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Examination of Census Omission and Erroneous Enumeration Based on 1990 Ethnographic Studies of Census Coverage

Yukiko Ellis

KEY WORDS: Census coverage errors; Ethnographic evaluations


The Census Bureau began a series of ethnographic evaluations of census coverage in 1986, culminating in the Ethnographic Evaluation of the Behavioral Causes of Census Undercount for the 1990 Decennial Census. Twenty nine sites were selected for the 1990 ethnographic evaluation. Each site consisted of high concentration of one or more groups of historically undercounted minorities, including Blacks, Hispanics, Asian or Pacific Islanders, American Indians and recent immigrants. In this paper, the two components of coverage errors, census omission and erroneous enumeration, are examined in relation to a set of factors reflecting educational, economic, social and cultural backgrounds of the test sites, in addition to the demographic factors of individuals who were enumerated either in census or by ethnographers. Specifically, subsets of these factors that best predict the outcome of either census omission or erroneous enumeration are obtained. Possible implications on the differential undercount of minority groups are discussed.

Citation: 1995, Proceedings of the Section on Survey Research Methods, Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association, pp. 515-520.

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