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PROCEEDINGS, THIRD WORKSHOP Panel to Review the 2000 Census
Before we begin, I want to emphasize, first, the panel remains open to the examination of any scientific methodology that it believes would be useful in carrying out its task.
Secondly, the panel remains open to all points of view. Although we have done a good deal of work to understand the census operations, we have not yet made any decisions about the evaluation we have an obligation to perform. We hope this workshop today will help us in that endeavor.
Third, we are all perhaps too much aware of the fact, which I think will become clear during this discussion, that the data required for effective research on these issues will not be available publicly until the material has been put together by the Bureau. We are also very much aware that the Bureau has been undertaking a tremendous operational effort and it is getting things together as fast as it can, but it always takes a good deal of time. It is a monumental task. On the other hand, I am sure that our census friends fully understand that it is in the public interest for us all to have the information needed for effective evaluation of the decisions that we will have to make.
Finally, I would just like to take a moment to compliment Ken Prewitt and the rest of the Census Bureau staff for your cooperation in putting together this meeting and the previous meetings and for your professionalism and openness, and for your assistance, really, in helping us to understand what is going on in the census. We will start by having Howard Hogan introduce these issues. The group around the table has a whole set of papers that develop the methodology— of course; the numbers are not there, because they are not available yet. That is where we are starting.
OPENING REMARKS OF DIRECTOR PREWITT
DR. PREWITT: Just a word or two, if I may, Janet, and John [Thompson] will spend a few minutes bringing everyone up to date on the operations before we turn to Howard. I would like to put some introductory comments in a very, very broad context.
Some of you who have good memories will know that after the 1990 census the term “failed census” was fairly frequently used. It was used loosely, that is, without defining what constituted a successful and/or a failed census. Indeed, clearly, 1990 was not a failed census; a failed census would be one that was not used, could not be used, and, clearly, 1990 was used to reapportion, to redistrict, and as the base for intercensal estimates and everything else, so clearly it was not a failed census.
Nevertheless, the nomenclature stuck a bit and that is a very bad thing, it seems to me, for the Census Bureau and for the statistical system, to have an operation such as the 1990 census so described. It was not a failed census, not only in terms of the fact that it was used but it was not a failed census even operationally, even though the [net] undercount, as we know, should [not] have moved back up, having declined for the last two censuses.
But it does seem to me that it is very, very important in 2000 to bury that label once and for all, because it is simply, as I say, not healthy for the statistical system,