Census limits: a reference to marginal populations

Marden Campos, OLAC

When we think about undercount problems in the census, we usually refer to individuals who could not be reached by the interviewers, either because their homes were not found or because, despite finding their residences, the interviews could not be conducted. Another common undercount case takes place when some individuals are forgotten by the informant, usually children, elderly and disabled people.

Nevertheless, a kind of phenomenon that affects significantly the census coverage is the failure to consider certain types of individuals as residents of the households. We consider these individuals as “marginal cases”, as they depart from the concept of “typical citizen” that the census is expecting to find. Examples of such individuals arimagesme some indigenous peoples, homeless, undocumented migrants or the gypsies, a typical itinerant  people with “inaccurate” residence condition.

During the design of the census operations such groups are often treated as marginal cases, which would not affect the census operation. This situation restrict some types of analysis based on census data though, as I will try to discuss throughout the text. Sigue leyendo