U.S. Census Bureau, August 1, 2011.

This presentation charts how user demand for data on small areas pushed the Census Bureau to create new geographic units and greatly expand the geographic extent for which it published small area data. It traces small area data back to 19th century public health officials' need for data for subdivisions of cities and the invention of census tracts to meet religious leaders’ requests. Also covered are the first publication of data on census blocks and the American Community Survey’s invention to provide new data every year.

Statistical Déjà Vu: The National Data Center Proposal of 1965 and Its Descendants [251KB PDF] - Rebecca S. Kraus, Ph.D., U.S. Census Bureau, August 2011.

Issues concerning sharing of statistical information, linking data sets, and storing and preserving data collected by the federal statistical agencies have long sparked debate. This paper focuses on the National Data Center proposal of 1965, ensuing public concern over its privacy implications, and the response of the Bureau of the Budget and the Census Bureau. The purpose of this study is to identify the issues leading to the development of the proposal, as well as the consequences of the proposal, in order to inform current policy decisions, particularly in regard to the Census Bureau. Examples of subsequent efforts at statistical consolidation and data sharing highlight the persistent theme of statistical déjà vu.

Management Challenges of the 2010 U.S. Census [453KB PDF] - Daniel H. Weinberg, U.S. Census Bureau, July 28, 2011.

This paper gives an insider's perspective on the management approaches used to manage the 2010 Census during its operational phase. The approaches used, the challenges faced (in particular, difficulties faced in automating data collection), and the solutions applied to meet those challenges are described. Finally, six management lessons learned are presented.

Lessons for Targeted Program Evaluation: A Personal and Professional History of the Survey of Program Dynamics [84KB PDF] - Daniel H. Weinberg, U.S. Census Bureau, August 2007.

The Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) was created by the 1996 welfare reform legislation to facilitate its evaluation. This paper describes the evolution of that survey, discusses its implementation, and draws lessons for future evaluation.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: June 18, 2013