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Imputation research for the 2020 Census1


For the 2010 Census, the count imputation procedure filled in housing unit status and size for the small proportion of addresses (less than one-half percent) where this information was unknown. The small proportion was due in part to an extensive nonresponse followup (NRFU) field operation geared towards resolving addresses so that a status and count were known.

For 2020, the Census Bureau is researching two changes to the NRFU field operation to reduce cost. The first is the possible use of administrative records (AR) to provide a status and count for some nonresponding addresses. The second is potentially reducing the number of visits made to nonresponding addresses. Although using AR will help resolve some of the remaining unresolved cases, the proportion of addresses in need of count imputation may be higher in 2020 due to the reduction in NRFU fieldwork.

The 2010 count imputation model was developed assuming a small amount of missing data. This research looks at potential count imputation models to handle increased missingness. The paper also articulates the downstream characteristic imputation ramifications from the same missing data challenge.



Pritts M., Census 2010: Overview of Count Imputation, DSSD 2010 Decennial Census Memorandum Series J-08, 2010.


Morris D.S., , Keller A., and Clark B., An Approach for Using Administrative Records to Reduce Contacts in the 2020 Census, in JSM Proceedings, Government Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association, 2015, 3278-3292.


Morris D.S., A Comparison of Methodologies for Classification of Administrative Records Quality for Census Enumeration, in JSM Proceedings, Survey Research Methods Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association, 2014, 1729-1743.


Konicki S., and Adams T., Adaptive Design Research for the 2020 Census, in JSM Proceedings, Government Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association, 2015, 1703-1714.


Czajka J., Can Administrative Records Be Used to Reduce Nonresponse Bias? The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science January 645 (2013), 171-184.


Ennis S.R., , Porter S.R., , Noon J.M., and Zapata E., When Race and Hispanic Origin Reporting are Discrepant Across Administrative Records and Third Party Sources: Exploring Methods to Assign Responses. Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications Working Paper \#2015-08. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015.


Walejko G., , Keller A., , Dusch G., and Miller P.V., 2020 Research and Testing: 2013 Census Test Assessment, U.S. Census Bureau, 2014.


Keller A., , Fox T., and Mule V.T., Analysis of Administrative Record Usage for Nonresponse Followup in the 2014 Census Test. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015.