California Neighborhoods Count
Jan 13, 2020
In response to long-standing concerns about the accuracy of decennial census data, researchers conducted the California Neighborhoods Count — the first independent, survey-based enumeration to directly evaluate the accuracy of the U.S. Census Bureau's population totals for a subset of California census blocks. In this report, the researchers detail their methodology, present the enumeration results, and compare these results with the census counts.
Validation of U.S. Census Population Counts and Housing Characteristic Estimates Within California
Does not include Appendix.
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The U.S. Constitution mandates that the federal government count all persons living in the United States every ten years. The census is critical to states because its results are used to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives; guide redistricting; and form the basis for allocating federal funds, such as those used for schools, health services, child care, highways, and emergency services.
In response to long-standing concerns about the accuracy of census data and about a possible undercount, a group of researchers conducted the California Neighborhoods Count (CNC) — the first-ever independent, survey-based enumeration to directly evaluate the accuracy of the U.S. Census Bureau's population totals for a subset of California census blocks.
This 2020 research was intended to produce parallel estimates of the 2020 Census population and housing unit totals at the census block level, employing the same items as the census and using enhanced data collection strategies and exploration of imputation methods. Although the CNC was intended to largely replicate census data collection processes, there were a few methodological differences: For example, much of the address canvassing for the 2020 Census was done in-office, whereas the CNC team undertook a complete in-person address-listing operation that included interviews with residents and door-to-door verification of each structure.
In this report, the researchers detail their methodology and present the enumeration results. They compare the 2020 Census counts with the CNC estimates, describe limitations of their data collection effort, and offer considerations for future data collection.
Sampling and Survey Methods
Response Rates, Imputation, and Adjustment Strategies
Comparison of 2020 Census Counts with CNC Responses
Summary and Conclusion
CNC Block Observation Form
CNC Address-Canvassing Form Final Codebook
CNC Survey and Enumeration Form
CNC Short-Form Survey
CNC Study Brochure
Data Elements Used to Impute Missing Data
The study was sponsored by California Complete Count — Census 2020 and conducted in the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.
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