Census count moves ahead, Collier, Lee illegal immigrants and inmates included

Roughly half million U.S. Census workers who are door-to-door to get questionnaires for approximately 48 million homes that did not return the 2010 Census survey. The effort runs  through July 10.

Photo by ELYSA DELCORTO

Roughly half million U.S. Census workers who are door-to-door to get questionnaires for approximately 48 million homes that did not return the 2010 Census survey. The effort runs through July 10.

Here is the U.S. Census timeline for 2010 and its quality assurance measures:

■ Group Quarters Enumeration - April 1 to May 14

A census operation designed to count people living or staying in places such as college residence halls, skilled-nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks and correctional facilities.

■ Military Group Quarters Enumeration - March 30 to May 14

A part of the Group Quarters Enumeration operation conducted on military bases and carried out in coordination with the military base point of contact to count military personnel.

■ Nonresponse Followup - May 1 to July 10

Census operation where census workers visit housing units that didn’t return a completed questionnaire by mail to conduct a personal interview to obtain the required information.

■ Nonresponse Followup Reinterview - Going on now

A quality check operation designed to ensure that the production enumerator followed field procedures, and to identify enumerators who intentionally or unintentionally produced data errors, so that work can be redone.

■ Coverage Follow-up - April 26 to Aug. 13

A census operation designed to ensure that no person is left out or counted in more than one place in the census, and to clarify responses previously collected to improve the accuracy of the census.

■ Vacant Delete Check - July 24 to Aug. 25

A census operation where census workers visit addresses that workers recorded in nonresponse follow-up as either vacant or not a housing unit on Census Day (April 1).

■ Field Verification - Aug. 6 to Sept. 3

A census operation where census workers verify the existence of units that had been geocoded to a census block, but didn’t match an address in the master address file.

To learn more about the 2010 Census: http://2010.census.gov

— Five weeks into its door-to-door campaign, U.S. Census officials say the work is ahead of schedule and under budget.

“As of Sunday, we completed over 84 percent of the entire workload,” U.S. Census Bureau director Robert M. Groves said in a statement.

Slightly more than 72 percent of U.S. households believed to be occupied mailed back their 2010 Census forms by the May 16 deadline — matching 2000 numbers.

However, that left roughly 48 million homes that needed to be surveyed by nearly a half-million census workers.

Meanwhile some local census offices, including the Fort Myers office, which covers Collier and parts of Lee, are entering the final phases of their nonresponse follow-up workload.

Southwest Florida is ahead of schedule, a U.S. Census spokeswoman said.

Also recently completed was the Group Quarters Enumeration, which took place from April 1 to May 14. That portion of the count was aimed at counting people living or staying in places such as college residence halls, skilled-nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks and correctional institutions.

Collier County sheriff’s spokeswoman Michelle Batten said the Collier jail was counted April 5.

The Census Bureau then swung by the Lee County jail.

“The U.S. Census Bureau sent a team, who worked with the Lee County sheriff’s classification office to complete the census of the jail,” Lee sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Koller said.

For safety reasons, most detainees are counted through administrative records, rather than forms being passed out.

And in accordance with U.S. Census policy, illegal immigrants were among those counted.

According to Collier sheriff’s officials, there currently are 150 confirmed illegal immigrants in Collier County jails.

In Lee County, sheriff’s officials said the exact number of illegal aliens within the county’s jail is unknown, because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement _ not the LCSO _ actually determines who is in the country illegally.

“We provide them the information and they determine how much we receive for who they determine is illegal,” said Koller, adding that in 2009 the county was reimbursed $243,376 by the federal government.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Nicole Navas said that ICE has 2,047 illegal aliens in custody within the Miami district, which includes Collier and Lee counties.

But with some incarcerated people being counted without their knowledge, how does the census prevent a double count?

“The Census Bureau is conducting a coverage check to ensure that no person is left out of the census, or counted in more than one place,” census regional spokeswoman Pam Page-Bellis said.

So in addition to the door-to-door visits for the 2010 survey’s nonresponders, Page-Bellis said census workers are implementing three additional operations to cover their bases.

In the “coverage follow-up” operation, Page-Bellis said census staff calls households to clarify answers about the number of people living at an address, based on answers they provided on the form.

During the “vacant delete check” operation, staff will make sure that a housing unit classified as vacant (or nonexistent) in fact fits that profile as of April 1.

“If a unit was incorrectly classified, we complete an interview. We also visit housing units that were added to the census after the nonresponse follow up workload was initially identified,” Groves wrote on his blog Tuesday.

Lastly, in the “field verification” phase, census workers are slated to go out in the field to make sure that if a survey was received from a specific address, that the unit does exist and matches the address on file.

“We also use this operation to resolve suspected duplicate addresses contained within the same block,” Groves wrote. “As survey researchers, we know human error is possible, and we work hard to eliminate detectable errors.”

__ Connect with Elysa Batista at www.naplesnews.com/staff/elysa_batista

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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