The Next Operation – “Group Quarters’ Advance Visit”

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

The Census Bureau has for some time classified living quarters for large numbers of unrelated individuals as “group quarters.” These include dormitories, prisons, assisted living facilities, military barracks, and group homes for those with physical or mental disabilities.

These units offer special challenges for accurate enumeration. They generally have some management personnel on site, both for administering the assignment of persons to units and for security purposes. There is often administrative review of a request to contact one of the residents. Generally, the residents have communal eating facilities, and the distribution of mail is centralized in the facility.

In Census 2000, we developed a separate list of these facilities, distinct from the address list for housing units and apartments. We found that we picked up a lot of duplicates through keeping two lists, which led to large efforts to un-duplicate the returns. This decade we’ve integrated the list of group quarters with the rest of the living quarters.

From the beginning of February to the middle of March, a census taker will visit each group quarters’ facility. There are over 200,000 such units around the country. The primary goal is to inform a contact person (whom we identified in the fall of 2009) of the upcoming enumeration, address privacy and confidentiality concerns related to personal identifiable information, and identify security issues, such as restricted access.

In addition, our staff will obtain an agreed-upon date and time to conduct the enumeration and an expected April 1 population count. The information collected during the interview is used to prepare the correct amount of materials needed to conduct the enumeration at the facility. The information helps determine the size of teams that need to be created, the identification of necessary language abilities, and the identification of any safety and security concerns.

These visits permit us to judge whether the best data would be obtained through reports of the management personnel or through individual reports of the residents. For some settings (e.g., health care facilities) the residents may not be able to provide their own information, and administrative records can be used to enumerate the population. If the judgment is made that administrative records are best used, then the management personnel will take the same oath of confidentiality as our census takers, before assisting us. If individual reporting is chosen as the option, we have a special form for individual response.

Our staff will leave posters or educational materials at the facility that describe how the census will be taken in the facility.

Based on this operation, we will prepare all the materials needed to do the enumeration of the facility in March.


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5 Responses to The Next Operation – “Group Quarters’ Advance Visit”

  1. HansG says:

    thanks, again interesting how you solve these issues. Look forward to more posts explaining all the nitty-gritty in accessible language!

  2. Someone from and claiming a census taker from Kitsap County, WA Census Bureau called me this morning Feb 16th, 2010 and wanting to set up an appointment to sit-in interview. I told this person that I am aware of the census and just waiting for my mail questionaire to arrive in March 2010, and that I am not aware of this type of appointment for interview for my adult family home. This afternoon, he came by without appointment and insisted of getting an interview about my home. I felt so uncomfortable of him showing up at my door and quoting me that it is by law that I need to give him an interview. I made him aware of my concerns and told him that he can mail any questionaires the bureau needs and that it’s very inappropriate for him to imply non-compliance from me. Do to this uneasy event, I just googled this site and now just become aware that this “Group Qarters” interview. I will be passing on this information to Adult Family Home Providers in WA State and be aware of this type and seperate interview from your bureau. So, please don’t give us no intimidating ways to get the information you need, as we are more than helpful and cooperative to keep our home safe for our vulnerable adults in the community.

  3. S. Smith says:

    It amazes me that Census takers are paid such a varying wage depending on the areas they happen to work in….I noticed that the rural areas, where one would have to travel further to do their job are paid less than the more populated and more accessible areas. I would think that they would all be paid the same no matter where they were doing the census taking. Note that if you live in Silverdale, WA. you make much less than those who live in Palo Alto, California, I believe there is almost a $9.00 difference per hour. Hmmm, makes one wonder why.

  4. LEE says:

    I refuse to take part in the census if you are going to count illegals. They have no rights in this country and should not be counted. In essence they will make a difference in our government. Since they have broken laws and are here having violated these laws, they have no right to be counted. On the other hand, if you plan to use their whereabouts to find and deport them I will be quite happy to help.

  5. Tom Elliot says:

    Interesting read. And great move from the Census Bureau. Looking forward to your visit.

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