2007 American Community Survey Methods Panel Testing, 28302-28305 [E6-7423]

Download as PDF 28302 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 16, 2006 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES indicators, and contribute critical source data for current estimates of gross domestic product. State and local governments rely on the economic census as a unique source of comprehensive economic statistics for small geographic areas for use in policymaking, planning, and program administration. Finally, industry, business, academe, and the general public use information from the economic census for evaluating markets, preparing business plans, making business decisions, developing economic models and forecasts, conducting economic research, and establishing benchmarks for their own sample surveys. If the economic census were not conducted, the Federal Government would lose vital source data and benchmarks for the national accounts, input-output tables, and other composite measures of economic activity, causing a substantial degradation in the quality of these important statistics. Further, the government would lose critical benchmarks for current sample-based economic surveys and an essential source of detailed, comprehensive economic information for use in policymaking, planning, and program administration. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit; Individuals or households; Notfor-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal government. Frequency: One time. Respondent’s Obligation: Mandatory. Legal Authority: 13 U.S.C. 131 and 224. OMB Desk Officer: Susan Schechter, (202) 395–5103. Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by calling or writing Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, (202) 482–0266, Department of Commerce, room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at dhynek@doc.gov). Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to Susan Schechter, OMB Desk Officer either by fax (202–395–7245) or e-mail (susan_schechter@omb.eop.gov). Dated: May 11, 2006. Madeleine Clayton, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. E6–7421 Filed 5–15–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:06 May 15, 2006 Jkt 208001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau 2007 American Community Survey Methods Panel Testing ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request. SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). Written comments must be submitted on or before July 17, 2006. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at DHynek@doc.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Wendy D. Hicks, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 2027, SFC 2, Washington, DC 20233, (301) 763–2431 (or via the Internet at Wendy.Davis.Hicks@census.gov). DATES: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract Given the rapid demographic changes experienced in recent years and the strong expectation that such changes will continue and accelerate, the oncea-decade data collection approach of a decennial census is no longer acceptable. To meet the needs and expectations of the country, the Census Bureau developed the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS collects detailed socio-economic data every month and provides tabulations of these data on a yearly basis. In the past, these sample data were collected only at the time of each decennial census. The ACS allows the Census Bureau to focus only on the basic demographic content in the 2010 Census, thus reducing operational risks in the Decennial census as well as improving the accuracy and timeliness of the detailed housing and demographic items by collecting those data as part of the ongoing ACS. The ACS includes an annual sample of approximately three million PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 residential addresses a year in the 50 states and District of Columbia and another 36,000 residential addresses in Puerto Rico each year. This large sample of addresses permits production of single year estimates for areas with a population of 65,000 or more annually. Producing estimates at lower levels of geography requires aggregating data over three- and five-year periods. The ability to produce estimates at low levels of geography makes the ACS an incredibly useful source of data for Federal agencies for monitoring progress, administering programs and so forth. However, collecting data from such a large sample of addresses also requires that the Census Bureau continues to review and test methods for containing costs of data collection. The 2007 ACS Methods Panel will include two tracks of research, one addressing content and another addressing cost containment strategies. The first track of the 2007 Methods Panel will test a new question that collects information about a person’s primary field of study for their bachelor’s degree. Additionally, this track of the Methods Panel will include modifications to the basic demographic questions in all three modes of data collection—mail, Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). In the mail operation, the test will include a comparison of two different layouts of the basic demographic questions, a sequential person design and a matrix design. The sequential person design repeats each question and answer category for each person. The matrix layout lists people down the left side of the form and questions across the top. The modifications to the CATI and CAPI basic demographic questions reflect the first test implementation of the draft Decennial Census guidelines for improving the consistency of the basic demographic question across modes of collection (i.e., mail, CATI, CAPI). The modifications to the CATI and CAPI instruments will include a comparison of a topic-based approach versus a person-based approach to collecting the basic demographic questions. A topicbased implementation asks a question for everyone in the household prior to moving to the next question. For example, the interviewer would ask the gender of the first person, the second person, the third person, etc. for everyone in the household. Once answered for everyone, the interviewer moves to the next question and asks that question for each person in the household. In contrast, a person-based E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 16, 2006 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES implementation asks all the basic demographic questions for a person then proceeds to the next person, repeating all of the basic demographic questions. The second track of the 2007 Methods Panel will include two components, both of which test different methods for increasing mail response in the ACS, the least expensive mode of data collection. The first component tests whether the ACS can increase mail response by sending an additional mailing piece to mail nonrespondents for whom we don’t have a phone number and thus, cannot include in the CATI operation. The second component of this track tests whether we can increase mail response in Puerto Rico or targeted areas of the United States with the lowest levels of mail cooperation by mailing a brochure or other mailing piece that incorporates motivational messages and other promotional or outreach techniques. First Track As noted, in this first track, the ACS will test one new content item in all three modes of collection, as well as modifications to the basic demographic questions in the CATI and CAPI instruments. Testing of the new content item reflects the recent ACS Content Policy developed jointly by the Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As stated in that policy (available upon request), OMB works with the Census Bureau to determine whether new content proposed by the Federal agencies will be considered for inclusion in the ACS. If the OMB and the Census Bureau determine the ACS may be an appropriate vehicle for collecting the information, then the Census Bureau will design and implement a testing program to assess the quality of the data collected by the proposed question. OMB will consider the results of that testing in deciding whether the ACS should include the proposed content, and when the ACS should add the new content, if accepted. In 2007, the ACS Methods Panel will test a question designed to identify the field of study in which a person received his or her bachelor’s degree. The National Science Foundation proposed the addition of this content for the purpose of creating a sampling frame for the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) which historically used educational attainment and industry and occupation data from the decennial long form to build the sample frame. The ACS would facilitate more recent updates to the sampling frame for the NSCG. Additionally, the inclusion VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:06 May 15, 2006 Jkt 208001 of a ‘field of degree’ question on the ACS would reduce some of the noise in the subsequent sampling frame that resulted from using the proxy measure, occupation type, from the decennial census. Lastly, including a ‘field of degree’ question on the ACS would allow the Department of Education, specifically the National Center for Education Statistics, to create direct estimates of specific fields of study useful to NCES programs. As noted, this test will also include a comparison of a sequential person design for the basic demographic questions on the mail form, which is comparable to the person-based approach in the CATI/CAPI modes, and a matrix layout on the mail form which is comparable to the topic-based approach to collecting the basic demographic questions in the CATI/ CAPI operations. (The ‘field of degree’ question falls in the detailed demographic section of the instrument, and thus is not impacted by the topicversus person-based comparison.) Testing both a topic- and person-based instrument for the basic demographic questions reflects alternative implementations of the draft Census Bureau guidelines for writing questions in a manner that should facilitate consistent responses regardless of the mode in which a person participates. This test will also include a few other slight modifications to the CATI and CAPI versions of the questions. For example, the CATI and CAPI questions will also manipulate how examples and long lists of response categories are provided in interviewer-administered modes of collection. Testing in this track includes four phases: (1) Question proposal; (2) question development and pretesting; (3) field test implementation, and; (4) recommendation for final content. The first stage represents the proposal from the National Science Foundation and accepted by the Census Bureau and the OMB to include a ‘field of degree’ question for testing on the ACS. The second stage reflects a series of cognitive laboratory pretesting studies conducted by the Statistical Research Division within the Census Bureau as well as through NSF contracts with outside experts. These pretesting studies will identify two versions of the ‘field of degree’ question and the topic-based and person-based versions of the CATI/ CAPI implementation of the basic demographic questions. In the third stage, the field test will include a national sample field test (excluding Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico) of approximately 30,000 residential addresses. (The test will not PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28303 include Group Quarters.) Half of these addresses will receive one version of the ‘field of degree’ question and the other half will receive a second version of the question. Within each of those treatments, half the sample will receive a matrix layout in the mail mode or the topic-based implementation of the basic demographic questions in the CATI/ CAPI modes. The other half will receive the sequential person design in the mail mode or the person-based implementation in the CATI/CAPI modes. The data collection methodology for this test will very closely replicate the current ACS data collection methodology. This test will use the same mailing strategy (advance letter, first questionnaire mailing package, reminder postcard, replacement questionnaire mailing package and availability of Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA)), the same CATI data collection operational methods and the same CAPI data collection operational methods as the current ACS. Mail data collection will occur in March of 2007, followed by CATI in April and CAPI in May, using the same data collection schedules as the March ACS panel. The automated instruments will include both English and Spanish language versions. However, unlike the ACS, the test will not include the Telephone Edit FollowUp (TEFU) operation used to follow-up with mail respondents who did not fully complete their form or who have households with six or more people. For evaluation purposes, we will follow-up with all respondents to complete a CATI Content Follow-Up (CFU) interview, and if we also conducted a TEFU operation we could potentially contact the same household three times for one survey. Thus, since the CFU better serves the analytical needs of the project, we will drop TEFU and only conduct the CFU operation. The CFU will reask the same version of the basic demographic questions as asked in the initial collection (topic-or personbased), as well as the same ACS education questions, including the field of degree question, and some additional probing questions regarding the reported field of degree for each person with a bachelor degree or higher. The final stage in this track of the 2007 Methods panel research includes data analysis and the recommendations to OMB regarding whether or not the tested content has sufficient data quality for inclusion in the ACS. While OMB will make the final decision whether or not to include the proposed content on the ACS, the results of this research will help inform that decision. E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES 28304 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 16, 2006 / Notices Second Track As noted above, the second track of the 2007 Methods Panel will include two components, both of which test different methods for increasing mail response in the ACS, the least expensive mode of data collection. The first component tests whether the ACS can increase mail response by sending an additional mailing piece to mail nonrespondents for whom we do not have a phone number and thus, cannot include in the CATI operation. Since we do not have a phone number for these sample cases, the ACS can only collect data from them via CAPI, the most expensive mode of data collection. This study will test three different types of mailing pieces and measure which type yields the highest increase in response for the non-CATI eligible universe, given the cost of the additional mailing piece. We will mail to approximately 18,000 sample housing-unit addresses, 6,000 in each treatment, sampling only from addresses for which our frame does not include a phone number. This study will not include the CATI or CAPI data collection. Rather the test will assess whether we get enough response to offset the costs of the additional mailing. The timing of this test will coincide with the May 2007 ACS panel. The second component of this track tests whether we can increase mail response in Puerto Rico or targeted areas of the United States with the lowest levels of mail cooperation by mailing a brochure or other mailing piece as part of the questionnaire mailing package that incorporates motivational messages and other promotional or outreach techniques. The test will manipulate the content of the motivational messages (for both Puerto Rico and the U.S.). We will test the motivational messages for all of Puerto Rico, but for the stateside component we will apply targeting criteria that considers characteristics such as proportion of city-style addresses, population size, proportion of linguistically isolated (i.e., persons who do not speak English well) and vacancy rates. We anticipate selecting three to four targeted areas for inclusion in the stateside component of the test. In terms of the motivational messages we will include one of two versions of an insert in the questionnaire mailing packages that provides information about how information from the ACS will benefit their community or has already benefited their community. For the U.S., one version will reflect wording tailored specifically to the targeted geographic area. The second version may use slightly more general language that could apply to a larger VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:06 May 15, 2006 Jkt 208001 geographic area, or may focus on different benefits for the targeted geographic area. For Puerto Rico, we will test two versions relevant to the entire island. Staff from the Census Bureau will work with the state and local data users to identify how information from the survey has benefited or will benefit the targeted area in order to develop the insert. Additionally, we will conduct focus groups to help identify the most meaningful content for the messages. Like the previous test in this track, this test aims to increase mail response as a way to help contain data collection costs. Thus, this test will only collect data in the mail phase. We will first implement the test in targeted areas of the U.S., coinciding with the July ACS panel, using the same timing for each of the mailing pieces. Implementation in Puerto Rico will coincide with the September Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) panel, again using the same timing for each of the mailing pieces. For both Puerto Rico and the targeted U.S. locations, the comparison group will come from the production ACS/PRCS in the same geographic area. We anticipate mailing to about 6,000 addresses in Puerto Rico with 3,000 in each of the different treatment groups for the motivational message. (The monthly sample in Puerto Rico is about 3,000.) While the difference in response rate, if any, will likely not reach significance with a sample of only 3,000 housing units, we did not want to test this with a sample larger than the current monthly sample of 3,000 for the production PRCS. Rather, we will estimate the impact on the annual PRCS response and associated costs, based on what we observe in this single panel test. In the U.S., we will identify several areas based on our targeting criteria for implementing the test. The exact number of areas included in the test will depend on the population size for each area fitting our targeting criteria. We anticipate needing about 10,000 sampled addresses for each of the treatment conditions (i.e., types of motivational messages). However, 10,000 sampled addresses in any one area for a single panel month will likely impact eligibility for production ACS sampling in that area. Thus, we anticipate selecting several areas that meet the targeting criteria, selecting a sample close in size to the ACS sample for the area, and then combining the analysis across the selected areas to reach a sample of about 10,000 for each treatment condition. Since we will combine the analysis across several selected areas meeting the targeting PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 criteria, the motivational message treatments will reflect the same general type of message across the areas, but we will tailor the specifics of the message to each of the areas. In other words, if we identify four different areas for inclusion in the test, all four areas will receive an insert in their questionnaire mailing packages that identifies how the ACS has benefited their specific community. The other treatment group in those areas will receive an insert in their questionnaire mailing packages reflecting any alternative message content suggested by the focus group pretesting (e.g., how the ACS benefits the state in general). II. Method of Collection As noted above, the testing in the first track will include all three modes of data collection—mail, CATI and CAPI— as well as a Content Follow Up (CFU) reinterview. Respondents in any of the three modes of data collection for whom we have a telephone number will go to the CFU approximately 2 weeks after receiving their initial response. The start and duration of the mail, CATI and CAPI data collection stages will mirror the production ACS. The CFU reinterview will start approximately two weeks after receipt of the first mail returns and continue for approximately two weeks after the closeout of the CAPI operations. In the second track, both tests are mail only tests, excluding the CATI and CAPI data collection operations. The test of an additional contact for those mail nonrespondents for whom we do not have a phone number will differ from the production mailing strategy in that we will mail one of three different additional pieces to the test universe. The test of the motivational messages will use the same timing and number of mail contacts as the production ACS, but this test will include one of two different motivational inserts sent as part of both the initial and replacement questionnaire mailing packages. III. Data OMB Number: Not available. Form Number: First track will use ACS–1(X)C1(2007) and ACS– 1(X)C2(2007). Second track, additional contact test will use the following: ACS–1(X)M1(2007) for the questionnaire; ACS–0018(L)M1(2007) for a letter and ACS–0019(P)M1(2007) for a postcard. Second track, motivational messages will use ACS– 1(X)M2(2007) for the mail questionnaire, ACS–0091(L)M2(2007) for one type of insert, substituting 0091 with the number 0092–0099 for each of the treatments. E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 16, 2006 / Notices Type of Review: Regular. Affected Public: Individuals and households. Estimated Number of Respondents: In the first track, during the period March 1 through May 31, 2007 we plan to contact 30,000 residential addresses and approximately 20,000 responding addresses will be contacted for Content Follow-up. In the second track, we plan to mail to 18,000 households in the U.S. in April 2007; We will mail to 6,000 households in Puerto Rico in July 2007; In September 2007, we will mail to 20,000 households in the U.S. Estimated Time per Response: Estimated 38 minutes per residential address, 12 minutes per residential address for Content Follow-Up. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 50,867. Estimated Total Annual Cost: Except for their time, there is no cost to respondents. Respondent Obligation: Mandatory. Authority: 13 U.S.C. 141 and 193. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Dated: May 11, 2006. Madeleine Clayton, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. E6–7423 Filed 5–15–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Census Bureau 2007 Economic Census Covering the Construction Sector ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:06 May 15, 2006 Jkt 208001 SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before July 17, 2006. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at dhynek@doc.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Mary S. Bucci, U.S. Census Bureau, Manufacturing and Construction Division, (301) 763–4639, Room 2231, Building #4, Washington, DC 20233 (or via the Internet at mary.susan.bucci@census.gov). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The Census Bureau is the preeminent collector and provider of timely, relevant and quality data about the people and economy of the United States. Economic data are the Census Bureau’s primary program commitment during nondecennial census years. The economic census, conducted under authority of Title 13, United States Code, is the primary source of facts about the structure and functioning of the Nation’s economy and features unique industry and geographic detail. Economic census statistics serve as part of the framework for the national accounts and provide essential information for government, business and the general public. The 2007 Economic Census covering the Construction Sector (as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a sample survey that will measure the economic activity of almost 700,000 establishments engaged in building construction and land subdivision and land development, heavy construction (except buildings), such as highways, power plants, pipelines; and construction activity by special trade contractors. The information collected from businesses in this sector of the economic census will produce basic statistics by industry for number of establishments, value of construction PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28305 work, payroll, employment, selected costs, depreciable assets, inventories, and capital expenditures. It also will yield a variety of subject statistics, including estimates of type of construction work done, kind of business activity, size of establishments and other industry-specific measures. Primary strategies for reducing burden in Census Bureau economic data collections are to increase electronic reporting through broader use of computerized self-administered census questionnaires, on-line questionnaires and other electronic data collection methods. II. Method of Collection The construction industry sector of the economic census will select establishments for its mail canvass from a sample frame extracted from the Census Bureau’s Business Register. To be eligible for selection, an establishment will be required to satisfy the following conditions: (i) It must be classified in the construction industry sector; (ii) it must be an active operating establishment of a multi-establishment firm, or it must be a singleestablishment firm with payroll for at least one quarter of calendar year 2007; and (iii) it must be located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Mail selection procedures will distinguish the following groups of establishments: A. Establishments of MultiEstablishment Firms Selection procedures will assign all active construction establishments of multi-establishment firms to the mail component of the potential respondent universe. We estimate that the mail canvass for the 2007 construction sector will include approximately 11,000 establishments of multi-establishment firms. B. Single-Establishment Firms With Payroll In the fall of 2006 the Census Bureau will conduct a limited classification refile operation (see Federal Register Notice dated October 26, 2005, 2007 Economic Census Classification Report for Construction, Manufacturing, and Mining Sectors). Within the construction sector, this refile will be directed to single-establishment firms in the Business Register with a NAICS industry code within the 236 subsector. This specific subsector was problematic in the 2002 Economic Census. The goal of the refile is to obtain accurate 6-digit NAICS industry codes for these singleestablishment firms prior to the E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 94 (Tuesday, May 16, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28302-28305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-7423]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Census Bureau


2007 American Community Survey Methods Panel Testing

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort 
to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public 
and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the 
proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(2)(A)).

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before July 17, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Diana Hynek, Departmental 
Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th 
and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet 
at DHynek@doc.gov).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or 
copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions 
should be directed to Wendy D. Hicks, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 2027, 
SFC 2, Washington, DC 20233, (301) 763-2431 (or via the Internet at 
Wendy.Davis.Hicks@census.gov).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

    Given the rapid demographic changes experienced in recent years and 
the strong expectation that such changes will continue and accelerate, 
the once-a-decade data collection approach of a decennial census is no 
longer acceptable. To meet the needs and expectations of the country, 
the Census Bureau developed the American Community Survey (ACS). The 
ACS collects detailed socio-economic data every month and provides 
tabulations of these data on a yearly basis. In the past, these sample 
data were collected only at the time of each decennial census. The ACS 
allows the Census Bureau to focus only on the basic demographic content 
in the 2010 Census, thus reducing operational risks in the Decennial 
census as well as improving the accuracy and timeliness of the detailed 
housing and demographic items by collecting those data as part of the 
ongoing ACS.
    The ACS includes an annual sample of approximately three million 
residential addresses a year in the 50 states and District of Columbia 
and another 36,000 residential addresses in Puerto Rico each year. This 
large sample of addresses permits production of single year estimates 
for areas with a population of 65,000 or more annually. Producing 
estimates at lower levels of geography requires aggregating data over 
three- and five-year periods. The ability to produce estimates at low 
levels of geography makes the ACS an incredibly useful source of data 
for Federal agencies for monitoring progress, administering programs 
and so forth. However, collecting data from such a large sample of 
addresses also requires that the Census Bureau continues to review and 
test methods for containing costs of data collection. The 2007 ACS 
Methods Panel will include two tracks of research, one addressing 
content and another addressing cost containment strategies.
    The first track of the 2007 Methods Panel will test a new question 
that collects information about a person's primary field of study for 
their bachelor's degree. Additionally, this track of the Methods Panel 
will include modifications to the basic demographic questions in all 
three modes of data collection--mail, Computer Assisted Telephone 
Interviewing (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). 
In the mail operation, the test will include a comparison of two 
different layouts of the basic demographic questions, a sequential 
person design and a matrix design. The sequential person design repeats 
each question and answer category for each person. The matrix layout 
lists people down the left side of the form and questions across the 
top. The modifications to the CATI and CAPI basic demographic questions 
reflect the first test implementation of the draft Decennial Census 
guidelines for improving the consistency of the basic demographic 
question across modes of collection (i.e., mail, CATI, CAPI). The 
modifications to the CATI and CAPI instruments will include a 
comparison of a topic-based approach versus a person-based approach to 
collecting the basic demographic questions. A topic-based 
implementation asks a question for everyone in the household prior to 
moving to the next question. For example, the interviewer would ask the 
gender of the first person, the second person, the third person, etc. 
for everyone in the household. Once answered for everyone, the 
interviewer moves to the next question and asks that question for each 
person in the household. In contrast, a person-based

[[Page 28303]]

implementation asks all the basic demographic questions for a person 
then proceeds to the next person, repeating all of the basic 
demographic questions.
    The second track of the 2007 Methods Panel will include two 
components, both of which test different methods for increasing mail 
response in the ACS, the least expensive mode of data collection. The 
first component tests whether the ACS can increase mail response by 
sending an additional mailing piece to mail nonrespondents for whom we 
don't have a phone number and thus, cannot include in the CATI 
operation. The second component of this track tests whether we can 
increase mail response in Puerto Rico or targeted areas of the United 
States with the lowest levels of mail cooperation by mailing a brochure 
or other mailing piece that incorporates motivational messages and 
other promotional or outreach techniques.

First Track

    As noted, in this first track, the ACS will test one new content 
item in all three modes of collection, as well as modifications to the 
basic demographic questions in the CATI and CAPI instruments. Testing 
of the new content item reflects the recent ACS Content Policy 
developed jointly by the Census Bureau and the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). As stated in that policy (available upon request), OMB 
works with the Census Bureau to determine whether new content proposed 
by the Federal agencies will be considered for inclusion in the ACS. If 
the OMB and the Census Bureau determine the ACS may be an appropriate 
vehicle for collecting the information, then the Census Bureau will 
design and implement a testing program to assess the quality of the 
data collected by the proposed question. OMB will consider the results 
of that testing in deciding whether the ACS should include the proposed 
content, and when the ACS should add the new content, if accepted.
    In 2007, the ACS Methods Panel will test a question designed to 
identify the field of study in which a person received his or her 
bachelor's degree. The National Science Foundation proposed the 
addition of this content for the purpose of creating a sampling frame 
for the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) which historically 
used educational attainment and industry and occupation data from the 
decennial long form to build the sample frame. The ACS would facilitate 
more recent updates to the sampling frame for the NSCG. Additionally, 
the inclusion of a `field of degree' question on the ACS would reduce 
some of the noise in the subsequent sampling frame that resulted from 
using the proxy measure, occupation type, from the decennial census. 
Lastly, including a `field of degree' question on the ACS would allow 
the Department of Education, specifically the National Center for 
Education Statistics, to create direct estimates of specific fields of 
study useful to NCES programs.
    As noted, this test will also include a comparison of a sequential 
person design for the basic demographic questions on the mail form, 
which is comparable to the person-based approach in the CATI/CAPI 
modes, and a matrix layout on the mail form which is comparable to the 
topic-based approach to collecting the basic demographic questions in 
the CATI/CAPI operations. (The `field of degree' question falls in the 
detailed demographic section of the instrument, and thus is not 
impacted by the topic-versus person-based comparison.) Testing both a 
topic- and person-based instrument for the basic demographic questions 
reflects alternative implementations of the draft Census Bureau 
guidelines for writing questions in a manner that should facilitate 
consistent responses regardless of the mode in which a person 
participates. This test will also include a few other slight 
modifications to the CATI and CAPI versions of the questions. For 
example, the CATI and CAPI questions will also manipulate how examples 
and long lists of response categories are provided in interviewer-
administered modes of collection.
    Testing in this track includes four phases: (1) Question proposal; 
(2) question development and pretesting; (3) field test implementation, 
and; (4) recommendation for final content. The first stage represents 
the proposal from the National Science Foundation and accepted by the 
Census Bureau and the OMB to include a `field of degree' question for 
testing on the ACS. The second stage reflects a series of cognitive 
laboratory pretesting studies conducted by the Statistical Research 
Division within the Census Bureau as well as through NSF contracts with 
outside experts. These pretesting studies will identify two versions of 
the `field of degree' question and the topic-based and person-based 
versions of the CATI/CAPI implementation of the basic demographic 
questions.
    In the third stage, the field test will include a national sample 
field test (excluding Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico) of approximately 
30,000 residential addresses. (The test will not include Group 
Quarters.) Half of these addresses will receive one version of the 
`field of degree' question and the other half will receive a second 
version of the question. Within each of those treatments, half the 
sample will receive a matrix layout in the mail mode or the topic-based 
implementation of the basic demographic questions in the CATI/CAPI 
modes. The other half will receive the sequential person design in the 
mail mode or the person-based implementation in the CATI/CAPI modes.
    The data collection methodology for this test will very closely 
replicate the current ACS data collection methodology. This test will 
use the same mailing strategy (advance letter, first questionnaire 
mailing package, reminder postcard, replacement questionnaire mailing 
package and availability of Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA)), 
the same CATI data collection operational methods and the same CAPI 
data collection operational methods as the current ACS. Mail data 
collection will occur in March of 2007, followed by CATI in April and 
CAPI in May, using the same data collection schedules as the March ACS 
panel. The automated instruments will include both English and Spanish 
language versions.
    However, unlike the ACS, the test will not include the Telephone 
Edit Follow-Up (TEFU) operation used to follow-up with mail respondents 
who did not fully complete their form or who have households with six 
or more people. For evaluation purposes, we will follow-up with all 
respondents to complete a CATI Content Follow-Up (CFU) interview, and 
if we also conducted a TEFU operation we could potentially contact the 
same household three times for one survey. Thus, since the CFU better 
serves the analytical needs of the project, we will drop TEFU and only 
conduct the CFU operation. The CFU will reask the same version of the 
basic demographic questions as asked in the initial collection (topic-
or person-based), as well as the same ACS education questions, 
including the field of degree question, and some additional probing 
questions regarding the reported field of degree for each person with a 
bachelor degree or higher.
    The final stage in this track of the 2007 Methods panel research 
includes data analysis and the recommendations to OMB regarding whether 
or not the tested content has sufficient data quality for inclusion in 
the ACS. While OMB will make the final decision whether or not to 
include the proposed content on the ACS, the results of this research 
will help inform that decision.

[[Page 28304]]

Second Track

    As noted above, the second track of the 2007 Methods Panel will 
include two components, both of which test different methods for 
increasing mail response in the ACS, the least expensive mode of data 
collection. The first component tests whether the ACS can increase mail 
response by sending an additional mailing piece to mail nonrespondents 
for whom we do not have a phone number and thus, cannot include in the 
CATI operation. Since we do not have a phone number for these sample 
cases, the ACS can only collect data from them via CAPI, the most 
expensive mode of data collection. This study will test three different 
types of mailing pieces and measure which type yields the highest 
increase in response for the non-CATI eligible universe, given the cost 
of the additional mailing piece. We will mail to approximately 18,000 
sample housing-unit addresses, 6,000 in each treatment, sampling only 
from addresses for which our frame does not include a phone number. 
This study will not include the CATI or CAPI data collection. Rather 
the test will assess whether we get enough response to offset the costs 
of the additional mailing. The timing of this test will coincide with 
the May 2007 ACS panel.
    The second component of this track tests whether we can increase 
mail response in Puerto Rico or targeted areas of the United States 
with the lowest levels of mail cooperation by mailing a brochure or 
other mailing piece as part of the questionnaire mailing package that 
incorporates motivational messages and other promotional or outreach 
techniques. The test will manipulate the content of the motivational 
messages (for both Puerto Rico and the U.S.). We will test the 
motivational messages for all of Puerto Rico, but for the stateside 
component we will apply targeting criteria that considers 
characteristics such as proportion of city-style addresses, population 
size, proportion of linguistically isolated (i.e., persons who do not 
speak English well) and vacancy rates. We anticipate selecting three to 
four targeted areas for inclusion in the stateside component of the 
test.
    In terms of the motivational messages we will include one of two 
versions of an insert in the questionnaire mailing packages that 
provides information about how information from the ACS will benefit 
their community or has already benefited their community. For the U.S., 
one version will reflect wording tailored specifically to the targeted 
geographic area. The second version may use slightly more general 
language that could apply to a larger geographic area, or may focus on 
different benefits for the targeted geographic area. For Puerto Rico, 
we will test two versions relevant to the entire island. Staff from the 
Census Bureau will work with the state and local data users to identify 
how information from the survey has benefited or will benefit the 
targeted area in order to develop the insert. Additionally, we will 
conduct focus groups to help identify the most meaningful content for 
the messages.
    Like the previous test in this track, this test aims to increase 
mail response as a way to help contain data collection costs. Thus, 
this test will only collect data in the mail phase. We will first 
implement the test in targeted areas of the U.S., coinciding with the 
July ACS panel, using the same timing for each of the mailing pieces. 
Implementation in Puerto Rico will coincide with the September Puerto 
Rico Community Survey (PRCS) panel, again using the same timing for 
each of the mailing pieces. For both Puerto Rico and the targeted U.S. 
locations, the comparison group will come from the production ACS/PRCS 
in the same geographic area.
    We anticipate mailing to about 6,000 addresses in Puerto Rico with 
3,000 in each of the different treatment groups for the motivational 
message. (The monthly sample in Puerto Rico is about 3,000.) While the 
difference in response rate, if any, will likely not reach significance 
with a sample of only 3,000 housing units, we did not want to test this 
with a sample larger than the current monthly sample of 3,000 for the 
production PRCS. Rather, we will estimate the impact on the annual PRCS 
response and associated costs, based on what we observe in this single 
panel test.
    In the U.S., we will identify several areas based on our targeting 
criteria for implementing the test. The exact number of areas included 
in the test will depend on the population size for each area fitting 
our targeting criteria. We anticipate needing about 10,000 sampled 
addresses for each of the treatment conditions (i.e., types of 
motivational messages). However, 10,000 sampled addresses in any one 
area for a single panel month will likely impact eligibility for 
production ACS sampling in that area. Thus, we anticipate selecting 
several areas that meet the targeting criteria, selecting a sample 
close in size to the ACS sample for the area, and then combining the 
analysis across the selected areas to reach a sample of about 10,000 
for each treatment condition. Since we will combine the analysis across 
several selected areas meeting the targeting criteria, the motivational 
message treatments will reflect the same general type of message across 
the areas, but we will tailor the specifics of the message to each of 
the areas. In other words, if we identify four different areas for 
inclusion in the test, all four areas will receive an insert in their 
questionnaire mailing packages that identifies how the ACS has 
benefited their specific community. The other treatment group in those 
areas will receive an insert in their questionnaire mailing packages 
reflecting any alternative message content suggested by the focus group 
pretesting (e.g., how the ACS benefits the state in general).

II. Method of Collection

    As noted above, the testing in the first track will include all 
three modes of data collection--mail, CATI and CAPI--as well as a 
Content Follow Up (CFU) reinterview. Respondents in any of the three 
modes of data collection for whom we have a telephone number will go to 
the CFU approximately 2 weeks after receiving their initial response. 
The start and duration of the mail, CATI and CAPI data collection 
stages will mirror the production ACS. The CFU reinterview will start 
approximately two weeks after receipt of the first mail returns and 
continue for approximately two weeks after the closeout of the CAPI 
operations.
    In the second track, both tests are mail only tests, excluding the 
CATI and CAPI data collection operations. The test of an additional 
contact for those mail nonrespondents for whom we do not have a phone 
number will differ from the production mailing strategy in that we will 
mail one of three different additional pieces to the test universe. The 
test of the motivational messages will use the same timing and number 
of mail contacts as the production ACS, but this test will include one 
of two different motivational inserts sent as part of both the initial 
and replacement questionnaire mailing packages.

III. Data

    OMB Number: Not available.
    Form Number: First track will use ACS-1(X)C1(2007) and ACS-
1(X)C2(2007). Second track, additional contact test will use the 
following: ACS-1(X)M1(2007) for the questionnaire; ACS-0018(L)M1(2007) 
for a letter and ACS-0019(P)M1(2007) for a postcard. Second track, 
motivational messages will use ACS-1(X)M2(2007) for the mail 
questionnaire, ACS-0091(L)M2(2007) for one type of insert, substituting 
0091 with the number 0092-0099 for each of the treatments.

[[Page 28305]]

    Type of Review: Regular.
    Affected Public: Individuals and households.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: In the first track, during the 
period March 1 through May 31, 2007 we plan to contact 30,000 
residential addresses and approximately 20,000 responding addresses 
will be contacted for Content Follow-up. In the second track, we plan 
to mail to 18,000 households in the U.S. in April 2007; We will mail to 
6,000 households in Puerto Rico in July 2007; In September 2007, we 
will mail to 20,000 households in the U.S.
    Estimated Time per Response: Estimated 38 minutes per residential 
address, 12 minutes per residential address for Content Follow-Up.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 50,867.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost: Except for their time, there is no 
cost to respondents.
    Respondent Obligation: Mandatory.

    Authority: 13 U.S.C. 141 and 193.

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including whether the information shall have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden 
(including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; 
(c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information on respondents, including through the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information 
collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: May 11, 2006.
Madeleine Clayton,
Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
 [FR Doc. E6-7423 Filed 5-15-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-07-P