Quality Assurance And The 2010 Census

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

After the mailout-mailback phase, we contact households for several different reasons. Each of the reasons singly don’t affect large proportions of the households, but they do ask for some time of the American public. All of them are attempts to make the 2010 Census as good as it can be.

It might be good to review them.

In the “coverage followup” operation, we call households to clarify answers about the number of people living at an address, based on answers they provided on the form.

In the “vacant delete check” operation, we make sure that a housing unit classified as vacant (or nonexistent) in fact fits that profile for April 1, 2010. If a unit was incorrectly classified, we complete an interview. We also visit housing units that were added to the census after the non-response follow up workload was initially identified.

In the “field verification” phase, we send out census workers to make sure a unit from which we have a completed form is indeed locatable, if it does not match an address in our file. For example, a household may have submitted a “Be Counted” form that did not contain an identification number linked back to our address file. We also use this operation to resolve suspected duplicate addresses contained within the same block.

These three initiatives are supplemented by numerous other processes to maximize the accuracy of the census.

As survey researchers, we know human error is possible, and we work hard to eliminate detectable errors. Please, if you are one of the small percent of homes visited during our quality assurance process for re-interview or verification, take a few minutes to help us ensure the quality of the 2010 Census.

We are charged with counting everyone, once, and only once, and in the right place. We check and double check to make sure we get it right.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to ask.census.gov

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34 Responses to Quality Assurance And The 2010 Census

  1. Mary D. Whitley says:

    Thank you and your workers for your tedious work in this venture. Despite the fact that there are some out there who insist on grousing over your efforts to be thorough, your work is appreciated by most Americans and deserves the cooperation of all. Your communication with the public has been excellent in my opinion!

  2. Dave says:

    I worked as a NRFU enumerator and our group just ran out of binders. How do I get involved with the next phase of work?

  3. Lynda Larsen says:

    I’m also interested on continuing census work and my crew turned in all our work last Friday. When will the next phase begin?

  4. Lauren says:

    I am a NRFU enumerator and I really enjoy it. I am able to to enumerate very difficult households that other enumerators could not penetrate! I would like to move up the Census chain of command. How can I do that?

  5. Anneli Kunze says:

    I’m pretty disappointed that I was hired as a part-time worker, and because of that, I was singled out for not putting in full-time hours on the crew level. I was one of the first enumerators to be cut, and apparently there is no intention of allowing me to participate in any other phases of the census. I did a good job. When I was on the job, I was quick and efficient. What a lousy way to thank somebody.

  6. Counted Citizen says:

    Question: I have gotten a voicemail with a case number asking me to call the census three times (same casenumber), to a number that I did NOT use on my census form.
    I am assuming someone put the wrong number on their form along with other irregularities and I am being called about this.
    EACH TIME I have called back, given my case number, and have been asked to verify my home address and the number that I put on my census form. Each time I was told that it didn’t match and I explained that I got a call at a different number (not what I put on the form). I was told that a note was made in my file and I would be contacted by a Census employee.
    How do I stop receiving these calls and ensure that the Census does follow up on the person who actually put my number on their form?

  7. Jason says:

    Census is Socialism at its best. Can’t wait to see what changes are made to the country due to this intrusion. Census should count numbers and that is all. Not race, gender, or any other thing. No wonder racism is still in this country because the census asks racist questions. We are all americans and that is all that is needed. Not white, negro, spanish, mexican or any other Nationality, those questions are not needed. I wonder why all the census workers doing their harassment in my neighborhood haven’t came to double check my answers yet even though they have parked on my yard. I only filled out 10 percent of my form.

  8. Amy says:

    I am a Crew Leader and have had a very positive experience. The enumerators I have worked with are dedicated and responsible. The paperwork can be a bit overwhelming but I am continuing on for the next operation.

  9. Dan says:

    I am a NRFU enumerator and I really enjoy it. I am able to to enumerate very difficult households that other enumerators could not penetrate! I would like to move up the Census chain of command. How can I do that?

  10. Maiasaura says:

    When will the next phase begin? Maybe never for most of us. They are currently advertising to hire all new people (at $13.85 and hour) to do VDC and Early Close-out because they think they don’t want the same people verifying the info as those who collected it.

  11. geneo says:

    Well, I got a call from the CL to turn-in my badge and bag since the NRFU operation was finished. Will prior experienced enumerators get called FIRST for the next operation (Vacant/Delete Check)?? Enumerator Wanting to Stay Working w/ 2010 Census…

  12. Jeff says:

    Same thing here Jason! I didn’t fill out all my form and I never got a visit.

  13. geneo says:

    Maiasaura, Have you been released from the NRFU Operation for Lack of Work or are you still on Standby? The Census Website shows the VDC(Vacant/Delete Check)Operation running from July 24th thru Aug 25th, doesn’t mention Early Close-out? I was released yesterday from NRFU due to Lack of Work, I’m hoping they will call me back for these last other operations… I know they have alot of enumerators to choose from, but hope they take in consideration the experienced one’s. Good Luck to you also.
    Enumerator who wants to stay till the end…

  14. claire says:

    It is my understanding the vacant delete check will use experienced enumerators. No time to hire and train new people ! Call the local office and talk with the AMFO to TRY to get picked for the next phase. Good luck!

  15. ejs says:

    If you were one of the average, patriotic, and loyal, Americans that turned in your Census form, you will be getting a call from the Census Bureau (ph 866-851-2010). I hope it upsets you as much as it did me.
    This is so wrong of our country to do this. This is a total invasion of our privacy. This is a follow up of the information you have already reported on your returned Census form. This has never been done in the past census collection and is a total abuse of the tax dollars that fund the census process. Everyone should protest this action and should report the abuse to your local and federal politicians.
    Most of the questions are concerning RACE. This is exactly what all the money was spent on the advertising campaign that promoted the census that it was not supposed to be about. This is the exact kind of double-talk that most Americans are upset with our politicians and our government has been propagated for the last several decades. This needs to be brought forefront in all political arenas.
    Not that the census abuse is so important, but that our government continues to spend money to say one thing, then does another. If they won’t do the job that they say they will do, then we need a policy in place to fire them. After-all, we are supposed to be who they work for, AKA, their bosses.
    I just finished talking to these people on the phone under the threat of penalty from the law. This is harassment for doing the patriotic duty of filling out the census form that the average American has no disagreement in doing so. But that is the average loyal and patriotic citizen that wants to obligingly, and wants to contribute their information to the process. The problem lies with those that don’t fill out the census anyway, not those of us that do.
    This needs to be screamed about at the tops of our lungs that our tax dollars are being wasted on such an abuse of this process. I feel it is my obligation to send this response out to all on my email list and have them forward this on to all on their email lists.
    I personally would like to see this action of survey taking be dissolved and that all those on the payroll of this survey lose their jobs and all those responsible for such abuse of our rights and tax dollars be punished. I made this statement to the supervisor that I talked to at the end of the survey. At which point he stated that he thought this was a little harsh.
    I also contend that it is also a little harsh that this kind of abuse is being tolerated.
    I have also went to their blog site and made this statement as well.
    *******
    Of course this insert will most likely be deleted from their site since it will be detrimental to them keeping their jobs and it will also fuel retaliation from the public. So I hope at least a few of those reading Facebook will get this after being forwarded here.

  16. geneo says:

    Thanks Claire for the info… I will be calling the LCO and let them know I’m ready to go anytime for the VDC operation.

  17. Virginia says:

    Since I couldn’t find the email address of the director,I will post my complaints here.I did not receive a Census form in the mail so I made several phone calls searching for one.I finally found one at City Hall.I filled it in and mailed it back on April 13,2010.
    On June 14th I opened my door to go out to the store and found a note from the census bureau saying that they came by again to interview me,and that they would be back in a day or two.
    I called the phone number on the note and talked to the man whose name was on the note.He said he was coming back to ask me two questions.I asked him what those two questions were and he said they were how many people live at this address and what their ages are.I told him those questions were answered on the form that I mailed to them on April 13,2010
    He went into a tirade about they were checking for Quality Assurance.I said “Oh you’re checking to see if I lied on the form.” I flatly told him that I was not telling him another thing except that I was hanging up,so he said he would not bother me again.
    I certainly hope he does not come back again,if he does I will ask him ONE time to leave.After that I will call the sheriff and have him arrested and charged with trespassing.

  18. Good Luck with that Virginia. Enumerators will leave after only being asked once, but if you threaten (as it seems you are doing) then they will be the ones calling the Sheriff on YOU. You will be prosecuted for assault on a Federal Employee. I would be very careful and respectful if I were you. These people are out there making sure this huge undertaking gets done correctly and if you impede the process I hope they uphold the fine against you for refusal to participate. If you have such a problem with it, move to another country.

  19. Virginia says:

    Nowhere in my original post did I make threats,assault a federal employee,and I certainly have not impeded the process.
    Since you are the one making threats and accusations against me while trying to intimidate me,I will search for the director’s email address or I will find the correct phone number and report you.

  20. Sherry says:

    Did you just copy what Lauren said on June 9 above? That’s really original.

  21. Sherry says:

    I too was called from someone at that number. He could not give me a badge or ID# and said he was working for the Office of Management & Budget and that this was a survey. A survey with all the same questions of the census? I cannot fine that survey on the Census website nor can I find any mention of a survey from the OMB. That office is under a direct iniative from President Obama’s office. I refused to answer. Legally we only need to verify our address and the number of people living at our address. No other info is needed.

  22. Micah says:

    AAACensus Bureau numbers are:
    •English: 866-851-2010
    •Spanish: 866-859-2010
    •Russian: 866-848-2010
    •Korean: 866-874-2010
    •Vietnamese: 866-863-2010
    •Chinese: 866-881-2010
    •TDD: 866-784-2010
    Through mid-August, the Census Bureau will call households who have responded to the 2010 Census if we need to clarify any answers about the number of people living at the address. These calls are simply to clarify answers that have been given and to make sure we count everyone once, only once and in the right place. Not every household will receive a call. The Census Bureau estimates that we may need to call about 8 million households over the four-month period. If you get a call:
    •The caller will identify themselves as working for the U.S. Census Bureau and that the purpose of their call is to help the Census Bureau take the most accurate census and to ensure we have counted everyone at the right address.
    •The caller ID will likely show “U.S. Census Bureau.” If this text is not supported (such as on a cell phone), then the inbound toll-free number should show up. The exact number depends on the language skill for which the call is made. If a household would like to confirm they have been contacted by the Census Bureau, they could call one of the possible numbers above and use the eight-digit case identification number they were provided to complete the interview. The interview will take approximately 10 minutes.
    •2010 Census takers will not ask you for your social security number, bank account number or credit card number.
    •2010 Census takers never solicit for donations and will never contact you by e-mail.
    •2010 Census takers will not ask about your citizenship status.
    •The information collected over the phone, as well as provided on the census form or to a census worker in-person, is kept confidential by law, Title 13, U.S. Code – which is the same law that protects all information provided to census employees.
    •If the interviewer calls and nobody answers the phone, he or she will leave a message requesting the household to return the call. In addition, a specific case identification number will be provided so the household can call back and complete the interview.

  23. chad says:

    I am an enumerator, and I think that you should really re-consider your methods on verification. I have had a number of people, (three for sure plus some other vague complaints that could fit in here), complain to me over that past month that they felt harassed during the last census because after they were visited by the enumerator they were contacted again multiple times for verification purposes. Two of the refusals I have been sent to follow-up on were for that reason. The VDC verification / Add verification is especially puzzling as I have been required to take have both my CLA and CL verify those addresses in addition to the Info-Comm that was submitted and the documentation on the EQ. I understand the need for an accurate count but it should also be as non-intrusive as possible.

  24. I’m an enumerator that lives in an area where up to 80% of our NRFU EQs were ‘Vacant, usual home elsewhere.” This should be interesting to see how we verify the vacancy status of a housing unit again. I suppose I won’t be handed the same areas that I originally worked!

  25. Marie says:

    It seems to me that the inefficiency of the government is showing itself once again. Our “leaders” are great on talk and lacking in cohesive, efficient and effective action. We too received numerous phone calls to verify what we answered on our form, which was returned dutifully within days of receipt. In our case, race was not the issue. The issue was relationship. We are a gay household with college age kids. My answers did not fit into the government’s list of relationships (biological child, adopted, or step-child). They didn’t even have “other” as a choice. Then, they wanted to know the relationship between my partner and I. Again, there was no “box” to check off. The Kentucky based call center employee was not amused when I repeatedly advised that my life, my children, and my significant other do not qualify under any of the government’s neat little check off boxes. How are we supposed to stand-up and be counted when we are treated as if we do not exist? I don’t expect many of you to care about this comment as you may not agree with my lifestyle but last I checked I was a taxpayer doing the same thing as everyone else – trying to get by, pay my bills and give my kids a better life. Funny, I am from a state that allows civil unions for same sex partners. So the state would want my family properly counted for…….Shame on the Obama administration for not being forward thinking on this issue and once again not living up to his rhetoric. It starts with the small things…..

  26. WHO CARES says:

    I dont answer questions for free,but i did fill out and send in all my information, then i get called how many times filling my business answer machine up with bogus messages and bribes left at my door step, a note saying 4 pack of beer for calling this number and answering a few questions the same day i found the note the neighbor came over telling me someone came to their house asking questions about who lived here, who i was my name etc etc etc, and a your telling me all this information is confidential yeah right it is ,why dont you waste some more money having people running around asking for private information just like the thieves on the internet that steal identitys .It really pisses me off that when i take the time to fill out your surveys to spend more money in iraq and hunting down someone we cant find that never had any weapons and more and more soldiers die each day .

  27. Are you kidding me, what are you going to report? I didn’t make one threat, I gave correct information on what would happen if ANYONE threatened or assaulted a Federal Employee. Check your news stories, people are being arrested every day for it. It clearly states IF you threaten, IF you impede the process I HOPE the fines and penalties are upheld against you. So where exactly did I make a threat??? That is the problem, people read what they WANT to read and see what they WANT to see instead of what is actually written. Seriously, get over yourself and do your patriotic duty and quit griping and complaining just to hear your own voice. YOU are one of the people costing the taxpayers extra money in this endeavor by being difficult and stubborn.

  28. Bob says:

    Shame on you people! Enumerators and Quality people are trying to do the job that you, and they, paid for with their taxes, and they have to put up with irate people who can’t be bothered to help their community or their neighbors. I had a call yesterday from a woman who was very upset because for some reason her block was missed. She wanted to make sure that she and everyone else was counted because she realized how that effects her community by distribution of tax dollars. I told her how nice it was to speak to someone with something positive to say about the Census and not griping because they were interrupted while watching Judge Judy and Lets Make a Deal.
    And don’t you know that every charge card you use, every frequent shopper card, and just about everything else you do takes more information than the Census? Don’t give me this privacy bull. YOU have given out much more information to retailers than we ever ask. And you call yourself proud Americans? Again, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  29. Deanna says:

    It absolutely upset me as it did you – kudos to you for posting

  30. Lisa says:

    I am having the same experience as ESJ above. I refuse to answer the questions by phone as I have already completed and returned the form. This is a complete wast of taxpayer money and my time. They are up to calling my house 2 x a day! It is an invasion of privacy. When I called my local census office to complain they agreed and called the main office for me to have my name removed from the call list, the main office said they would continue to call until I answered the questions. Even my local census office was frustrated and did not understand this process. this is crazy- am I still in America???

  31. Lisa B says:

    I feel the same way. I answered their questions and returned the form like I was suppose to. Now someone calls every day sometimes up to 8 times a day. When I talked to the person the first time I was on my way out the door, he said he needed to verify my answers. I said so you think I lied on the form???? If you are going to doubt what people put down then you need to go to everyone’s house and do it in person. I have talked to them yet and I’m not going to. If they are waiting to finish the census for my “verification” of my answers then the 2010 census will never be complete.

  32. treuemax says:

    I’m also interested on continuing census work and my crew turned in all our work last Friday. When will the next phase begin?

  33. Dawn in TN says:

    wow! why is it a direct link to PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did he call you personally!!Someone needs to stop drinking the HATERADE!!hun get off the computer,stop watching FOX’S NEWS

  34. Field Enumerator says:

    NRFU VDC (Vacant Delete Check) operation just started in our area, but maybe hasn’t in your’s.
    http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/2010-census-progress.php
    Call your LCO and check. Good Luck.

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