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American Community Survey

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Resources for Congress

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides data every year -- giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.

With topics ranging from "type of heating fuel" to "total income," ACS is a direct descendent of the Census Bureau's decennial long form that went to sample households in every census since 1940.

More than $400 billion in Federal funds are allocated annually to state, local, and tribal governments based on census data, including data from the ACS.

Constituents frequently ask:

  • Is this survey legitimate?
  • Do I have to answer?
  • Is my privacy protected?

The answer to these questions is YES, under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

Find out the reason behind each individual question in Questions on the form and why we ask.

Constituents who participate in the ACS make a genuine and important contribution to their community, state, and nation. Please thank them for contributing!

Data from the American Community Survey provide an annual portrait of the demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics for states and congressional districts.

We have developed several resources for you. They include:

American Community Survey Form

State and local leaders use ACS data to determine the needs of communities, such as where to put new highways, schools, hospitals, offices, and community centers. Companies use data from the American Community Survey to learn about the local population and housing and to make investment decisions in your state and Congressional district. ACS data are used for many programs of interest to Congress, such as the Voting Rights Act, portraits of legislative districts and much more.

For more detail, see our handbook, A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Congress Needs to Know [PDF 1.9MB].

Or contact the Census Bureau's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs: 301-763-6100,

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.

Call UsCall Us

  • General 1-800-923-8282
  • Questionnaire 1-800-354-7271
  • ¿Ayuda? 1-877-833-5625
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | American Community Survey Office | Email ACS | Last Revised: December 04, 2014
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