1990 Census Adjustment: Estimating Census Accuracy - A Complex Task.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC GENERAL GOVERNMENT DIV
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Decennial census results are used for such important purposes as reapportioning the House of Representatives and redrawing congressional, state, and municipal legislative district lines. However, the census historically has undercounted the population, especially black persons. According to the estimate most often cited by the Bureau of the Census, in 1980 the white and nonblack undercount was 0.7 percent while the black undercount was 5.9 percent. Such undercounts can create inequities in political representation and the distribution of federal funds. Because of public concern about the undercount, the Bureau has been studying whether adjustment can improve census counts. The House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service asked GAO to describe the Bureaus experience with the 1988 dress rehearsal post enumeration survey PES and to identify the major challenges confronting the 1990 PES. The PES is the primary methodology the Bureau is using as a basis for possibly adjusting the 1990 census counts it compares responses from households interviewed several months after Census Day with census questionnaires from the same housing units to determine whether each person was correctly counted, missed, or double- counted in the census.
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