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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