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American Community Survey

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Summary of Results - Basic Demographic Questions

New and Modified Content on the 2008 ACS Questionnaire: Results of Testing Prior to Implementation

Basic Demographic Questions

In addition to the content changes introduced to the 2008 ACS, the layout of the basic demographic section (relationship, sex, age, Hispanic or Latino origin, and race) of the ACS questionnaire was changed from a grid to a sequential layout. The Census Bureau conducted the 2007 ACS Grid-Sequential Test prior to implementing the sequential layout in the 2008 ACS to determine the impact of this change. Prior to 2008, the ACS used a horizontal grid to collect basic demographic data. The household member names were listed down the left side of the page and the questions were listed across the top.

The 2010 Census plans to use a sequential format where each person's data are in a distinct column, and within each column, the names are at the top and the questions are listed down the page. In the interest of having the wording and presentation of these questions be consistent between the ACS and the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau conducted the 2007 ACS Grid-Sequential Test to test the feasibility of changing to a sequential layout in the 2008 ACS.

Relationship (Person Question 2)

The results of this test showed that response to the relationship question is not impacted by the change in layout.

Sex (Person Question 3)

Under the sequential format the sex response items were listed horizontally and the instruction "Mark (x) one box" was present. Under the grid layout the response items were listed vertically and the "Mark (x) one box" was not present.

The test results showed that changing from the grid format to a sequential layout led to an increase in reported males and a decrease in reported females. In addition, the test results showed that the sequential layout maintained the item nonresponse rate produced by the grid layout for the sex question.

Age (Person Question 4)

The test results showed that the sequential layout produced a lower combined item nonresponse rate for the age questions.

Hispanic or Latino Origin (Person Question 5)

The test results showed that changing from the grid format to a sequential layout led to an increase in reporting of Hispanics or Latinos. In addition, the test results showed that the sequential layout produced a lower item nonresponse rate for the Hispanic or Latino origin question.

Race (Person Question 6)

The results showed that the sequential layout produced a lower item nonresponse rate for the race question.


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | American Community Survey Office | Email ACS | Last Revised: June 26, 2014
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