Hilda Dimmock Chief, Decennial Data Collection Branch Field Division February 23, 2010. Nonresponse Followup Discussion at the 2010 SDC Steering Committee Meeting.
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Chief, Decennial Data Collection Branch
February 23, 2010
Nonresponse Followup Discussion at the 2010 SDC Steering Committee Meeting
The Nonresponse Followup Operation, or NRFU for short, is the largest field operation conducted during the decennial census. It is the operation that the public generally connects to the “Census Taker.”
NRFU is conducted in areas where questionnaires are mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, or hand-delivered by census employees during the Update Leave (UL) operation. In both situations, residents are asked to fill out the questionnaire and return it by mail. If we do not receive a questionnaire, we send enumerators to the address.
The Type of Enumeration Areas covered by NRFU are:
Military regular housing (Mailout/Mailback areas that are part of military installations)Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) Overview
February 17-19 - Advance Letter for Update/Leave (U/L)
March 1 - April 2 – Questionnaires delivered in U/L areas
March 8-10 - Advance Letter for Mailout/Mailback areas
March 15-17 - Questionnaires delivered in Mailout/MailBack areas
March 22-24 - Reminder Postcard
**March 23 – April 20, Questionnaires mailed in Late Mailing phase.
APRIL 1, 2010 - CENSUS DAY
April 1-3 – Blanket Replacement Questionnaire delivered
April 6-10 – Targeted Replacement Questionnaire delivered
** A recent decision was made to add approximately 3 million addresses as a series of late mailings. These addresses consist of LUCA appeals and addresses that have been recently geocoded to census geography..NRFU Overview
The Decennial Systems Processing Office (DSPO) starts creating the initial workload on April 8, 2010.
The national workload estimate is approximately 49 million housing units (assumes 64% mail response rate, but we are currently assessing this.)
The national staffing is approximately 635,000 field staff (including RI). Includes 6,000 Field Operations Supervisors (FOS’s), 51,000 Crew Leaders (CL’s), 103,000 Crew Leader Assistants (CLA’s), and 475,000 enumerators.
There are 494 Local Census Offices (LCOs) in the US and Puerto Rico, and they report to the twelve regional census centers.NRFU Workload and Staffing
LCOs conduct recruiting in all areas so that staffing reflects the community.
LCOs will monitor the mail return rates daily after the data capture centers begin to report response shortly after March 17, 2010. These initial response rates are provided at the census tract level.
The information is used to monitor staffing needs and to increase recruiting and/or community awareness.NRFU Workload and Staffing
From 4/8 – 4/17, Assignment Areas (AAs) of approximately 40 addresses will be delineated by the Decennial Systems Processing Office and then sent to the Paper Based Operations Control System (PBOCS). PBOCS ingests the NRFU information between 4/12 – 4/21.
We will remove Late Mail Returns (LMRs) received between April 7 and April 21, 2010 automatically from the workload before it is deployed to the LCOs.
The NRFU workload is scheduled to be deployed to the LCOs on Thursday, April 22, 2010. Since this workload is received so close to enumerator training that begins April 27th, the LCO will be prepared to have staff available through the weekend to print and assemble all the materials needed to conduct the operation.NRFU Preparation
The operation control system provides the functionality to manage, monitor and control the various components of the operation. These include:
View or Print Reports
Assignment preparation includes printing address list pages, labels and other forms, attaching address labels to questionnaires, and assembling all of the materials into AA Binders including census block maps.
We will also print a listing of the mail returns that are received up to the time materials are ready to leave the LCO. These cases will be removed from the enumerator’s workload.
A typical day for a NRFU Enumerator includes: labels and other forms, attaching address labels to questionnaires, and assembling all of the materials into AA Binders including census block maps.
Enumerators will carry a Census shoulder bag, Census ID badge and will be instructed to always provide contact information to confirm their identity.
Preparing and planning work for that day. They are expected to work the most productive hours. In most cases, this will be afternoons, early evenings, and weekends when residents are likely to be home.
Using Census block maps to plan an efficient travel route for that day.
Assembling materials to ensure everything is available to do the job, including the labeled questionnaires sorted in the order of the planned visits to the addresses.
Making a personal visit for the initial contact at each NRFU address.NRFU Operation
Enumerators visit each address, verify that the address is located in the census block, determine its status as of census day (occupied, vacant, or did not exist as a housing unit and must be deleted), and complete a D-1(E), Enumerator Questionnaire. Questionnaires are also completed for additional housing units that enumerators discover while interviewing.
The D-1(E), Enumerator Questionnaire, has space for up to 5 household members. Enumerators use a D-1(E) SUPP, Enumerator Continuation Questionnaire, for additional household members up to 49.
Enumerators identify themselves to each respondent by displaying their Census ID badge and giving the respondent a D-1(F), Information Sheet, which contains the Confidentiality Notice.NRFU Operation
Enumerators leave a D-26, Notice of Visit, if no one is home. Callbacks are often necessary in order to conduct an interview with an eligible household member. Enumerators must understand and abide by callback rules (up to 3 in-person and 3 by phone in most instances).
If the housing unit appears to be vacant, they try to locate a respondent with knowledge of the Census Day status.
If the housing unit appears to be occupied, they make the next visit at a different time of the day. If anyone is available, inquire what is the best time to catch the occupants at home.
They meet daily with their Crew Leader or Crew Leader Assistant to report progress, discuss any problems, turn in completed work, and D-308s, Daily Pay Records.NRFU Operation
Quality Assurance Checks: home. Callbacks are often necessary in order to conduct an interview with an eligible household member. Enumerators must understand and abide by callback rules (up to 3 in-person and 3 by phone in most instances).
When enumerators begin working they are observed by the Crew Leader conducting actual work. If they don’t follow correct procedures, the Crew Leader will provide additional training. If they cannot correctly perform the duties, they will be released.
When enumerators turn in completed work, the Crew Leader is required to review it for completeness before forwarding the materials to the LCO.
When materials arrive at the LCO, staff will use checklists to ensure that completed work meets procedural standards. For any work that fails the office review, the Crew Leaders are notified and the work must be corrected. Work that passes the office review is checked into the control system and then shipped to a data capture center.NRFU Processing
At Check in, we enter data items such as HU status and POP count into the control system.
For questionnaires with POP count greater than five, we are able to align continuation forms to their parent form.
We also select a sample of cases for Reinterview during the Check in process. Case IDs of questionnaires selected for Reinterview (RI) are made available in the separate operation control system for NRFU Reinterview. In 2010, we have a separate assistant manager for quality assurance in each LCO who supervises a separate staff of office and field employees to conduct the Nonresponse Followup Reinterview operation.
After Check In, production questionnaires are ready to be Checked-Out for shipping to the data capture center.NRFU Processing
Once a Crew Leader District has reached a 95% completion rate, the LCO will take steps to close it out. Outstanding cases are assessed and reassigned as necessary to efficiently close out the work.
NRFU production is scheduled to end no later than July 10, 2010.NRFU Close-Out
Nonresponse Followup Reinterview is a separate field operation to ensure the data quality collected in NRFU by sampling approximately 5% of the eligible NRFU cases and conducting an independent interview.
There are several changes to the operation since Census 2000. These include:NRFU Reinterview
The Matching and Review Coding System (MaRCS) is an application that provides the ability to compare production against reinterview data to identify discrepancies.
The MaRCS utilizes a computer matching and clerical matching of the RI and production case data.NRFU Reinterview Overview
The NRFU RI workload is approximately 5% of the NRFU workload selected from eligible production cases at the point of check in to the operations control system.
Office staff or field enumerators attempt to contact the respondent and verify that the original enumerator contacted them.NRFU RI Overview
If the original respondent confirms that he/she was interviewed by a NRFU enumerator, the RI enumerator collects only the household roster.
If the original respondent does not confirm the original interview, the RI enumerator conducts an interview to collect complete data for all household members using the reinterview enumerator questionnaire.NRFU RI Overview
The NRFU Vacant Delete Check (VDC) operation begins within two weeks after the Nonresponse Followup operation is closed out. The latest it will begin is July 24, but it can start earlier in LCOs that complete their NRFU work ahead of the scheduled end date of July 10.
The purpose of the VDC operation is to conduct an independent interview at addresses coded as Vacants or Deletes during NRFU, and to contact addresses that were not included in the NRFU operation.
The universe for the NRFU Vacant/Delete Check (VDC) operation consists of three types of cases:NRFU Vacant Delete Check
Eligible vacant and delete cases from NRFU. two weeks after the Nonresponse Followup operation is closed out. The latest it will begin is July 24, but it can start earlier in LCOs that complete their NRFU work ahead of the scheduled end date of July 10.
Questionnaires returned by mail to the data capture centers, but failed data capture because they were blank or contained inadequate information.
New cases from New Construction, Count Review, Update/Leave adds that were not returned, and late adds from the U.S. Postal ServiceNRFU Vacant Delete Check
The estimated national workload for the NRFU VDC operation is estimated at 12.4 million.
The scheduled dates are from July 24 – August 25, 2010. However, on an LCO-by-LCO basis, we expect to be able to start VDC within two weeks after completing NRFU.
Just as they did in NRFU, enumerators will visit each address, determine its status as of Census Day (occupied, vacant, or delete), and complete a D-1(E), Enumerator Questionnaire.NRFU VDC Overview
Staying on schedule and within budget are key elements of the NRFU strategy. There are ten weeks to complete an estimated 49,000,000 million cases in NRFU. There is very little time for recovery, so work must stay on schedule.
In addition to the NRFU work, the LCOs will be conducting the separate NRFU Reinterview Operation, and other operations that overlap with NRFU for some of the time. For example, the Update Enumerate Operation includes 1.3 million Housing Units and is conducted between 3/22 and 5/29/2010 in 88 LCOs. Also, as you heard, the Group Quarters operation will be conducted during some of the same time period.Summary of NRFU Operations
The challenges of the NRFU Vacant Delete Check include having to complete a national workload of approximately 12,000,000 cases in less than a month. In addition, respondents may be more reluctant to cooperate in the followup operation.Summary of NRFU (continued)
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