Report to Congress: October 1, 2000


The establishment of 520 Local Census Offices (LCOs) throughout the country was a key component of the 2000 census. This report details the observations by the Census Monitoring Board of 51 Local Census Offices located throughout the country and representing all 12 Census Regions. The visits were made between March and July 2000.

LCOs engaged in a number of activities before, during and following Census Day (April 1) that were critical to the enumeration process. To enumerate the nation's 120 million housing units, managers and staff of the LCOs conducted various operations including (but not limited to):

  • Updates to the Master Address File;
  • Outreach and promotional activities with local officials and community leaders;
  • Recruitment of enumerators to go door-to-door where residents did not receive or return a census form;
  • Group quarters and service-based population counts (such as nursing homes, college dorms, military barracks, etc.);
  • Printing of assigned census tract maps;
  • Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) and;
  • Verification of every housing unit an enumerator deleted or found vacant (known as Coverage Improvement Follow-Up).

Most of the Local Census Offices selected by the Board comprised a high percentage of traditionally undercounted communities, as determined by the Census Bureau's Planning Database. The Planning Database used 1990 census data to identify potentially hard-to-count census tracts: tracts that had low mail response rates; tracts in inherently minority communities; tracts that were linguistically isolated; and tracts in low-income areas. Historically, these factors contributed to a differential undercount during the decennial census.

While Board staff visited primarily urban LCOs, they also visited several offices in rural areas and one on an American Indian reservation. As a result, Board staff were able to observe a diverse cross-section of communities around the country. To ensure professionalism and consistency, Board staff were trained for the interview process and each side of the Board used one set of questions during LCO visits.

Beginning in March 2000 and continuing through the NRFU period of July 2000, Board staff visited most LCOs three times (each office was visited at least once). Board staff met with Local Census Office Managers and, occasionally, Area Managers from the Regional Census Center. LCO managers often volunteered to bring their managers to the meetings such as the Assistant Managers for Field Operations, Recruiting and Administration. Board staff also observed field work in two LCOs in each region (24 observations). Each LCO meeting was limited to approximately one hour and field observations usually lasted at least two hours.

Board and LCO staffs discussed the status of a broad range of operations issues. The Board was very interested in the Hard-to-Enumerate Action Plans (a blueprint of the area's enumeration challenges), whether or not the LCO had such a plan, and if the local office had worked in cooperation with local Complete Count Committees in developing the plan.

The LCO visits furnished the Board with a local-level understanding of the preparation and implementation of the Bureau's enumeration plan. Additionally, Board members and staff met with community leaders, local elected officials and planning professionals to assess their interactions with the Census Bureau before and during the process. Some of their observations and comments are included in the LCO summaries.

At the time of the Board staff's first visit, LCOs were actively recruiting and training enumerators. During the second round of visits, Board staff focused on field operations. The Board also expanded its monitoring efforts by observing enumerators as they visited each household and attempted to contact those who did not receive or return a census questionnaire. The third and final visit took place during the completion of NRFU and the beginning of the Coverage Improvement Program.

Summaries of each of the 51 LCOs follow, categorized alphabetically by state within each region. Each LCO report includes a primary fact sheet and separate summaries from the two sides of the Board. The fact sheets include information on the initial mailback response rate (as of April 18), the Non-Response Follow-Up workload (number of housing units that did not return a census form), the LCO type, a geographic description, a pay rate chart and a NRFU enumerator staffing level line graph.1

The NRFU workload number is fluid because each office continually updated the Master Address File. The number given is as of April 18, 2000 and should not be considered the final decennial number. The actual housing unit count for the LCO will not be determined until after the final census numbers are distributed beginning in April 2001.

LCOs were categorized as Type A, B, C, or D depending upon each office's methods of enumeration. Type A LCOs were entirely mailout/mailback and contained mainly urban areas that traditionally have been the hardest to enumerate. Type B offices were entirely mailout/mailback, situated in mainly urban and suburban areas. Type C offices were in more rural locales than Type B offices and conducted both mailout/mailback and update/leave enumeration. Type D offices covered the most rural jurisdictions using primarily list/enumerate but may have also included mailout/mailback, update/leave and update/enumerate areas.2

This report references many of the terms used by the Census Bureau in its operations of the 2000 Census. An alphabetical list of terms used throughout the report can be found in the Appendix, beginning on page 231, as well as organizational charts of an LCO and RCC office on pages 236 and 237, respectively.


1 Mail response rates, NRFU workloads, and pay rates reflect information shared with the General Accounting Office in May by the Census Bureau. NRFU enumerator staffing levels were obtained from a July 12, 2000 Census Bureau letter to House Census Subcommittee Chairman Dan Miller.

2 See glossary of terms for more complete descriptions of types of enumeration.



Atlanta Region

Boston Region

Charlotte Region

Chicago Region

Dallas Region

Denver Region

Detroit Region

Kansas City Region

Los Angeles Region

New York Region

Philadelphia Region

Seattle Region


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U.S. Census Monitoring Board
Presidential Members
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Phone: (301) 457-9900
Fax: (301) 457-9901