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Memorandum 2017.17: 2020 Census Decision to Change the Name of the Coverage Measurement Survey to the Post-Enumeration Survey

Memorandum 2017.17
Component ID: #ti1885110254

This memorandum documents the decision to change the name of the Coverage Measurement Survey for the 2020 Census to the Post-Enumeration Survey. Since 1980, the Census Bureau has conducted a national survey after every decennial census to measure the coverage of housing units and of the population living in housing units, as measured by the census. This approach involves case-by-case matching of individuals and housing units in an independent survey with those in the census to determine who (or what housing units) were missed or counted in error. Although initial plans for the 2020 Census referred to this survey as the Coverage Measurement Survey, the Census Bureau has decided to rename the survey as the Post-Enumeration Survey or PES because –

(1) The term post-enumeration is well recognized. It is used by other countries. See the UN handbook on conducting a post-enumeration survey: unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/standmeth/handbooks/Manual_PESen.pdf.

(2) Census.gov provides information on the post-enumeration surveys the Census Bureau has conducted prior to 2010 under the heading "Post-Enumeration Surveys."

Component ID: #ti1345213709

What’s changing as a result of this decision?

The Post-Enumeration Survey is conducted as part of the Coverage Measurement Program. There are two 2020 Census Implementation Project Teams (IPT) assigned with the design, planning, and implementation of the PES operations. These teams will continue to be associated with their Coverage Measurement Program naming convention. However, all Post-Enumeration Survey suboperations will refer to the survey name instead.

As a result,

  • The survey name Coverage Measurement Survey will change to Post-Enumeration Survey (PES).
  • All public facing documents must use Post-Enumeration Survey (PES). This means that all survey data-collection instruments, training, and field materials will refer to the PES.
  • For consistency purposes, all other suboperations within the PES lifecycle, such as the sampling, estimation, and matching, will also refer to the PES.
  • The Office of Management and Budget packages, specifications, requirements, study plans, etc., will be changed to refer to the PES.
  • Software Engineering and Infrastructure artifacts relating to PES (previously CM) software will change names to PES (e.g., PES Processing and Control System (PCS), PES Clerical Matching, PES BCU Sampling, etc.)
  • Business Process Models and Capability Requirements need to change to PES.
  • Schedule activity lines will refer to PES, although the schedule work breakdown structure identification will use the unchanged operation names of 1) CM Design and Estimation (CMDE); 2) CM Field Operations (CMFO); and 3) CM Matching (CMM).

Component ID: #ti1681184279

What’s NOT Changing as a Result of this Decision?

  • Implementation Project Team (IPT) names remain as 1) Coverage Measurement (CM) Design and Estimation or CMDE IPT, and 2) CM Field and Matching Operations or CMFM IPT.
  • Operation name abbreviations used in the main groupings of PES operations in the 2020 Census Operational Plan and the Detailed Operational Plans for CMDE, CMFO, and CMM will not change. However, references to the work done by the IPTs will refer to the PES suboperations.

Component ID: #ti23583730

Summary of Coverage Measurement Operations and Post-Enumeration Survey Suboperations

Coverage Measurement (CM) conducts a Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) whose operations are managed by the CMDE and CMFM IPTs and include the following operations:

CM Design and Estimation (CMDE) — composed of the following major suboperations:

  • PES Sampling (and subsampling) operations
  • PES Estimation operations

CM Field Operations (CMFO) — composed of the following major suboperations:

  • PES Independent Listing (IL) operation
  • PES Initial Housing Unit Followup (IHUFU) operation
  • PES Person Interview (PI) operation
  • PES Person Followup (PFU) operation
  • PES Final Housing Unit Followup (FHUFU) operation

CM Matching (CMM) — composed of the following major suboperations:

  • PES Initial Housing Unit Computer Matching
  • PES Initial Housing Unit Clerical Matching
  • PES Clerical Geocoding and Residence Status Coding
  • PES Person Computer Matching
  • PES Person Clerical Matching
  • PES Final Housing Unit Computer Processing and Matching
  • PES Final Housing Unit Clerical Matching

Component ID: #ti1412667197

Footnote or explanation statement that can be used in both internal and external documents

Coverage Measurement (CM) conducts a Post-Enumerations Survey (PES) whose operations are managed by the CM Design and Estimation (CMDE) and CM Field and Matching (CMFM) Implementation Project Teams. The three main groupings of 2020 Census CM operations are CMDE, CM Field Operations (CMFO), and CM Matching (CMM). Because the name of the survey for 2020 has been changed from the Coverage Measurement Survey to the Post-Enumeration Survey, the suboperations for these main CM operations will use the PES name instead.

Component ID: #ti751036930

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series documents significant decisions, actions, and accomplishments of the 2020 Census Program for the purpose of informing stakeholders, coordinating interdivisional efforts, and documenting important historical changes.

A memorandum generally will be added to this series for any decision or documentation that meets the following criteria:

  1. A major program level decision that will affect the overall design or have significant effect on 2020 Census operations or systems.
  2. A major policy decision or change that will affect the overall design or significantly impact 2020 Census operations or systems.
  3. A report that documents the research and testing for 2020 Census operations or systems.


Visit 2020census.gov to access the Memorandum Series, the 2020 Census Operational Plan, and other information about preparations for the 2020 Census.

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