households in each tract, and whether it would be more effective for the Census Bureau to make use of estimation methods that borrow information across states.

Time for Planning

All of the innovations planned for first use in the 2000 census, along with the methods used in 1990, have received their final test in the 1998 census dress rehearsal in Sacramento, California; Columbia, South Carolina, and its 11 surrounding counties; and Menominee County, Wisconsin. The evaluation studies based on the dress rehearsal will provide the final, important input to the decisions the Census Bureau must make as to the final plans for the 2000 census. The 37 evaluation studies are well designed, covering all aspects of census taking. The panel considers it important that they be completed in time to inform the decisions for 2000.

Finally, there is clearly a need for the Census Bureau to have sufficient time to plan whether the 2000 census may or may not use statistical sampling in either or both nonresponse follow-up and integrated coverage measurement. The fact that the Bureau is now less than 15 months from the start of the 2000 census without a firm decision on that issue presents an enormous problem to the Bureau in planning and implementing the complex process that is the U.S. decennial census.

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