Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place: Residence Rules in the Decennial Census

Sampul Depan

The usefulness of the U.S. decennial census depends critically on the accuracy with which individual people are counted in specific housing units, at precise geographic locations. The 2000 and other recent censuses have relied on a set of residence rules to craft instructions on the census questionnaire in order to guide respondents to identify their correct "usual residence." Determining the proper place to count such groups as college students, prisoners, and military personnel has always been complicated and controversial; major societal trends such as placement of children in shared custody arrangements and the prevalence of "snowbird" and "sunbird" populations who regularly move to favorable climates further make it difficult to specify ties to one household and one place. Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place reviews the evolution of current residence rules and the way residence concepts are presented to respondents. It proposes major changes to the basic approach of collecting residence information and suggests a program of research to improve the 2010 and future censuses.

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Executive Summary
1
Part I Residence and the Census
13
1 Introduction
15
Development and Interpretation
23
Challenges in Defining Residence
59
3 The Nonhousehold Population
61
4 Complex and Ambiguous Living Situations
113
Living Situations and the Census
165
7 Nonhousehold Enumeration
225
8 Operations Research and Testing
249
References
273
Appendixes
293
AResidence Rules of the 2000 Census
295
BResidence Concepts and Questionsin Selected Foreign Censuses
303
CAmericans Residing Overseas
327
DBiographical Sketches of Panel Members and Staff
339

Part III Improvements for the Future
179
6 Residence Principles for the Decennial Census
181
Index
343
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