A large differential undercount biases census and survey data collected by the Census Bureau. This paper
reviews evidence on magnitude and causes of undercount. A recent ethnographic study and other sources of evidence
are used to evaluate two sources of undercount. Undercount results if people deliberately choose not to be counted,
or if their living arrangements are incompatible with the Census Bureau concept of "usual residence." Both causes
result in biased estimates of important social characteristics. We recommend research in four areas: participant observation
studies of causes of undercoverage; research on household structure; comparisons of matched data from the Current
Population Survey (CPS) and the census; and research on interviewer training and performance.
CITATION: Peter Hainer, Catherine Hines, Elizabeth Martin, and Gary Shapiro. 1988. "Research on Improving Coverage in Household Surveys" Pp. 513-539 in Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Research Conference. Washington DC: Bureau of the Census
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division
Created: October 17, 2006
Last revised: October 17, 2006
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