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Quality Measures Associated with a Voluntary American Community Survey

Deborah H. Griffin, David Raglin

At the request of Congress, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted research in 2002 and 2003 to determine whether the American Community Survey (ACS) could be implemented as a voluntary, rather than a mandatory, survey. A test was designed to answer key questions on mail response, survey quality, and costs. The data for all three modes (mail, telephone, and personal visit) of the March and April 2003 ACS were collected using voluntary methods. The focus of this research was a comparison of the data collected in March and April of 2003 with data from March and April of 2002. Details of the design of this test and the findings can be found at U.S. Census Bureau (2003). This report provides additional information about the quality of the data collected in the 2003 test of voluntary methods. Different comparisons are made in this study using fully edited data from the entire 2003 calendar year. The results supplement U.S. Census Bureau (2003) and U.S. Census Bureau (2004). The focus of this report is an assessment of the coverage of the demographic characteristics of the population that was interviewed under voluntary versus mandatory data collection in the 2003 test and the completeness of their data.


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