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2020 Census In-Office Address Canvassing (IOAC) Operational Assessment Report

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The 2020 Census Address Canvassing (AdCan) operation implemented methods to improve and refine the U.S. Census Bureau’s address list in advance of the 2020 Census enumeration. The Census Bureau needs the address and physical location of each living quarter in the United States and Puerto Rico to conduct and tabulate the census. An accurate list ensures that residents receive an invitation to participate in the census, and that the census counts residents in the correct location. To support this effort, the Census Bureau developed innovative methodologies for updating the Master Address File (MAF)/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System throughout the decade.

The 2020 Census AdCan operation included a suite of both field and office components that validated and/or updated the address list and map data used for the 2020 Census enumeration. These components are referred to as In-Office Address Canvassing (IOAC) and In-Field Address Canvassing (IFAC). The IOAC conducted a full canvass of the United States and Puerto Rico and IFAC only canvassed areas within the United States that IOAC identified as needing fieldwork.

During the 2010 Census, AdCan field staff, referred to as listers, traversed almost every block in the United States and Puerto Rico, comparing their observations on the ground with the Census Bureau’s address list. Listers verified or corrected addresses that were on the list, added new addresses to the list, and deleted addresses that no longer existed. Listers also collected map spot locations (latitude/longitude coordinates) for each structure and added new streets.

Historically, the Census Bureau considered this method the best way to establish a complete address list, but it was very expensive. For the 2010 Census AdCan field operation, 8,213 crew leaders managed 111,105 listers during production listing and 3,083 crew leaders managed 37,784 listers during quality control listing for a cost of $443,591,299 (Address List Operations Implementation Team, 2012). Additional costs were incurred for field infrastructure and information technology infrastructure support.

Research showed that this method is not always the most effective way to update the address frame. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). Advancements in technology enabled continual address and spatial updates to occur throughout the decade. The availability of up-to-date high quality, high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery, and street view tools, along with multiple sources of address information, provided a viable tool to reduce fieldwork in many parts of the United States, especially in areas that have been residentially stable.

This document provides both qualitative and quantitative information about the IOAC components of the 2020 Census AdCan operation. The qualitative information is based on insight from stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of the operation. The Geography Division (GEO), the Decennial Statistical Studies Division (DSSD), and the Decennial Census Management Division (DCMD) provided quantitative data, summarized in this assessment.

Overall, IOAC was successful: it greatly reduced the amount of the nation that required in-person canvassing; it updated the address frame ahead of the 2020 Census; and provided a mechanism to validate addresses submitted as part of the 2020 LUCA program.

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