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Evaluation Report Covering Place of Birth, U.S. Citizenship Status, and Year of Arrival

Philip Harris, Renuka Bhaskar, Claire Shook-Finucane, Leah Ericson
Component ID: #ti806810259

Objective

In January through March of 2006, the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted the first test of new and modified content since the ACS reached full implementation levels of data collection. The results of the testing provided below will determine the content for the 2008 ACS. The proposed changes to the place of birth, U.S. citizenship status, and “year of arrival” questions on the ACS are intended to correct inaccuracies with the current questionnaire items and are necessary to meet congressionally funded initiatives.

Collecting information on detailed place of birth will improve Congressionally-funded activities such as the intercensal population estimates program. It will also improve the understanding of regional variations of source countries of the foreign born and aid in editing country of birth by providing more detail to use for editing. Collecting year of naturalization will 1) aid in verifying the accuracy of the reported rates of naturalization, shown by some research to be overstated with the current U.S. citizenship status question (Van Hook et al., 2004) and 2) serve as the first official benchmark to compare with Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) administrative records on naturalization. It also will assist in editing U.S. citizenship status by providing more detail. Collecting more accurate information on year of arrival is imperative to enumerating the foreign born (such as international migration estimates) and checking the consistency of responses for year of naturalization. The current year of entry question does not measure duration of residence in the United States as well as possible because it does not ask respondents if they have entered the United States to live, work, or study more than once. Therefore, the year reported might not be the first time that they entered the United States.

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