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U.S.DepartmentofCommerceEconomicsandStatisticsAdministrationU.S.CENSUSBUREAUcensus.govInformationGuideAmericanCommunitySurvey GGrreetingseetingsAMessageFromtheDirectorIwanttothankyoupersonallyfortakingthetimetoreviewtheAmericanCommunitySurveyACSInformationGuide.PleaseusethisbookletasyourreferenceforanyquestionsthatmayariseabouttheACS.TheACSisanationwidesurveythatcollectsandproducesinformationondemographicsocialeconomicandhousingcharacteristicsaboutournationspopulationeveryyear.Thisinformationprovidesanimportanttoolforcommunitiestousetoseehowtheyarechanging.WhenpeoplellouttheACSformtheyarehelpingtoensurethatdecisionsaboutthefutureoftheircommunitycanbemadeusingthebestdataavailable.Decisionmakersrequireaclearpictureoftheirpopulationsothatscarceresourcescanbeallocatedecientlyandeectively.EveryyeartheU.S.CensusBureaucontactsover3.5millionhouseholdsacrossthecountrytoparticipateintheACS.TohelpthoserespondingtotheACSthisbookletcontainsinformationonthesurveyaspectsthataecttheAmericanpublicthemostACScollectionproceduresquestionsaskedintheACSusesandimportanceofeachquestionandhowtoaccesstheACSestimatesproduced.TheCensusBureaustaandIlookforwardtoservingyou.WewillcontinuetocollectandpublishACSestimateseveryyearandtherebyprovidethestatisticsyourcommunityneedsintheyearstocome.IthankyouforyourinterestintheAmericanCommunitySurvey.SincerelyThomasL.MesenbourgJr.SeniorAdvisorPerformingtheDutiesoftheDirector AmericanCommunitySurveyIntroduction...................................................2ShortHistoryotheACS..........................................2ImportanceoParticipatingintheACS...............................3WhoUsestheACSandWhy.......................................4HowtheACSWorksorYourCommunity.............................6ACSSubjectsandDataProducts....................................7HowACSDataAreCollected.......................................8AddressSelection..............................................8AddressContactedbyMail.......................................8TelephoneFollow-UporSurveysNotCompleted......................9PersonalVisitFollow-UporSurveysNotCompletedorAddressesWithPostOfceBoxMailDelivery....................................9PersonalVisitorPeopleLivinginGroupHousing......................9TelephoneFollow-UporFormsReturnedIncomplete...................9TheU.S.ConstitutionTitle13andtheACS..........................10TheU.S.CensusBureauOathoNondisclosure........................11TheEssentialRoleotheACS.....................................11TheACSCompassProductsHandbooks.............................12TheACSCompassProductsOnlineTutorial..........................12TheACSCompassProductsPresentations...........................13WhyDoestheACSAsk..........................................14FrequentlyAskedRespondentQuestions............................15FindOutMoreAboutYourCommunityThroughNewToolsortheACS.....16FourWaystoFindHelpWithACSStatistics...........................17ContactInormation............................................17U.S.CensusBureauRegionalOfces....................InsidebackcoverContents IntroductionThishandbookprovidesanoverviewotheU.S.CensusBureausAmericanCommunitySurveyACS.ThepurposeistohelpexplainhowACSdataarecollectedtheimportanceocompletingtheACSsurveyandtheusesandbeneftsoACSstatistics.ShortHistoryoftheACSEvery10yearssince1790CongresshasauthorizedthegovernmenttoconductanationalcensusotheU.S.populationasrequiredbytheU.S.Constitution.JamesMadisonensuredthattheConstitutiongaveCongresstheauthoritytocollectadditionalinormationbeyondthepopulationcountinordertoenableuturelegislatorstoadaptthepublicmeasurestotheparticularcircumstancesothecommunity.1Inthetwentiethcenturythequestionsweredividedbetweenashortandlongorm.Onlyasubsetothepopulationwasrequiredtoanswerthelong-ormquestions.ThemostrecentcensusconsistedoashortormwhichincludedbasicquestionsaboutagesexraceHispanicoriginhouseholdrelationshipandownerrenterstatus.Aterthe2000CensusthelongormbecametheACSandwillcontinuetocollectlong-orm-typeinormationthroughoutthedecade.TheACSincludesnotonlythebasicshort-ormquestionsbutalsodetailedquestionsaboutpopulationandhousingcharacteristics.Itisanationwidecontinuoussurveydesignedtoprovidecommunitieswithreliableandtimelydemographichousingsocialandeconomicdataeveryyear.SinceitsstarttheACShasbeenprovidingacontinuousstreamoupdatedinormationorstatesandlocalareasandwillrevolutionizethewayweusestatisticstounderstandourcommunities.1SummaryodebateonCensusBillHouseoRepresentatives2526Jan.2Feb.1790.TheFoundersConstitution1987UniversityoChicagoVolume2Article1Section2Clause3Document19.2www.census.govacs ImportanceofParticipatingintheACSMostpeopleprobablyneverthinkabouthowlocalplannersknowwheretotargetnewdevelopmentorwherebusinessesgetthedatatheyneedtoplanorexpansion.Mostprobablydontthinkaboutwherepolicymakersgettheobjectiveinormationtheyneedtomakesureprogramsareontrackorthatlocalservicesarekeepingpacewiththeircommunityschangingdemographics.ItmaynotbetopothemindormostousbutitbecomesanimportantconsiderationwhensomeonereceivestheACSinthemail.EachcompletedsurveyisimportantbecauseitisabuildingblockusedtocreatestatisticsaboutcommunitiesinAmerica.TheinormationcollectedromallovertheUnitedStatesbytheACSandthroughoutPuertoRicobythePuertoRicoCommunitySurveyPRCSserveasanimpartialmeasuringstickthatisusedasthebasisordecisionsthatafectnearlyeveryaspectoourlives.PeoplewhoreceivetheACShavetheresponsibilityorespondingsothatthestatisticalportraitotheircommunityisascompleteandaccurateaspossible.EveryACSsurveyisanopportunityorarespondenttohelpafectwhattheircommunityreceives.Anindividualsresponsesarecombinedwithothersresponsestocreateandpublishstatisticsorcommunitiesnationwidewhichcanthenbeusedbycommunityandlocalgovernmentsandtheprivatesector.ACSestimatesareotenusedtohelpestablishprioritiesthroughaneedsassessmenttodevelopgeneralplansresearcheducationandadvocacywork.Givencompetingdemandsandlimitedresourcesitismoreimportantthaneverthatcommunitiesbasetheirgovernancedecisionsonanaccurateportraitothecurrentnation.ACSestimatescanbeanalyzedtoprioritizeproposedinitiativesandtoreassessexistingprograms.LocalgovernmentsalsoreceiverequestsorhelpandassistanceromavarietyocommunitygroupsandcivicorganizationsthatneedtobeassessedACSestimatesareanextremelyuseultoolorevaluatingtheserequests.www.census.govacs3 WhoUsestheACSandWhyFederalAgenciesThroughouttheederalgovernmentagenciesuseACSestimatestoinormpublicpolicymakersdistributeundsandassessprograms.ForexampletheU.S.DepartmentoJusticetheU.S.DepartmentoLaborandtheU.S.EqualEmploymentOpportunityCommissionuseACSestimatestoenorceemploymentantidiscriminationlaws.TheU.S.DepartmentoVeteransAfairsusesACSestimatestoevaluatetheneedorhealthcareeducationandemploymentprogramsorthosewhohaveservedinthemilitaryandtheU.S.DepartmentoEducationusesACSestimatestodevelopadulteducationandliteracyprograms.StateandLocalAgenciesInormationromtheACSiscriticaltostateandlocalagencies.Plannersandpolicymakersusetheup-to-dateestimatestoevaluatetheneedornewroadshospitalsschoolsseniorservicesandotherbasicservices.ForexampleemergencyresponseplannersusetheACSestimatestomodelthecharacteristicsoareahousingandpopulationsotheymayevaluatethesupportneededintheeventoanaturaldisaster.NongovernmentalorganizationsACSestimatesareavailabletothepublicandareroutinelyusedbyresearchersnonprotorganizationsandcommunitygroups.Thesegroupsproducereportsresearchpapersbusinessplanscasestudiesdatasetsandsotwarepackages.Someotheseactivitiesaredesignedtoinormthepublicsomearedesignedtourtherbusinessventuresandsomeareusedtoapplyorundingintheormograntsanddonationsorcommunityprojects.EmergencyPlannersEmergencyplannersuseACSestimatestondlocalstatisticscriticaltoemergencyplanningpreparednessandrecoveryeforts.WhensevereweatherthreatensoranaturaldisasterhasoccurredACSestimatesprovideimportantcharacteristicsaboutthedisplacedpopulationsuchassizeageanddisabilitystatusandthecharacteristicsohousingthatmaybedamagedordestroyed.AmericanIndiansandAlaskaNativesACSestimatesareavailableortribalplannersandadministratorsaswellasnationalorganizationsservingAmericanIndiansandAlaskaNativestouseinplanningorutureeconomicdevelopmenthousingneedsandaccesstohealthandeducationalservices.IncombinationwithinormationromtribaladministrativerecordsACSestimatescompletetheportraitothecommunityandprovideanenhancedviewoacommunityscurrentandutureneeds.4www.census.govacs BusinessesBusinessesuseACSestimatestoinormimportantstrategicdecision-making.ACSstatisticscanbeusedasacomponentomarketresearch.Theycanprovideinormationaboutconcentrationsopotentialemployeeswithaspecifceducationoroccupationcommunitiesthatcouldbegoodplacestobuildocesoracilitiesandinormationaboutpeoplethatmightneedtheirproductsorservices.Forexamplesomeonescoutinganewlocationoranassisted-livingcentermightlookoranareawithalargeproportionoseniorsandalargeproportionopeopleemployedinnursingoccupations.EducatorsACSestimatesareavailableoreducatorstoteachconceptsandskillssuchasstatisticalliteracysocialstudiesgeographyandmathematics.BecausetheACSisupdatedannuallyitprovidestimelyinormationorstudentseveryyear.JournalistsJournalistsuseACSestimatestohighlightandinvestigatetheissuesthatareimportanttoeachcommunity.Articlesrequentlyappearacrossthecountryontopicssuchascommutingandtransportationunemploymentandearningseducationandhomeownership.AdditionallythewealthoACSstatisticsallowsjournaliststopaintaportraitosmallcommunitiesastheyrespondtochangesinpopulationemploymentandhousingneeds.PublicPeopleuseACSestimatestoanswerquestionstheyhaveabouttheirowncommunityandothercommunities.IapersonwantstoseehowtheycomparewiththeirneighborsorfndanewplacetolivetheycanlooktotheACStoprovideawealthoinormation.TheACSprovidesuseulstatisticsaboutthemedianincomeoanareathemedianageotheresidentsthemedianhousevalueandmonthlyhouseholdexpenses.TheACSisagoodsourceoinormationoncommutetoworktimesandtypesotransportationusedbythecommunity.ThesestatisticsandmoreareavailabletothepublicorcommunitiesacrosstheUnitedStates.www.census.govacs5 HowtheACSWorksforYourCommunityTheACSisanofcialCensusBureausurveythatispartotheDecennialCensus6www.census.govacsProgram.ItissenttoasmallpercentageoU.S.householdsmonthly. ACSSubjectsandDataProductsKeyACSDataProductsPopulationHousingDataprofilesProvidebroadsocialeconomichousinganddemographicproiles.ComparisonProfilesSimilartodataproilesbutshowdataside-by-sideromthe5mostrecentyearsotheACS.SelectedpopulationprofilesProvidebroadsocialeconomicandhousingproilesoralargenumberoraceethnicancestryandcountryregionobirthgroups.RankingtablesProvidestaterankingsoestimatesacross86keyvariables.SubjecttablesSimilartodataproilesbutincludemoredetailedACSdataclassiiedbysubject.DetailedtablesProvideaccesstothemostdetailedACSdataandcrosstabulationsoACSvariables.GeographiccomparisontablesComparegeographicareasotherthanstatese.g.countiesorcongressionaldistrictsorkeyvariables.SummaryfilesProvideaccesstothedetailedtablesthroughaseriesocomma-delimitedtextilesontheCensusBureausFTPsitewww2.census.gov.PublicUseMicrodataSamplefilesProvideaccesstoACSmicrodataordatauserswithSASandSPSSsotwareexperience.AgeBedroomsAncestryComputerandCitizenshipInternetuseDisabilityFarmresidenceEducationHouseheatinguelFertilityValueohousingunitsFieldoDegreeKitchenacilitiesFoodstampsSNAPPlumbingacilitiesGrandparentsascaregiversRentHealthinsuranceRoomsHispanicoriginSelectedmonthlyIncomeownercostsIndustryoccupationandTelephoneserviceclassoworkeravailableLabororcestatusTenureownerrenterLanguageUnitsinstructureMaritalhistoryandstatusVehiclesavailableMigrationYearmovedintounitPeriodomilitaryserviceYearstructurebuiltPlaceobirthPlaceoworkandjourneytoworkRaceRelationshiptohouseholdere.g.spouseResidence1yearagoSexUndergraduatefeldodegreeVeteranstatusWorkstatuslastyearYearonaturalizationwww.census.govacs7 AddressselectedFirstmonthMailsurveyinstructionsoronlineorpaperresponseSecondmonthTelephoneollow-upornonresponseNo-responseollow-upSelectaddressesorpersonalvisitACSThirdmonthVisitno-responseaddressesorpersonalinterviewCaseComplete8HowACSDataAreCollectedAddressSelectionOneimportantacttorememberabouttheACSisthattheormsarenotmailedtospecicpeoplebutrathertospecicaddresses.Thesampleisdesignedtoensuregoodgeographiccoverageanddoesnottargetindividuals.ByocusingonqualitygeographiccoveragetheACScanproduceagoodpictureothecommunityspeopleandhousingbysurveyingarepresentativesampleothepopulation.TheCensusBureauselectsarandomsampleoaddressestobeincludedintheACS.Eachaddresshasabouta1-in-480chanceobeingselectedinamonthandnoaddressshouldbeselectedmorethanonceevery5years.TheCensusBureaumailsquestionnairestoapproximately295000addressesamonthacrosstheUnitedStates.Thisisasmallnumberohouseholdsconsideringtherearemorethan180millionaddressesintheUnitedStatesandanaddressthatreceivesACSinstructionswillnotlikelyndaneighbororriendwhohasalsoreceivedthem.AddressContactedbyMailTheCensusBureauinormspeoplelivingatanaddressthattheyhavebeenselectedtoparticipateintheACS.ShortlythereaterormostU.S.addressesinstructionsorcompletingthesurveyonlinearemailed.InPuertoRicoandsomehardtoreachareasintheU.S.onlyapaperquestionnaireismailed.HouseholdsareaskedtocompletethesurveyonlineortomailthecompletedpaperquestionnairebacktotheCensusBureausNationalProcessingCenterinJefersonvilleIndiana.ItheCensusBureaudoesnotreceiveacompletedsurveywithinaewweeksitwillmailanadditionalpapersurveyquestionnaire. byCensusBureaueldrepresentativesMostU.S.addressesselectedortheACSwillreceiveinthemailAprenoticeletterInstructionstocompletetheACSonlineAremindercardAreplacementACSquestionnairepacketithequestionnaireisnotcompletedonlinewithin2weeksomailingAsecondremindercardiasurveyisnotcompletedwithin4weeksoinitialmailing9TelephoneFollow-UporSurveysNotCompletedThetelephoneollow-upoperationisconductedapproximately6weeksaterthesurveyinstructionsaremailed.TheCensusBureauwillattempttoobtaintelephonenumbersandconducttelephoneinterviewsoralladdressesthathavenotrespondedonlinebymailorbytelephone.ThetelephonecallsareassignedtooperatorsatoneothethreeCensusBureaucallcenterslocatedinHagerstownMarylandJefersonvilleIndianaorTucsonArizona.Censusoperatorsmakenumerousattemptsatdiferenttimesothedayeveningandonweekendstocontactanaddresstocompletethesurveyoverthephone.PersonalVisitFollow-UporSurveysNotCompletedorAddressesWithPostOfceBoxMailDeliveryFollowingthetelephoneoperationasampleistakenromtheaddressesthathavenotrespondedonlinebymailorbytelephoneandorthoseaddresseswithpostoceboxmaildelivery.Theseaddressesarevisitedwhowillconducttheinterviewinperson.PersonalVisitorPeopleLivinginGroupHousingAsampleopeoplelivingingroupquartersacilitiessuchascollegedormitoriesnursinghomesandprisonsarealsointerviewedinpersontoensurecoverageoeveryoneinthecountry.TelephoneFollow-UporFormsReturnedIncompleteAterthereturnedormsaredeliveredtotheCensusBureausNationalProcessingCenterandviatheInternettheyarereviewedorcompleteness.Formswithmissingitemsarereerredtothetelephonecallcentersortelephoneollow-up.CensusBureauoperatorsmakenumerousattemptsatdiferenttimesothedayandeveningtocontactanaddresstocollectthemissinginormation.AllitemsontheormareimportantandtheCensusBureaumakeseveryeforttocollectcompleteinormationromeveryaddressinthesample. TheU.S.ConstitutionTitle13andtheACSConductingtheACSiscoveredbytheconstitution.TheU.S.ConstitutionstatesthatAnEnumerationshallbemadewithinthreeYearsaterthefrstMeetingotheCongressotheUnitedStatesandwithineverysubsequentTermotenYearsinsuchMannerastheyshallbyLawdirect.PursuanttothisconstitutionaldirectiveCongresspassedseparatelawsoreachdecennialcensusandspecifedtheinormationtobecollected.In1954CongresscodifedearliercensusactsandallotherstatutesauthorizingthedecennialcensusasTitle13U.S.Code.FromtheveryfrstcensusactCongresssoughtthecollectionomoreinormationthanjustaheadcount.ThecurrentlegalauthorityorcollectingthesedataresidesinTitle13otheU.S.CodeortheCensusAct.TheCensusActprovidestheCensusBureauwithlegalauthoritytoconductthedecennialcensusanddelegatesbroaddiscretionaryauthoritytotheSecretaryoCommerceordeterminingthemanneroconductingthecensus.ThisauthorityhasbeenredelegatedbytheSecretarytotheDirectorotheCensusBureau.EventhoughCongresshasgrantedthisbroaddiscretionaryauthoritythequestionsaskedinthecensusandACSaredeterminedbywhatstatisticsareneededtoimplementavastarrayoederalprograms.CourtsroutinelyhaveupheldtheconstitutionalityocollectingcensusdatacharacterizingasunquestionablethepoweroCongresstorequirebothanenumerationandthecollectionostatisticsinthecensus.ThecourtshaveheldthattheConstitutionincludingtheourthandfthamendmentsdoesnotprohibitthegatheringootherstatisticsinadditiontotheenumerationevery10years.LegalAuthorityfortheCensusandtheACSConstitutionoftheUnitedStatesArticleISec.2inrelevantpart.RepresentativesanddirectTaxesshallbeapportionedamongtheseveralStateswhichmaybeincludedwithinthisUnionaccordingtotheirrespectiveNumbers...TheactualEnumerationshallbemadewithinthreeYearsaterthefrstMeetingotheCongressotheUnitedStatesandwithineverysubsequentTermotenYearsinsuchMannerastheyshallbyLawdirect.10www.census.govacs TheU.S.CensusBureauOathofNondisclosureTheU.S.CensusBureauOathofNondisclosureCensusBureauemployeesaresworntokeepyourinormationconfdential.IwillnotdiscloseanyinformationcontainedinthescheduleslistsorstatementsobtainedfororpreparedbytheCensusBureautoanypersonorpersonseitherduringorafteremployment.UnderederallawCensusBureauemployeeswhobreakthisoatharesubjecttoafneonotmorethan250000orimprisonmentornotmorethan5yearsorboth.TheEssentialRoleoftheACSTheACSservesthenationbyprovidingaconsistentandcohesivecollectionopopulationsocialhousingandeconomiccharacteristicsthatarecomparableacrossallU.S.geographies.Forover160yearstheFederalGovernmenthasuseddataonsocioeconomiccharacteristicstoguidepolicydecisions.FederalagenciesuseACSstatisticstodeterminetheequitabledistributionoasubstantialportionoederalassistancetothestatesparticularlyintheormogrants.TheACSisaederallyundedstatisticalproductthatCensusmakesavailabletothepublicthroughonlineaccesstoolsdocumentationandsupportprogramsordatausers.Title13U.S.Code141a.TheSecretaryshallintheyear1980andevery10yearsthereatertakeadecennialcensusopopulationasothefrstdayoAprilosuchyearwhichdateshallbeknownasthedecennialcensusdateinsuchormandcontentashemaydetermineincludingtheuseosamplingproceduresandspecialsurveys.InconnectionwithanysuchcensustheSecretaryisauthorizedtoobtainsuchothercensusinormationasnecessary.Title13U.S.Code193.InadvanceoinconjunctionwithoraterthetakingoeachcensusprovidedorbythischaptertheSecretarymaymakesurveysandcollectsuchpreliminaryandsupplementarystatisticsrelatedtothemaintopicothecensusasarenecessarytotheinitiationtakingorcompletionthereo.www.census.govacs11 TheACSCompassProductsHandbooksYoucanuseACSestimatesindiferentwaysandordiferentreasons.EachoneoourdownloadablePDFCompasshandbookshelpsaparticulargroupwithspecichow-toinstructionsandorcasestudies.www.census.govacswwwguidance_for_data_usershandbooksGeneralUsersHerearethebasicsotheACSwiththeopportunitiesandchallengesousingtheseestimates.LearntoaccessanduseACSdataontheCensusBureausWebsite.PlusndconcreteexamplesohowACSdatacananswerreal-worldquestionsaboutoursociety.WhattheBusinessCommunityNeedstoKnowWhatFederalAgenciesNeedtoKnowWhatUsersofDataforRuralAreasNeedtoKnowWhatStateandLocalGovernmentsNeedtoKnowBusinessIncomeandhousingstatisticsbygeographicalareascanhelpyougaugethesalespotentialoproductsandservices.Findoutwhatdataproductsareavailableandhowtoaccessthemwithstep-by-stepinstructionsandexamples.PublicUseMicrodataSamplePUMSPUMSlesareanextraordinaryresourceorresearchers.LearnhowtoaccessPUMSlescreatePUMStablesusinggeneralstatisticalsotwarecreatetablesusingDataFerrettandmeasurestatisticalaccuracymarginoerrorandcondenceintervals.StateandLocalGovernmentsACSestimatescanhelpstateandlocalgovernmentsestablishprioritiesassessneedsdevelopplansandimplementpolicies.Severalreal-liecasestudiesdemonstratehowbesttouseandinterpret1-yearandmultiyeardata.MediaWritersandeditorssearchACSestimatesorstatisticsandtrends.Hereshowwithstepby-stepexamplesohowjournalistshaveusedtheACStouncoverandenhancehardnewsandeaturestories.OnlineTutorialTheACSCompassProductsonlinetutorialisorrespondentsdatausersandotherswhowantbasicinormationontheACS.ThetutorialhaslessonsonthepurposeandbenetsotheACSandshowshowtoaccessavarietyodataproductsandresources.Thereareveseparatesectionsthattogethertakeaboutanhourtocomplete.YoumayaccesstheACSCompassProductsonlinetutorialatwww.census.govacswwwguidance_for_data_userse_tutorial.12www.census.govacs PresentationsACSCompassProductspresentationsprovideimportantinormationonvariousaspectsotheACS.Theyweredevelopedortwomainpurposes1orindividualstolearnmoreabouttheACSand2toprovideawideaudiencewiththetoolsneededtoconducttrainingontheACS.Eachpresentationconsistsoapproximately35slidesandtheaccompanyingspeakersnotes.YoumayaccesstheACSCompassProductspresentationsatwww.census.govacswwwguidance_for_data_userstraining_presentations.1AnOverviewoftheAmericanCommunitySurvey.BasicsotheACSprogramandWebsitewithinormationoncontentsurveymethodologyanddataproducts.HowtheACSsupplementsthe10-yearcensuswithcontinuoussocialeconomichousinganddemographicdata.2DataProductsFromtheAmericanCommunitySurvey.ExamplesandsuggestionsorusingourtypesodataprolesourtypesotablesthematicmapsandPublicUseMicrodataSamplePUMSles.Howperiodestimatesandsamplingerrormeasurescouldafectyourresults.3ThingsThatMayAecttheEstimatesFromtheAmericanCommunitySurvey.Howourdiferentmeasuresosamplingerrorarecalculatedwhattheymeanandhowyoucanusethemtodrawappropriateconclusions.Plusabrielookatnonsamplingerrorandpopulationcontrols.4UnderstandingMultiyearEstimatesFromtheAmericanCommunitySurvey.Explains1-year3-yearand5-yearperiodestimatesandwhentouseeachone.Introductiontointerpretingthedataandmakingcomparisonsusingmultiyearestimates.5GeographicAreasandConceptsfortheAmericanCommunitySurvey.GetthemostoutoACSestimatesbyknowinghowgeographicareasaredenedindiferentwaysandindiferentestimates.Thediferencebetweenlegalandadministrativeareasisimportant.6IntroductiontothePublicUseMicrodataSamplePUMSFileFromtheAmericanCommunitySurvey.ReasonstoaccessPUMSdataorsmalloruniquepopulationgroupsandhousingcharacteristics.TheACScreatesperiodestimateswhichmeanstheyrepresentthecharacteristicsothepopulationandhousingoveraspecicdatacollectionperiod.Thesearethe1-year3-yearand5-yearestimates.1-yearestimates12monthsocollecteddataDataorareaswithpopulationso650003-yearestimates36monthsocollecteddataDataorareaswithpopulationso200005-yearestimates60monthsocollecteddataDataorallareasFormoreguidanceonusingACSdatapleasevisitwww.census.govacswwwguidance_for_data_usersguidance_main.13 WhydoestheACSask...FornameandtelephonenumberWeaskorapersonsnamesortworeasons.Firstwehaveoundovermanyyearsoresearchthatitiseasierorarespondenttokeeptrackowhichpersontheyarereportingorithenamesareused.Iarespondentisinterruptedwhilecompletingthesurveyitwillbeeasiertoresumereportingitheyknowwhichpersontheyareworkingonparticularlyinlargerhouseholds.Thesecondreasonisadministrative.Insomeinstancesthereturnedquestionnairesaredamageddiculttointerpretormissingcriticalinormation.Iwehavethenamesandphonenumberothepersonwhocompletedtheormwecancallbacktocollectmissinginormationoraskorclarication.Byhavingthenameswecanmoreeasilyreertospecicinormation.Withoutthenamesandphonenumberwewouldhavetosendsomeonetoanaddresstoreplicatetheinormationwhichismoreexpensivethanaphonecall.AboutincomeWeaskquestionsaboutincometogetkeystatisticsusedtodeterminepovertylevelsmeasureeconomicwell-beingandgaugetheneedoreconomicassistance.Stateandlocalgovernmentsusethisinormationtoassistchildreninpovertyandtoallocateundstocountiesandschooldistrictsorresourcesandservicesthatimprovetheeducationoeconomicallydisadvantagedchildren.AbouthomevalueWeaskaboutthevalueothehometogetestimatesohomevaluesregardlessowhetherhomesarenotcurrentlyorsaleorsoldrecently.Federalprogramsusethisinormationasanindependentcheckontheappraisedvaluesohomestoseeitheamountsnancedormortgagesarereasonable.WhensomeoneleaveshometogotoworkWeaskwhenapersonleavesorworktogeneratebasicinormationaboutcommutingpatterns.Thestatisticsareusedbymetropolitanplanningorganizationstodesignprogramsthateasetracproblemsreducecongestionandpromotecarpooling.Publictransitagenciesusethestatisticstoidentiyareasthatneedtransitserviceandpoliceandredepartmentsusethestatisticstoplanoremergencyservicesinareaswheremanypeoplework.AboutraceWeaskaquestionaboutapersonsracebecauseitiscriticaltomanypublicpolicies.PolicymakersusestatisticsonracetoguideundingdecisionsinprogramsthatsupportequalopportunityineducationassessairnessoemploymentpracticesundertheCivilRightsactandhelpensureeveryonehasequalaccesstohealthcare.FederalagenciesalsousetheracestatisticstoensurelocaljurisdictionsollowtheVotingRightsAct.AboutdisabilitiesWeaskquestionsaboutdisabilitiestogeneratestatisticsaboutthenumberandpercentageopeoplewithadisability.Federalstatecountyandlocalgovernmentsusethisinormationtoassesstheimpactopoliciesintendedtoreducediscriminationandimproveparticipationincommunityactivitiesincludingjobtrainingandhealthcareprograms.LocaltransitagenciesundertheAmericanswithDisabilitiesActusetheinormationtomakesurepublictransportationservicesareasuseulorthosewithdisabilitiesastheyareoreveryoneelse.AbouthealthinsuranceWeaskquestionsabouthealthinsurancetoprovidepolicymakerswithaccurateinormationabouttheinsuredanduninsured.Planningandimplementingpublichealthinsuranceprogramsrequiresaccuratestateandlocalinormationonhealthinsurancestatus.StateandlocalgovernmentscanusethesestatisticstotargetoutreachandenrollmentefortsorprogramslikeMedicareMedicaidandtheStateChildrensHealthInsuranceProgram.Measuringhealthinsurancestatusalsohelpspublichealthagenciesplantomeetcurrentanduturehealthcareneeds.AboutkitchenfacilitiestelephoneservicerunningwaterandushtoiletsGovernmentagenciesusethisinormationtomakesurepeoplehaveafordablesaeandsanitaryhousingtodetermineairmarketratesandtodeterminewhetheranareaiseligibleorhousingassistanceorloans.Inormationonkitchenacilitiesisusedtoevaluatetheefectivenessoprogramsthatprovidegrantstolocalgovernmentortherehabilitationopropertiesusedasrentals.Inormationonplumbingisusedbypublichealthocialstolocateareasindangerogroundwatercontaminationandtopreventthespreadowaterbornedisease.Inormationontelephoneserviceisusedtodevelopplansoremergency911services.14www.census.govacs FrequentlyAskedRespondentQuestionsFAQDoIhavetorespondtotheACSYes.RespondingtotheACSisabouthelpingnationaltribalstateandlocalocialsmakeinormeddecisionswithtimelyandaccuratedata.Justaspeoplearerequiredtorespondtojurydutygetadriverslicenseinordertodrivepaytheirtaxesandreporttheirincometheyalsohavetheobligationtorespondtodecennialcensussurveys.SomeonecametomyhometointerviewmefortheACS.IsthislegitimateIsomeonehascontactedyouabouttheACSandyouwouldliketoveriythatthevisitorphonecallyoureceivedwaslegitimateyoumaycallyourregionaloce.Youcanndcontactinormationoryouroceatwww.census.govregions.WhywasmyaddressselectedfortheACSAddressesselectedortheACScomeromtheCensusBureausocialinventoryoknownlivingquartersandselectednonresidentialunitsintheUnitedStatesandPuertoRico.Eachscienticallyselectedaddressrepresentsotherhouseholdsinthesurroundingcommunity.Interviewingasmallsampleoaddresses3.5millionratherthanalladdressesintheUnitedStatesallowstheCensusBureautomeasurethewholepopulationwhilelimitingthecostothesurveyandreducingtheoverallimpactonrespondents.WhatifIdontknowtheexactanswertoanACSquestionOntheACSinooneinyourhouseholdknowstheanswertoaquestionandtheinormationcannotbereerencedinabillorotherdocumentpleasegiveyourbestestimate.Iamconcernedaboutidentitytheft.HowdoestheCensusBureauprotectmyACSinformationWeunderstandconcernsaboutidentitythetandprivacy.Wewillensurethatonlyauthorizedpersonswithawork-relatedneed-to-knowviewyourpersonalinormation.WhenweprocesstheinormationcollectedbytheACSindividualsnamesandotherpersonalidentiersaredeletedromthelesusedtotabulatethesedata.WedonotmaintainanationaldatabasewiththenamesaddressesandpersonalinormationcollectedbytheACS.Additionallyweemploystatisticalmethodologiestoensurethatthestatisticswereleasedonotidentiyindividualsorbusinesses.Thesemethodsincludeextensivereviewandanalysisoallourdataproductsaswellasdisclosureavoidancemethodologiessuchasdatasuppressionandmodicationtoscreenoutdatathatmightidentiyaspecicindividualorbusiness.PleasenotethattheACSdoesnotaskorSocialSecuritynumbersmothersmaidennameorspecicinormationregardingbankaccountsorcreditcardstheinormationtypicallyusedoridentitythet.DoesntthegovernmentalreadyhavetheinformationrequestedontheACSTheCensusBureaudoesusestatisticsromothergovernmentagenciesorresearchandevaluationstoimproveoursurveysandcensusesandbetterunderstandtheinormationwearecollecting.Wealsousesuchinormationtohelpdevelopestimatesothepopulationbetweencensusyears.HoweverwecannotuseotheragenciesinormationinplaceoactualresponsestotheACSorseveralreasonsThesestatisticscalledadministrativerecordsdonotcontaininormationoreveryone.Wecannotobtainallotherequiredinormationromadministrativerecords.Inormationromadministrativerecordsmaynotbeusablebecauseodiferencesincollectionperiodsordenitions.TheACSwasdesignedtoprovideup-to-dateinormationorederalandstateagencies.Administrativerecordsusuallyarenotascurrentastheinormationthatwecollect.Formoreinormationgotohttpsask.census.gov.www.census.govacs15 FindoutmoreaboutyourcommunitythroughnewtoolsfortheACSQuickFactsisthebestonlinetooltofndinterestingactsast.StartwithamaptoquicklyfnddataaboutyourcommunityromtheACSandotherdatasources.WanttoknowthemedianincomeoryourcityThemedianageoryourhometownAccessQuickFactstodaytogetstarted.httpquickfacts.census.govqfdAPIsApplicationProgrammingInterfaceandtheDeveloperForumaremadeavailablebytheCensusBureautoimprovepublicaccesstopublisheddatasetandtoencourageinnovativeuseodataproducts.WeinvitedeveloperstousetheseAPIsjoinourDeveloperForumandprovideeedbacktohelpCensusmoveorwardwithcontinuedAPIdevelopment.UsetheorumsitetosubmitquestionsprovideeedbackandshareideaswiththeCensusBureau.www.census.govdevelopershttpapiforum.ideascale.comEasyStatsisanewcensus.govdatatoolthatallowstheusertocreatetheirowncustomtablesontheywithamenuovariablestheusercanselectandalmostinstantaneouslycreatetheirowncustomtablewhichcanbedownloadedintoanExcelfle.www.census.goveasystatsAmericanFactFinderAFFisanonlinedataaccesstooldevelopedbytheCensusBureauorthepublic.DatausersoallskilllevelsuseAFFtosearchbillionsoACSandotherCensusBureaustatistics.AFFallowsuserstodrilldowntoneededstatisticscreatecustomdatatablesdownloaddataflesandcreatecustomizedmaps.www.factnder2.census.govDataFerrettisauniquedataanalysisandextractiontoolwithrecodingcapabilitiestocustomizeACSdatatosuityourrequirements.UsingDataFerrettyoucandevelopanunlimitedarrayocustomizedspreadsheetsthatareasversatileandcomplexasyourusagedemands.www.dataferret.census.gov16www.census.govacs FourWaystoFindHelpWithACSStatisticsAskCensushttpsask.census.govClicktheFAQlinkatthetopoanyCensus.govpage.LocateAmericanCommunitySurveyonthelethandmenuandselecttoviewquestionsandanswersontheACS.PartnershipandDataServicesCallorvisitPartnershipandDataServicesinyourCensusBureauregionaloceorlocaldataandassistanceworkshopsandpresentations.Seemaptotherightoryourregionalocecontactinormation.CustomerServiceCalltheCensusBureausCustomerServicesCenterrstat301-763-INFO4636or1-800-923-8282duringnormalbusinesshoursEasterntime.ACSWebsitewww.census.govacsTheACSWebsiteprovidesawealthoup-todateinormationabouttheACSprogramdatacollectionandresearch.ContactInformationHowdoIcompletethesurveyonlinePleasecall1-800-354-7271orassistance.HowdoIcompletethepaperormPleasecall1-800-354-7271orassistance.DidtheCensusBureaucallmeCensusBureaucallsoriginateromoneothreecallcentersHagerstownMD1-800-392-6975JefersonvilleIN1-800-523-3205TucsonAZ1-800-642-0469DidtheCensusBureauvisitmePleasecontactyourregionalocetoveriyavisitromaCensusBureauemployee.Seecontactinormationtotheright.U.S.CensusBureauRegionalOfcesLosAngelesDenverChicagoAtlantaPhiladelphiaNewYorkCityToll-FreePhoneNumbersATLANTAwww.census.govregionsatlantaAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaLouisianaMississippiNorthCarolinaSouthCarolina1-800-424-6974CHICAGOwww.census.govregionschicagoArkansasIllinoisIndianaIowaMichiganMinnesotaMissouriWisconsin1-800-865-6384DENVERwww.census.govregionsdenverArizonaColoradoKansasNebraskaNewMexicoNorthDakotaMontanaOklahomaSouthDakotaTexasUtahWyoming1-800-852-6159LOSANGELESwww.census.govregionslosangelesAlaskaCaliorniaHawaiiIdahoNevadaOregonWashington1-800-992-3530NEWYORKwww.census.govregionsnewyorkConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNewHampshireNewYorkPuertoRicoRhodeIslandVermont1-800-991-2520PHILADELPHIAwww.census.govregionsphiladelphiaDelawareDistrictoColumbiaKentuckyMarylandNewJerseyOhioPennsylvaniaTennesseeVirginiaWestVirginia1-800-238-1374www.census.govacs IssuedApril2013ACS331C2013