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Planning and Predicting: The 2014 Census Planning Database

September 30, 2014
Barbara O’Hare
Component ID: #ti1248447318

Predicting participation rates among the general population is a challenge to those involved in census and survey work, whether in collecting the data or in analyzing the results. These effects are well documented in the literature. See for example, Groves and Couper,1998, Nonresponse in Household Surveys or Groves, 2011, “Three Eras of Survey Research,” Public Opinion Quarterly 75(5).

Component ID: #ti1071388538

We rarely have socio-economic information for all individuals or households on survey sample frames that we can use to analyze and mitigate the impacts of nonrandom nonresponse. However, the decennial census and the American Community Survey do provide extensive small area data. These data can serve as a rich source for characteristics of people living in census tracts and block groups – characteristics such as age, education, ethnicity and income – known to be related to both census and survey participation.

Component ID: #ti1187769015

The Census Bureau recently released the 2014 Planning Database, which assembles a range of housing, demographic, socio-economic and census operational data useful for survey and census planning. Data are provided at both the census block group and tract levels of geography. The 2014 Planning Database uses selected census and American Community Survey statistics. In addition to these sources, operational variables include the 2010 Census mail return rate. The 2014 Planning Database includes percentage calculations with the basic count data. In addition, a new low response score is provided that is similar in purpose to the hard-to-count scores included in the 2000 Planning Database. The low response score identifies census block groups and tracts whose characteristics predict low census mail return rates and are highly correlated (negatively) with census and survey participation. “Hard-to-count” refers to segments of the population that are often missed, such as newborns or immigrants.

Component ID: #ti1187769016

Census Bureau demographers developed the first planning databases after the 1990 and 2000 censuses and it proved to be a valuable tool. With the advent of the American Community Survey replacing the census “long form” and the annual release of American Community Survey statistics covering a five-year period, the planning database content was updated and revised after the 2010 Census. The planning database will be updated and released annually.

Component ID: #ti1187769017

Questions or comments? Contact

Barbara C. O’Hare, Center for Survey Measurement, Research and Methodology Directorate; and Nancy A. Bates, Research and Methodology Directorate

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