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Joann Kuchak, Frederick J. Eggers, Douglas Thompson, Ronaldo Iachan, Pedro Saavedra, & Jagruti Patel
Component ID: #ti1017952020

Since 1940 the Census Bureau has used two questionnaires to collect data for the decennial census: (1) a “short form” that counts the population and gathers basic information and (2) a ”long form” that obtains more detailed demographic, housing, social, and economic information from a sample of households.

What we know about households – their incomes, their education, their employment, their housing – at the State, county, city, and census tract level usually comes from the long form. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses long-form information to determine program eligibility, allocate funds, target program activities, assess client needs, and evaluate client performance.

The Census Bureau has been planning to conduct a large national survey of households, called the American Community Survey (ACS), which would begin in 2003 and would be conducted every year thereafter. The Census Bureau intends for the ACS to serve the same purposes as the long form and to make the long form unnecessary in future censuses.

As of the printing of this report, Congress had not completed action on the Census Bureau’s appropriation request for fiscal year 2003. The Senate Appropriation Bill does not contain sufficient funds for the ACS; the House of Representatives has not finished drafting its appropriation measure. At this time, it appears that the Census Bureau will not be able to move to full implementation of the ACS in 2003.  

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