Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.24, No.4, 2008. pp. 571589

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Does a Final Coverage Check Identify and Reduce Census Coverage Errors?

A national mail out experiment evaluated a final series of questions intended to reduce and identify coverage errors on the census mail form. A random portion of the sample received the experimental series, which included reminders o f the reference date and people who might be missed and two coverage questions. Another random portion received a version without reminders or coverage questions. Results from a follow-up interview show that responses to the questions help discriminate between households in which someone was missed or counted in error and those without coverage errors. There is no evidence that the series led to coverage improvements. Item nonresponse for Question 1 (household count) is lower in the experimental panels, suggesting the series stimulated respondents to check their forms and fill in the question when it had been left blank.

Mail questionnaire, decennial census, coverage questions

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