The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with reliable and timely demographic, social, economic, and housing data every year. The full-production ACS has a sample size of roughly 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). After several years of ACS demonstration surveys, in August of 2006, estimates from the 2005 full-production ACS estimates were released. Starting with the 2006 ACS released in August of 2007, the group quarters population was also included.
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.