Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey, 58378-58381 [2017-26726]

Download as PDF 58378 Notices Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 237 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES December 7, 2017. The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Comments are requested regarding (1) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments regarding this information collection received by January 11, 2018 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: OIRA_Submission@OMB.EOP.GOV or fax (202) 395–5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250– 7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720–8958. An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:03 Dec 11, 2017 Jkt 244001 potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Food Safety and Inspection Service Title: Salmonella Initiative Program. OMB Control Number: 0583–0154. Summary of Collection: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been delegated the authority to exercise the functions of the Secretary as provided in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.). These statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by ensuring that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged. The Salmonella initiative Program (SIP) offers incentives to meat and poultry slaughter establishments to control Salmonella in their operations. SIP benefits public health because it encourages establishments to test for microbial pathogens, which is a key feature of effective process control. Need and Use of the Information: Under SIP, establishments will share their data with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS); this will help the Agency in formulating its policy. Establishments that want to enter SIP must send a protocol to FSIS informing the Agency about their plans for implementing SIP in their establishment, including data collection, objectives and methods of evaluating the new technology for which they are receiving the regulator waiver. Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit. Number of Respondents: 50. Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: On occasion. Total Burden Hours: 8,256. Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2017–26706 Filed 12–11–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–DM–P PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: 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. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before February 12, 2018. ADDRESSES: Please direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the internet at PRAcomments@doc.gov). You may also submit comments, identified by Docket number USBC– 2017–0005, to the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments received are part of the public record. No comments will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov for public viewing until after the comment period has closed. Comments will generally be posted without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Robin A. Pennington, Rm. 2H465, U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census Management Division, Washington, DC 20233 or via email to Robin.A.Pennington@census.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12DEN1.SGM 12DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 12, 2017 / Notices I. Abstract Since the founding of the nation, the U.S. Census has mediated between the demands of a growing country for information about its economy and people, and the people’s privacy and respondent burden. Beginning with the 1810 Census, Congress added questions to support a range of public concerns and uses, and over the course of a century questions were added about agriculture, industry, and commerce, as well as occupation, ancestry, marital status, disabilities, and other topics. In 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau introduced the long form and, since then, the more detailed questions were only asked of a sample of the public. The American Community Survey (ACS), launched in 2005, is the current embodiment of the long form of the census and is asked each year of a sample of the U.S. population in order to provide current data needed more often than once every ten years. The content of the proposed 2019 ACS questionnaire and data collection instruments for both Housing Unit and Group Quarters operations reflects changes to content and instructions that were proposed as a result of the 2016 ACS Content Test. The Census Bureau periodically conducts tests of new and improved survey content to ensure the ACS is meeting the data needs of its stakeholders. The primary objective of content tests is to test whether changes to question wording, response categories, and definitions of underlying constructs improve the quality of data collected. The ACS is one of the Department of Commerce’s most valuable data products, used extensively by businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments, and many federal agencies. In conducting this survey, the Census Bureau’s top priority is respecting the time and privacy of the people providing information while preserving the survey’s value to the public. The 2019 survey content changes cover several topics: ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Telephone Service The rise of cellphone and smartphone usage, and other complex and varied telephone services and equipment, has changed how people view and use telephones in a household. Research also suggests that some respondents, or in some cases interviewers, may not fully understand the current wording of the survey question on Telephone Service, the additional instructions that accompany the question, or what the question is intending to capture. To VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:03 Dec 11, 2017 Jkt 244001 make the intent of the Telephone Service question easier to understand by respondents and interviewers, the question was made a stand-alone question and additional instructions are provided on the types of telephones and equipment respondents should include when answering the question. Currently, telephone service is asked as part of a broader question on housing characteristics. Health Insurance A question on health insurance premiums and subsidies will be introduced to the ACS immediately following the current question on health insurance coverage. The question on premiums and subsidies asks if a person pays a health insurance premium, and if so, if he or she received a subsidy to help pay the premium. This question will provide more accurate information about coverage categories than available from the existing ACS question on current coverage alone. These data will enhance the ability of HHS and the states to administer Medicaid, CHIP, and the exchanges, and monitor private insurance coverage. Journey to Work Changes to the Commute Mode question were motivated by changes in public transportation infrastructure across the United States, particularly the increased prevalence of light rail systems and the need to update and clarify the terminology used to refer to commute modes that appear as categories on the ACS. To improve the Commute Mode question, some of the public transportation modes were modified. The category ‘‘Streetcar or trolley car’’ was changed to ‘‘Light rail, street car, or trolley,’’ ‘‘Subway or elevated’’ was changed to ‘‘Subway or Elevated Rail,’’ and ‘‘Railroad’’ was changed to ‘‘Long-distance train or commuter rail.’’ These three rail-related categories were also slightly reordered so that ‘‘Subway or elevated rail,’’ the most prevalent rail mode, is listed first. The phrase ‘‘trolley bus’’ was dropped and the phrase ‘‘work at home’’ was changed to ‘‘work from home.’’ The subheading of instructions was simplified to read ‘‘Mark ONE box for the method of transportation used for most of the distance.’’ The Time of Departure question has historically raised concerns about privacy because of the reference to the time a person leaves home. To phrase the question in a less intrusive way, the question was changed to ask what time the person’s trip to work began and to remove the word ‘‘home.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58379 Weeks Worked The changes to the question on the number of weeks worked were made to allow the Census Bureau to provide high-quality, continuous measures for the number of weeks worked, such as means, medians, and aggregates. In addition, the changes enable additional specificity for weeks worked, particularly with hours worked, income, and occupation. Part A of the question regarding the time period of interest was rephrased from working ‘‘50 or more weeks’’ to ‘‘EVERY week’’ and additional information is provided in the second sentence. The original instruction of ‘‘Count paid time off as work’’ was changed to ‘‘Count paid vacation, paid sick leave, and military service as work.’’ For part B of the question, the response option was changed to a write-in response, the reference period (‘‘the PAST 12 MONTHS’’) is repeated, and new guidance clarifies what to count as work. Class of Worker Changes to the Class of Worker question improve overall question clarity, refine the definition of unpaid family workers, explicitly define a category for Active Duty military, improve question wording and categories, and improve the layout of the question. Response categories were grouped under three general headings. ‘‘Active Duty’’ was added as one of the response categories in the government section, and the ‘‘Active Duty’’ checkbox was dropped from the Employer Name question. Question and response category wording were revised for clarity. To signal that all six employment characteristics questions refer to the same job (including industry and occupation), the series was renumbered from separate questions to a single series with sub-questions. Lastly, the instructional text and heading for the series immediately preceding the Class of Worker question was simplified. Industry and Occupation Ongoing research of the Industry and Occupation question write-in responses has demonstrated that the questions were unclear and confusing to respondents, who were unable to answer at all or answer with sufficient clarity to provide useful data. To increase clarity and improve occupational specificity, these questions were revised to include new and consistent examples, in terms of content and length, and include modified question wording. The number of E:\FR\FM\12DEN1.SGM 12DEN1 58380 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 12, 2017 / Notices characters for write-in responses about ‘‘Job Duties’’ was expanded from 60 to 100 characters. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Retirement Income Over the last 40 years, defined contribution retirement plans have become increasingly common while defined benefit plans (such as pensions) have become less so. Federal surveys have lagged in addressing these newer forms of retirement income and subsequently underreport retirement income. The Retirement, Survivor, and Disability Income question was changed to improve income reporting, increase item response rates, reduce reporting errors, and update questions on retirement income and the income generated from retirement accounts and all other assets in order to better measure retirement income data. The question was expanded to ask about ‘‘retirement income, pensions, survivor or disability income.’’ In addition, the instructions that accompany the question were expanded to note that income from ‘‘a previous employer or union, or any regular withdrawals or distributions from IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other accounts specifically designed for retirement’’ should be included. Relationship For several years, the Census Bureau has been testing revised Relationship questions to improve the estimates of coupled households. The 1990 Census first introduced ‘‘Unmarried Partner’’ as a response category to the Relationship to Householder question. The 2000 and 2010 Censuses built upon this work, changing the processing of responses to the Relationship question to more accurately represent same-sex couples. The Census Bureau discovered a statistical error in the 2010 Census data that resulted from opposite-sex couples mismarking their sex. This error has the potential to inflate the estimates of same-sex, married-couple households from the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau released a set of modified statelevel, same-sex household estimates from the 2010 Census because of this error, and also began new research efforts to improve the Relationship question. The Relationship question has been revised to improve measurement of same-sex couples. The existing ‘‘Husband or wife’’ and ‘‘Unmarried partner’’ response categories were each split into two versions: ‘‘Opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse,’’ ‘‘Opposite-sex unmarried partner,’’ ‘‘Same-sex husband/wife/spouse,’’ and ‘‘Same-sex unmarried partner.’’ Additionally, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:03 Dec 11, 2017 Jkt 244001 two unmarried partner categories were moved from near the end of the list of response options to near the beginning, immediately after the ‘‘Husband/wife/ spouse’’ options. An automated relationship/sex consistency check will be included in electronic instruments to provide respondents an opportunity to change their sex or relationship responses when there is an inconsistency in the reported sex of an individual and whether their relationship was reported as ‘‘Oppositesex’’ or ‘‘Same-sex’’ husband/wife/ spouse or unmarried partner. This check reduces the inconsistency in responses for a given household and improves the quality of the relationship data. The category ‘‘Roomer or boarder’’ has been dropped from the Relationship question. Race and Hispanic Origin The 2016 ACS Content Test served as an operational test of the race and ethnicity questions that were previously tested on the 2015 National Content Test (NCT). While recommendations about the race and ethnicity questions adopted for the 2020 Census and production ACS will be based on the results of the census tests and decisions made in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2016 ACS Content Test provided an opportunity to test data collection modes and examine other data not available in the 2015 NCT. The 2016 ACS Content Test evaluated interviewer-administered collection modes, assessed the race and ethnicity questions against demographic and socioeconomic data, and separately compared the race and ethnicity results to data from the ancestry question. In 2020 or later, the ACS will adopt the final version of the race and Hispanic origin questions that are implemented for the 2020 Census. II. Method of Collection In August 2012, the OMB in conjunction with the Census Bureau established a Subcommittee of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) to address ACS matters. The ICSP Subcommittee on the ACS exists to advise the Chief Statistician at OMB and the Director of the Census Bureau on how the ACS can best fulfill its role in the portfolio of Federal household surveys and provide the most useful information with the least amount of burden. It may also advise Census Bureau technical staff on issues they request the subcommittee to examine or that otherwise arise in discussions. The ICSP Subcommittee on the ACS reviewed the proposed 2019 ACS content changes and recommended their PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 approval to the OMB and the Census Bureau. For the 2016 ACS Content Test, initial versions of the new and revised questions were proposed by federal agencies participating in the OMB Interagency Committee for the ACS. The initial proposals contained a justification for each change and described any previous testing of the question wording, the expected impact of revisions to the time series and the single-year as well as five-year estimates, and the estimated net impact on respondent burden for the proposed revision. For proposed new questions, the justification also described the need for the new data, whether federal law or regulation required the data for small areas or small population groups, if other data sources were currently available to provide the information (and why any alternate sources were insufficient), how policy needs or emerging data needs would be addressed through the new question, an explanation of why the data were needed with the geographic precision and frequency provided by the ACS, and whether other testing or production surveys had evaluated the use of the proposed questions. The Census Bureau and the OMB, as well as the ICSP Subcommittee, reviewed these proposals for the ACS. The OMB determined which proposals moved forward into cognitive testing. After OMB approval of the proposals, topical subcommittees were formed from the OMB Interagency Committee on the ACS, which included all interested federal agencies that use the data from the proposed questions. These subcommittees further refined the specific proposed wording in preparation for cognitive testing. The Census Bureau contracted with Westat, an internationally recognized organization with expertise in statistical research and survey methods, to conduct three rounds of cognitive testing. The results of the first two rounds of cognitive testing informed decisions on specific revisions to the proposed content for the stateside 2016 ACS Content Test. The proposed changes, identified through cognitive testing for each question topic, were reviewed by the Census Bureau, the corresponding topical subcommittee, and the ICSP Subcommittee for the ACS. The OMB then provided final overall approval of the proposed wording for field testing. The public is invited to comment on all questions on the ACS; however, the Census Bureau is particularly interested in comments on the wording changes to the nine ACS questions listed above, which are proposed to be changed based E:\FR\FM\12DEN1.SGM 12DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 12, 2017 / Notices on the results of the 2016 ACS Content Test. Concurrently, Federal agencies that are the principal sponsors of these nine questions are invited to respond either directly to the Census Bureau or through this notice. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE III. Data Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request OMB Control Number: 0607–0810. Form Number(s): ACS–1(2019). Type of Review: Regular submission. Affected Public: Federal and legislative agencies, individuals, households, and businesses. Estimated Time per Response: 40 minutes for the average household questionnaire. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: The Census Bureau plans to contact the following number of respondents each year: 3,540,000 households; 200,000 persons in group quarters; 20,000 contacts in group quarters; 43,000 households for reinterview; and 1,500 group quarters contacts for reinterview. The estimate is an annual average of 2,337,900 burden hours. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0. Respondent’s Obligation: Mandatory. Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C. Sections 141 and 193. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 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. Sheleen Dumas, Departmental PRA Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2017–26726 Filed 12–11–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:03 Dec 11, 2017 Jkt 244001 Defense Acquisition Regulations System [Docket Number DARS–2016–0024; OMB Control Number 0704–0332] ACTION: Notice. The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB, for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. DATES: Consideration will be given to all comments received by January 11, 2018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title, Associated Form, and OMB Number: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Appendix I, DoD Pilot Mentor-Protege Program; OMB Control Number 0704– 0332. Type of Request: Reinstatement with change. Number of Respondents: 122. Responses per Respondent: Approximately 2. Annual Responses: 240. Average Burden per Response: 1 hour. Annual Response Burden Hours: 240. Reporting Frequency: Two times per year for mentor firms; one time per year for protege firms. Needs and Uses: DoD needs this information to ensure that participants in the Mentor-Protege Program (‘‘the Program’’) are fulfilling their obligations under the mentor-protege agreements and that the Government is receiving value for the benefits it provides through the Program. DoD uses the information as source data for reports to Congress required by section 811(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Pub. L. 106–65). Participation in the Program is voluntary. Affected Public: Businesses and other for-profit entities and not-for-profit institutions. Respondent’s Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits. OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra. Written comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be sent to Ms. Seehra at the Office of Management and Budget, Desk Officer for DoD, Room 10236, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503. You may also submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by the following method: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58381 www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number, and title for the Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other public submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check http://www.regulations.gov approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail). DoD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick C. Licari. Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at: Information Collections Program, WHS/ ESD Office of Information Management, 4800 Mark Center Drive, 3rd Floor, East Tower, Suite 03F09, Alexandria, VA 22350–3100. Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System. [FR Doc. 2017–26715 Filed 12–11–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Availability of Elizabeth River and Southern Branch Navigation Improvements Draft General Reevaluation Report/Environmental Assessment Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in association with the nonfederal sponsor, the Virginia Port Authority, an agent of the Commonwealth of Virginia, announces the availability of the Elizabeth River and Southern Branch Navigation Improvements Draft General Reevaluation Report/Environmental Assessment (GRR/EA) for public review and comment. The purpose of this Draft GRR/EA is to evaluate alternatives that have the potential to improve the current and future operational efficiency of commercial vessels currently using the Norfolk Harbor federal channel in the Elizabeth River. Channel deepening alternatives were evaluated as well as SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12DEN1.SGM 12DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 12, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58378-58381]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26726]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Census Bureau


Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American 
Community Survey

AGENCY: U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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

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.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on 
or before February 12, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Please direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, 
Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 
6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the 
internet at [email protected]). You may also submit comments, 
identified by Docket number USBC-2017-0005, to the Federal e-Rulemaking 
Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments received are part of 
the public record. No comments will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov for public viewing until after the comment period 
has closed. Comments will generally be posted without change. All 
Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) 
voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do 
not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or 
protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic 
comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or 
copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions 
should be directed to Robin A. Pennington, Rm. 2H465, U.S. Census 
Bureau, Decennial Census Management Division, Washington, DC 20233 or 
via email to [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 58379]]

I. Abstract

    Since the founding of the nation, the U.S. Census has mediated 
between the demands of a growing country for information about its 
economy and people, and the people's privacy and respondent burden. 
Beginning with the 1810 Census, Congress added questions to support a 
range of public concerns and uses, and over the course of a century 
questions were added about agriculture, industry, and commerce, as well 
as occupation, ancestry, marital status, disabilities, and other 
topics. In 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau introduced the long form and, 
since then, the more detailed questions were only asked of a sample of 
the public.
    The American Community Survey (ACS), launched in 2005, is the 
current embodiment of the long form of the census and is asked each 
year of a sample of the U.S. population in order to provide current 
data needed more often than once every ten years.
    The content of the proposed 2019 ACS questionnaire and data 
collection instruments for both Housing Unit and Group Quarters 
operations reflects changes to content and instructions that were 
proposed as a result of the 2016 ACS Content Test. The Census Bureau 
periodically conducts tests of new and improved survey content to 
ensure the ACS is meeting the data needs of its stakeholders. The 
primary objective of content tests is to test whether changes to 
question wording, response categories, and definitions of underlying 
constructs improve the quality of data collected.
    The ACS is one of the Department of Commerce's most valuable data 
products, used extensively by businesses, non-governmental 
organizations (NGOs), local governments, and many federal agencies. In 
conducting this survey, the Census Bureau's top priority is respecting 
the time and privacy of the people providing information while 
preserving the survey's value to the public. The 2019 survey content 
changes cover several topics:

Telephone Service

    The rise of cellphone and smartphone usage, and other complex and 
varied telephone services and equipment, has changed how people view 
and use telephones in a household. Research also suggests that some 
respondents, or in some cases interviewers, may not fully understand 
the current wording of the survey question on Telephone Service, the 
additional instructions that accompany the question, or what the 
question is intending to capture. To make the intent of the Telephone 
Service question easier to understand by respondents and interviewers, 
the question was made a stand-alone question and additional 
instructions are provided on the types of telephones and equipment 
respondents should include when answering the question. Currently, 
telephone service is asked as part of a broader question on housing 
characteristics.

Health Insurance

    A question on health insurance premiums and subsidies will be 
introduced to the ACS immediately following the current question on 
health insurance coverage. The question on premiums and subsidies asks 
if a person pays a health insurance premium, and if so, if he or she 
received a subsidy to help pay the premium. This question will provide 
more accurate information about coverage categories than available from 
the existing ACS question on current coverage alone. These data will 
enhance the ability of HHS and the states to administer Medicaid, CHIP, 
and the exchanges, and monitor private insurance coverage.

Journey to Work

    Changes to the Commute Mode question were motivated by changes in 
public transportation infrastructure across the United States, 
particularly the increased prevalence of light rail systems and the 
need to update and clarify the terminology used to refer to commute 
modes that appear as categories on the ACS. To improve the Commute Mode 
question, some of the public transportation modes were modified. The 
category ``Streetcar or trolley car'' was changed to ``Light rail, 
street car, or trolley,'' ``Subway or elevated'' was changed to 
``Subway or Elevated Rail,'' and ``Railroad'' was changed to ``Long-
distance train or commuter rail.'' These three rail-related categories 
were also slightly reordered so that ``Subway or elevated rail,'' the 
most prevalent rail mode, is listed first. The phrase ``trolley bus'' 
was dropped and the phrase ``work at home'' was changed to ``work from 
home.'' The subheading of instructions was simplified to read ``Mark 
ONE box for the method of transportation used for most of the 
distance.'' The Time of Departure question has historically raised 
concerns about privacy because of the reference to the time a person 
leaves home. To phrase the question in a less intrusive way, the 
question was changed to ask what time the person's trip to work began 
and to remove the word ``home.''

Weeks Worked

    The changes to the question on the number of weeks worked were made 
to allow the Census Bureau to provide high-quality, continuous measures 
for the number of weeks worked, such as means, medians, and aggregates. 
In addition, the changes enable additional specificity for weeks 
worked, particularly with hours worked, income, and occupation. Part A 
of the question regarding the time period of interest was rephrased 
from working ``50 or more weeks'' to ``EVERY week'' and additional 
information is provided in the second sentence. The original 
instruction of ``Count paid time off as work'' was changed to ``Count 
paid vacation, paid sick leave, and military service as work.'' For 
part B of the question, the response option was changed to a write-in 
response, the reference period (``the PAST 12 MONTHS'') is repeated, 
and new guidance clarifies what to count as work.

Class of Worker

    Changes to the Class of Worker question improve overall question 
clarity, refine the definition of unpaid family workers, explicitly 
define a category for Active Duty military, improve question wording 
and categories, and improve the layout of the question. Response 
categories were grouped under three general headings. ``Active Duty'' 
was added as one of the response categories in the government section, 
and the ``Active Duty'' checkbox was dropped from the Employer Name 
question. Question and response category wording were revised for 
clarity. To signal that all six employment characteristics questions 
refer to the same job (including industry and occupation), the series 
was renumbered from separate questions to a single series with sub-
questions. Lastly, the instructional text and heading for the series 
immediately preceding the Class of Worker question was simplified.

Industry and Occupation

    Ongoing research of the Industry and Occupation question write-in 
responses has demonstrated that the questions were unclear and 
confusing to respondents, who were unable to answer at all or answer 
with sufficient clarity to provide useful data. To increase clarity and 
improve occupational specificity, these questions were revised to 
include new and consistent examples, in terms of content and length, 
and include modified question wording. The number of

[[Page 58380]]

characters for write-in responses about ``Job Duties'' was expanded 
from 60 to 100 characters.

Retirement Income

    Over the last 40 years, defined contribution retirement plans have 
become increasingly common while defined benefit plans (such as 
pensions) have become less so. Federal surveys have lagged in 
addressing these newer forms of retirement income and subsequently 
underreport retirement income. The Retirement, Survivor, and Disability 
Income question was changed to improve income reporting, increase item 
response rates, reduce reporting errors, and update questions on 
retirement income and the income generated from retirement accounts and 
all other assets in order to better measure retirement income data. The 
question was expanded to ask about ``retirement income, pensions, 
survivor or disability income.'' In addition, the instructions that 
accompany the question were expanded to note that income from ``a 
previous employer or union, or any regular withdrawals or distributions 
from IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other accounts specifically 
designed for retirement'' should be included.

Relationship

    For several years, the Census Bureau has been testing revised 
Relationship questions to improve the estimates of coupled households. 
The 1990 Census first introduced ``Unmarried Partner'' as a response 
category to the Relationship to Householder question. The 2000 and 2010 
Censuses built upon this work, changing the processing of responses to 
the Relationship question to more accurately represent same-sex 
couples. The Census Bureau discovered a statistical error in the 2010 
Census data that resulted from opposite-sex couples mismarking their 
sex. This error has the potential to inflate the estimates of same-sex, 
married-couple households from the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau 
released a set of modified state-level, same-sex household estimates 
from the 2010 Census because of this error, and also began new research 
efforts to improve the Relationship question.
    The Relationship question has been revised to improve measurement 
of same-sex couples. The existing ``Husband or wife'' and ``Unmarried 
partner'' response categories were each split into two versions: 
``Opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse,'' ``Opposite-sex unmarried 
partner,'' ``Same-sex husband/wife/spouse,'' and ``Same-sex unmarried 
partner.'' Additionally, the two unmarried partner categories were 
moved from near the end of the list of response options to near the 
beginning, immediately after the ``Husband/wife/spouse'' options. An 
automated relationship/sex consistency check will be included in 
electronic instruments to provide respondents an opportunity to change 
their sex or relationship responses when there is an inconsistency in 
the reported sex of an individual and whether their relationship was 
reported as ``Opposite-sex'' or ``Same-sex'' husband/wife/spouse or 
unmarried partner. This check reduces the inconsistency in responses 
for a given household and improves the quality of the relationship 
data. The category ``Roomer or boarder'' has been dropped from the 
Relationship question.

Race and Hispanic Origin

    The 2016 ACS Content Test served as an operational test of the race 
and ethnicity questions that were previously tested on the 2015 
National Content Test (NCT). While recommendations about the race and 
ethnicity questions adopted for the 2020 Census and production ACS will 
be based on the results of the census tests and decisions made in 
consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2016 
ACS Content Test provided an opportunity to test data collection modes 
and examine other data not available in the 2015 NCT. The 2016 ACS 
Content Test evaluated interviewer-administered collection modes, 
assessed the race and ethnicity questions against demographic and 
socioeconomic data, and separately compared the race and ethnicity 
results to data from the ancestry question. In 2020 or later, the ACS 
will adopt the final version of the race and Hispanic origin questions 
that are implemented for the 2020 Census.

II. Method of Collection

    In August 2012, the OMB in conjunction with the Census Bureau 
established a Subcommittee of the Interagency Council on Statistical 
Policy (ICSP) to address ACS matters. The ICSP Subcommittee on the ACS 
exists to advise the Chief Statistician at OMB and the Director of the 
Census Bureau on how the ACS can best fulfill its role in the portfolio 
of Federal household surveys and provide the most useful information 
with the least amount of burden. It may also advise Census Bureau 
technical staff on issues they request the subcommittee to examine or 
that otherwise arise in discussions. The ICSP Subcommittee on the ACS 
reviewed the proposed 2019 ACS content changes and recommended their 
approval to the OMB and the Census Bureau. For the 2016 ACS Content 
Test, initial versions of the new and revised questions were proposed 
by federal agencies participating in the OMB Interagency Committee for 
the ACS. The initial proposals contained a justification for each 
change and described any previous testing of the question wording, the 
expected impact of revisions to the time series and the single-year as 
well as five-year estimates, and the estimated net impact on respondent 
burden for the proposed revision. For proposed new questions, the 
justification also described the need for the new data, whether federal 
law or regulation required the data for small areas or small population 
groups, if other data sources were currently available to provide the 
information (and why any alternate sources were insufficient), how 
policy needs or emerging data needs would be addressed through the new 
question, an explanation of why the data were needed with the 
geographic precision and frequency provided by the ACS, and whether 
other testing or production surveys had evaluated the use of the 
proposed questions.
    The Census Bureau and the OMB, as well as the ICSP Subcommittee, 
reviewed these proposals for the ACS. The OMB determined which 
proposals moved forward into cognitive testing. After OMB approval of 
the proposals, topical subcommittees were formed from the OMB 
Interagency Committee on the ACS, which included all interested federal 
agencies that use the data from the proposed questions. These 
subcommittees further refined the specific proposed wording in 
preparation for cognitive testing.
    The Census Bureau contracted with Westat, an internationally 
recognized organization with expertise in statistical research and 
survey methods, to conduct three rounds of cognitive testing. The 
results of the first two rounds of cognitive testing informed decisions 
on specific revisions to the proposed content for the stateside 2016 
ACS Content Test. The proposed changes, identified through cognitive 
testing for each question topic, were reviewed by the Census Bureau, 
the corresponding topical subcommittee, and the ICSP Subcommittee for 
the ACS. The OMB then provided final overall approval of the proposed 
wording for field testing.
    The public is invited to comment on all questions on the ACS; 
however, the Census Bureau is particularly interested in comments on 
the wording changes to the nine ACS questions listed above, which are 
proposed to be changed based

[[Page 58381]]

on the results of the 2016 ACS Content Test. Concurrently, Federal 
agencies that are the principal sponsors of these nine questions are 
invited to respond either directly to the Census Bureau or through this 
notice.

III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0810.
    Form Number(s): ACS-1(2019).
    Type of Review: Regular submission.
    Affected Public: Federal and legislative agencies, individuals, 
households, and businesses.
    Estimated Time per Response: 40 minutes for the average household 
questionnaire.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: The Census Bureau plans to 
contact the following number of respondents each year: 3,540,000 
households; 200,000 persons in group quarters; 20,000 contacts in group 
quarters; 43,000 households for reinterview; and 1,500 group quarters 
contacts for reinterview. The estimate is an annual average of 
2,337,900 burden hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.
    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C. Sections 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.

Sheleen Dumas,
Departmental PRA Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2017-26726 Filed 12-11-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-07-P