Decennial Census:

Status of Housing Coverage Check and Postcensus Local Review Programs

T-GGD-90-63: Published: Sep 25, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1990.

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GAO discussed two of the Census Bureau's final coverage improvement programs for the 1990 decennial census, the Housing Coverage Check and the Postcensus Local Review, designed to identify omissions on the 1990 address list. GAO noted that: (1) the Bureau's census list included about 102 million housing units, compared to its independent estimate that 104 million units actually existed; (2) it was not likely that the Bureau would identify enough additional housing units to reconcile the current list with that estimate; (3) neither program was designed to correct inaccurate counts of individuals residing in identified housing units, or misclassification of identified housing units as vacant; and (4) under the Housing Coverage Check Program, the Bureau recanvassed about 15 million housing units, resulting in 313,000 housing units to its address list. GAO also noted the Postcensus Local Review Program had limited potential to augment housing unit counts, since: (1) it would recanvas substantially fewer units than the Housing Coverage Check did; (2) widespread government participation was unlikely; and (3) it would not review challenged housing unit counts recanvassed by the Housing Coverage Check. In addition, GAO noted that: (1) it was too early to say whether the 2-percent housing unit recanvassing goal for Postcensus Local Review was adequate; (2) most cities characterized the 15-working-day time frame for reviewing housing unit counts and submitting challenges as inadequate; (3) the Bureau provided limited feedback to governmental units on the results of its Precensus Local Review; and (4) the Bureau improved the accuracy and usefulness of the maps it provided to local governments for local review programs.

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