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. The full-production ACS has a sample size of more than 3 million addresses per single year, and the sample is selected from all counties and county-equivalents in the United States, and from all municipios in Puerto Rico (PR). The first full-production ACS estimates were with the 2005 ACS, released in August of 2006, after several years of ACS demonstration surveys. The group quarters population was also included starting with the 2006 ACS released in August of 2007.
The SAIPE modeling uses single-year ACS direct survey estimates from all counties and states regardless of population size. Single-year ACS estimates are published for counties and other places with population size 65,000 or larger, and three-year estimates are published for counties and other places with population size 20,000 or larger. Five-year ACS estimates are available for all counties, school districts, and other small geographic areas (e.g., census tracts).
Poverty status is determined by comparing the total income of the family to poverty thresholds for that family size. The thresholds account for annual changes in the Consumer Price Index. Current poverty thresholds and information about poverty and its measurement are available under Poverty Thresholds and Poverty.
For more information about characteristics of the ACS data see the ACS main page.