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Digest of Education Statistics: 2011
Digest of Education Statistics: 2011

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

Appendix A.4. Census Bureau

Census of Population—Education in the United States

Some tables in this report are based on a part of the decennial census that consists of questions asked of a one-in-six sample of people and housing units in the United States. This sample was asked more detailed questions about income, occupation, and housing costs, in addition to general demographic information.

School enrollment. People classified as enrolled in school reported attending a "regular" public or private school or college. They were asked whether the institution they attended was public or private and what level of school they were enrolled in.

Educational attainment. Data for educational attainment were tabulated for people ages 15 and older and classified according to the highest grade completed or the highest degree received. Instructions were also given to include the level of the previous grade attended or the highest degree received for people currently enrolled in school.

Poverty status. To determine poverty status, answers to income questions were used to make comparisons to the appropriate poverty threshold. All people except those who were institutionalized, people in military group quarters and college dormitories, and unrelated people under age 15 were considered. If the total income of each family or unrelated individual in the sample was below the corresponding cutoff, that family or individual was classified as "below the poverty level."

Some 2010 Census data has already been released. Different reports and data on different states are scheduled for release in small sets on a weekly basis until late 2013.

Further information on the 1990, 2000, and 2010 Census of Population may be obtained from

Population Division
Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen1990.html
http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html

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Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS is the primary source of information of labor force statistics for the U.S. noninstitutionalized population (e.g., excludes military personnel and their families living on bases and inmates of institutions). In addition, supplemental questionnaires are used to provide further information about the U.S. population. Specifically, in October, detailed questions regarding school enrollment and school characteristics are asked. In March, detailed questions regarding income are asked.

The current sample design, introduced in July 2001, includes about 72,000 households. Each month about 58,900 of the 72,000 households are eligible for interview, and of those, 7 to 10 percent are not interviewed because of temporary absence or unavailability. Information is obtained each month from those in the household who are 15 years of age and older and demographic data are collected for children 0–14 years of age. Prior to July 2001, data were collected in the CPS from about 50,000 dwelling units. The samples are initially selected based on the decennial census files and are periodically updated to reflect new housing construction.

The estimation procedure employed for monthly CPS data involves inflating weighted sample results to independent estimates of characteristics of the civilian noninstitutional population in the United States by age, sex, and race. These independent estimates are based on statistics from decennial censuses; statistics on births, deaths, immigration, and emigration; and statistics on the population in the armed services. Generalized standard error tables are provided in the Current Population Reports; methods for deriving standard errors can be found within the CPS technical documentation at http://www.census.gov/apsd/techdoc/cps/cps-main.html. The CPS data are subject to both nonsampling and sampling errors.

Caution should also be used when comparing data from 1994 through 2001 with data from 1993 and earlier. Data from 1994 through 2001 reflect 1990 census-based population controls, while data from 1993 and earlier reflect 1980 or earlier census-based population controls. Also use caution when comparing data from 1994 through 2001 with data from 2002 onward, as data from 2002 reflect 2000 census-based controls. Changes in population controls generally have relatively little impact on summary measures such as means, medians, and percentage distributions. They can have a significant impact on population counts. For example, use of the 1990 census-based population control resulted in about a 1 percent increase in the civilian noninstitutional population and in the number of families and households. Thus, estimates of levels for data collected in 1994 and later years will differ from those for earlier years by more than what could be attributed to actual changes in the population. These differences could be disproportionately greater for certain subpopulation groups than for the total population.

Beginning in 2003, race/ethnicity questions expanded to include information on people of two or more races. Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian data are collected separately from Asian data. The questions have also been worded to make it clear that self-reported data on race/ethnicity should reflect the race/ethnicity with which the responder identifies, rather than what may be written in official documentation.

Further information on CPS may be obtained from

Education and Social Stratification Branch
Population Division
Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
http://www.census.gov/cps

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Dropouts

Each October, the Current Population Survey (CPS) includes supplemental questions on the enrollment status of the population ages 3 years and over as part of the monthly basic survey on labor force participation. In addition to gathering the information on school enrollment, with the limitations on accuracy as noted below under "School Enrollment," the survey data permit calculations of dropout rates. Both status and event dropout rates are tabulated from the October CPS. The Digest provides information using the status rate calculation. Event rates describe the proportion of students who leave school each year without completing a high school program. Status rates provide cumulative data on dropouts among all young adults within a specified age range. Status rates are higher than event rates because they include all dropouts ages 16 through 24, regardless of when they last attended school.

In addition to other survey limitations, dropout rates may be affected by survey coverage and exclusion of the institutionalized population. The incarcerated population has grown more rapidly and has a higher dropout rate than the general population. Dropout rates for the total population might be higher than those for the noninstitutionalized population if the prison and jail populations were included in the dropout rate calculations. On the other hand, if military personnel, who tend to be high school graduates, were included, it might offset some or all of the impact from the theoretical inclusion of the jail and prison population.

Another area of concern with tabulations involving young people in household surveys is the relatively low coverage ratio compared to older age groups. CPS undercoverage results from missed housing units and missed people within sample households. Overall CPS undercoverage for March 2008 is estimated to be about 12 percent. CPS undercoverage varies with age, sex, and race. Generally, undercoverage is larger for males than for females and larger for Blacks than for non-Blacks. For example, in 2008 the undercoverage ratio for Black 20- to 24-year-old males is 30 percent. The CPS weighting procedure partially corrects for the bias due to undercoverage. Further information on CPS methodology may be obtained from http://www.census.gov/cps.

Further information on the calculation of dropouts and dropout rates may be obtained from High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2007 at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009064 or by contacting

Chris Chapman
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division
Early Childhood and Household Studies Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

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Educational Attainment

Reports documenting educational attainment are produced by the Census Bureau using March CPS supplement (Annual Social and Economic Supplement [ASEC]) results. The sample size for the 2009 March supplement (including basic CPS) was about 72,000 households; about 58,700 were eligible for interview and about 54,100 interviews were completed. The latest release is Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009, which may be downloaded at http://www.census.gov/population/www/ socdemo/education/cps2009.html.

In addition to the general constraints of CPS, some data indicate that the respondents have a tendency to overestimate the educational level of members of their household. Some inaccuracy is due to a lack of the respondent's knowledge of the exact educational attainment of each household member and the hesitancy to acknowledge anything less than a high school education. Another cause of nonsampling variability is the change in the numbers in the armed services over the years.

The March 2009 basic CPS unweighted response rate was 92.2 percent and the ASEC household-level unweighted response rate was 93.0 percent, for a total supplement unweighted response rate of 85.8 percent.

Further information on CPS's educational attainment may be obtained from the CPS website at

http://www.census.gov/cps.

Further information on CPS's educational attainment data may be obtained from

Education and Social Stratification Branch
Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education

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School Enrollment

Each October, the Current Population Survey (CPS) includes supplemental questions on the enrollment status of the population ages 3 years and over. Prior to 2001, the October supplement consisted of approximately 47,000 interviewed households. Beginning with the October 2001 supplement, the sample was expanded by 9,000 to a total of approximately 56,000 interviewed households. The main sources of nonsampling variability in the responses to the supplement are those inherent in the survey instrument. The question of current enrollment may not be answered accurately for various reasons. Some respondents may not know current grade information for every student in the household, a problem especially prevalent for households with members in college or in nursery school. Confusion over college credits or hours taken by a student may make it difficult to determine the year in which the student is enrolled. Problems may occur with the definition of nursery school (a group or class organized to provide educational experiences for children) where respondents' interpretations of "educational experiences" vary.

The October 2009 basic CPS unweighted household-level response rate was 92.1 percent and the school enrollment supplement unweighted person-level response rate was 93.8 percent. Since these rates are determined at different levels they cannot be combined to derive an overall unweighted response rate.

Further information on CPS methodology may be obtained from http://www.census.gov/cps.

Further information on the CPS School Enrollment Supplement may be obtained from

Further information on the CPS School Enrollment Supplement may be obtained from

Education and Social Stratification Branch
Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html

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Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances

The Census Bureau conducts an Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances as authorized by law under Title 13, United States Code, Section 182. Periodic surveys of government finances have been conducted since 1902 and annually since 1952. This survey covers the entire range of government finance activities: revenue, expenditure, debt, and assets. Revenues and expenditures comprise actual receipts and payments of a government and its agencies, including government-operated enterprises, utilities, and public trust funds. The expenditure-reporting categories comprise all amounts of money paid out by a government and its agencies, with the exception of amounts for debt retirement and for loan, investment, agency, and private trust transactions.

Most of the federal government statistics are based on figures that appear in The Budget of the United States Government. Since the classification used by the Census Bureau for reporting state and local government finance statistics differs in a number of important respects from the classification used in the U.S. budget, it was necessary to adjust the federal data. For this report, federal budget expenditures include interest accrued, but not paid, during the fiscal year; Census data on interest are on a disbursement basis.

State government finances are based primarily on the annual Census Bureau Survey of Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances. Census analysts compile figures from official records and reports of the state governments for most of the state financial data. States differ in the ways they administer activities; they may fund such activities directly, or they may disburse the money to a lower level government or government agency. Therefore, caution is advised when attempting to make a direct comparison between states on their state fiscal aid data.

The sample of local governments is drawn from the periodic (years ending in '2' and '7') Census of Governments and consists of certain local governments sampled with certainty plus a sample below the certainty level. Finance data for all school districts are collected on an annual basis and released through the NCES Common Core of Data system. A new sample is usually selected every 5 years (years ending in '4' and '9'), the most recent one being in fiscal year 2009. Data are available for fiscal year 2008.

The statistics in Government Finances that are based wholly or partly on data from the sample are subject to sampling error. State government finance data are not subject to sampling error. Estimates of major U.S. totals for local governments are subject to a computed sampling variability of less than one-half of l percent. The estimates are also subject to the inaccuracies in classification, response, and processing that would occur if a complete census had been conducted under the same conditions as the sample.

Further information on government finances may be obtained from

Governments Division
Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233

Local government
govs.finstaff@census.gov

State government
govs.public.finance.analysis.b.@census.gov
http://www.census.gov/govs

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Survey of Income and Program Participation

The main objective of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the income and program participation of individuals and households in the United States and about the principal determinants of income and program participation. SIPP offers detailed information on cash and noncash income on a subannual basis. The survey also collects data on taxes, assets, liabilities, and participation in government transfer programs. SIPP data allow the government to evaluate the effectiveness of federal, state, and local programs.

The survey design is a continuous series of national panels, with sample size ranging from approximately 14,000 to 36,700 interviewed households. The duration of each panel ranges from 2 1/2 years to 4 years. The SIPP sample is a multistage-stratified sample of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. For the 1984–93 panels, a new panel of households was introduced each year in February. A 4-year panel was introduced in April 1996. A 2000 panel was introduced in February 2000 for two waves, but was cancelled after 8 months. A 2.5-year panel was introduced in February 2004 and is the first SIPP panel to use the 2000 decennial-based redesign of the sample. All household members ages 15 years and over are interviewed by self-response, if possible. Proxy response is permitted when household members are not available for interviewing. The latest panel was selected in September 2008.

The SIPP content is built around a "core" of labor force, program participation, and income questions designed to measure the economic situation of people in the United States. These questions expand the data currently available on the distribution of cash and noncash income and are repeated at each interviewing wave. The survey uses a 4-month recall period, with approximately the same number of interviews being conducted in each month of the 4-month period for each wave. Interviews are conducted by personal visit and by decentralized telephone.

The survey has been designed to also provide a broader context for analysis by adding questions on a variety of topics not covered in the core section. These questions are labeled "topical modules" and are assigned to particular interviewing waves of the survey. Topics covered by the modules include personal history, child care, wealth, program eligibility, child support, utilization and cost of healthcare, disability, school enrollment, taxes, and annual income.

Further information on the SIPP may be obtained from

Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
http://www.census.gov/sipp/overview.html


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