Census 2000 Completes Initial Work on All Known Housing Units

The nonresponse follow-up phase of Census 2000 has been officially completed, U.S. Commerce Secretary William M. Daley and Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt announced late last month.

Two-thirds of all U.S. households returned their census forms by April, leaving about 42 million housing units to be visited by one of the 460,000 census takers during the nonresponse follow-up phase. Census takers began their fieldwork April 27, and all 12 census regions completed their work in this phase by June 27, ahead of the bureau's target date of today.

All 120 million housing units on the Census Bureau's national address list have been accounted for.

However, Prewitt said the census is still not complete.

“Through September, we will conduct a Quality Counts program that will ultimately contact some 12 million households — about a tenth of the national total,” he said.

These households sent back incomplete questionnaires or questionnaires containing discrepancies. Prewitt said census workers have already begun contacting these households.

Direct marketers often use census information to fill in missing pieces of large consumer databases and for market research.

The field staff this week also began double-checking addresses classified earlier as vacant or nonexistent, or for which a blank questionnaire was received. In addition, the field staff began contacting new housing units constructed immediately before Census Day on April 1 — and possibly not included on the national address list.

At the same time, Prewitt said, work continues on the Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation, an independent quality-check survey of 314,000 housing units across the country. Its results will be matched against those of the census to develop the most accurate numbers possible for all nonapportionment purposes, such as redistricting and distribution of federal program funds. Initial fieldwork for this survey is scheduled to be completed in September.

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