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Measuring Local Heterogeneity with 1990 U.S. Census Data


  • Kenneth W. Wachter

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • David A. Freedman

    (University of California, Berkeley)


A sample covering 204,394 blocks from the 1990 U.S.Census permits measurement of residual heterogeneity from local area to local area after controlling by stratification for demographic characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, sex as well as geographic characteristics such as region and place-type. The local areas have populations on the order of 10,000 people. The variables studied are four indices of enumeration difficulty. The results show that variance due to heterogeneity from area to area is comparable to (if not larger than) variance from stratum to stratum and can be expected to dominate sampling variance---especially with samples as large as the ones used in the U.S. Census Bureau's Post-Enumeration Surveys. These findings constrain the viable estimation strategies that could be employed for local tallies in the U.S.2000 Census.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth W. Wachter & David A. Freedman, 2000. "Measuring Local Heterogeneity with 1990 U.S. Census Data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(10), November.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:3:y:2000:i:10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Norman Ryder, 1978. "A model of fertility by planning status," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 15(4), pages 433-458, November.
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    3. N. Ryder, 1964. "The process of demographic translation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 1(1), pages 74-82, March.
    4. John Bongaarts & Griffith Feeney, 2002. "How Long Do We Live?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 13-29.
    5. Robert Schoen, 2004. "Timing effects and the interpretation of period fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(4), pages 801-819, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Berk, 2009. "What Now? Some Brief Reflections on Model-Free Data Analysis," International Econometric Review (IER), Econometric Research Association, vol. 1(1), pages 18-27, April.

    More about this item


    census; census adjustment; heterogeneity; small area estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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