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Redesigning the Census Long Form: Results from the 1990 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment

Theresa J. DeMaio and Nancy Bates



The 1990 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment tested five newly designed census long forms during the decennial census. Two alternative forms tested internal modifications to the long form by changing question wording, instructions, sequence order and graphic layout. A third form was designed in a booklet format which kept all population and housing items together. The last two questionnaires consisted of individual population and housing forms sent together as a "kit." One of the kit questionnaires additionally tested the effects of anonymity on mail response by eliminating all requirements to supply names. In addition to a mail response analysis, this paper compares item nonresponse rates, tests for coverage differences, and examines several characteristics of non-mailback households in the test.


Census Form, Questionnaire Design


DeMaio, Theresa J. and Nancy Bates. (1992). Redesigning the Census Long Form: Results from the 1990 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment. Statistical Research Division Working Papers in Survey Methodology (#92-01). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Published online: February 8, 1999
Last revised:

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010