University of New Mexico Sr. Research Scientist Jack Baker has been selected to serve on the National Academy of the Science's (NAS) Panel to Review the 2010 Census, a committee convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT).
The CNSTAT operates as the primary objective, external reviewer for Federal Statistical Agencies, including the US Bureau of the Census. This Panel is comprised of an adhoc group of experts charged with conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the statistical methods and operational procedures of the 2010 Census, and advising the Bureau on how to plan for a more cost-effective 2020 Census.
The Panel's charge is to review methods and operational procedures relevant to the enhancing the completeness, quality, and cost-effectiveness of the 2010 enumeration, with an eye toward advising the Bureau on how to plan for a more effective 2020 Census.
Baker, who works in the newly-formed Geospatial and Population Studies program, formerly the population group of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, was selected to serve on this Panel based on consulting work he performed for the Bureau between 2008 and 2010, when it sought his expertise in applications of Geographic Information Systems technology to demographic analysis and address database formulation.
"Based on my experiences using GIS software for demographic applications, the Census Bureau's Population Division contracted myself and the State Demographer of Montana, Jim Sylvester, to provide expert consulting on both the conceptual design of the program and the technical nuts and bolts of GIS," said Baker.
Under their advisement, that program was redesigned in three important ways: (1) it is based on address lists, which form the heart of the decennial enumeration operation, (2) it is conducted using a computerized map in GIS, and (3) it occurs in real-time while the census itself is conducted, with documentation triggering direct field work by census enumerators to verify information provided by the State demographers. This work was very successful and won the Census Bureau's Director's Award for Innovation in 2010.
"Based on that work, I was selected to the NAS Panel to provide further advice on geographic aspects of the decennial operations in general. I am working with internationally-renowned group of advisors, most of which have many more years of experience than I do," said Baker, who received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UNM in 2007. "To get onto such a high-level panel this early in my career is pretty humbling, but also says a lot about the supportiveness of my unit, Geospatial and Population Studies, our partners within the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (especially the UNM Data Bank), colleagues in other State Demography offices who have generously shared their knowledge and experience with me, and the quality of education I received here at UNM".
Baker's research experience in demography has focused upon small area population estimation methods, demographic analysis, spatial demography, the ecology of human growth, and geospatial aspects of census operations. He has represented the State of New Mexico in the FSCPE since 2006, serving on numerous committees including the Steering Committee (2008-2009), Research Methods Subcommittee (2007-Present), and the 2010 Count Review Committee (2008-2010).
This NAS panel, which is releasing an interim report on Friday, March 25, will also draw lessons for design and planning for a more cost-effective 2020 census. The panel will issue a final report at the completion of a five-year study with its findings and recommendations and will issue one or more interim reports as needed to address particular topics which are important in order to provide an early assessment of 2010 operations and advice for 2020 census planning.