Contact: Shelly Lowe
Public Information Office
(301) 763-3030 (phone)
(301) 763-3762 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD)
The U.S. Census Bureau today released annual data on key social, economic and housing characteristics for the nation, states, and geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more. Covering topics ranging from language to education, from family size to work commute, the American Community Survey (ACS) provides annual data that help decision makers and planners better respond to change.
“The American Community Survey meets a critical need for timely information,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “In these fast-paced times, 10 years is too long to wait for detailed census data. These data are vital for the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies ranging from building new schools and roads to establishing initiatives that drive economic development.”
While the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program provides the official estimates of population size, including by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, the ACS looks at a wide range of social, economic and housing characteristics for the population by a multitude of demographic variables. The data are available for more than 7,000 areas, including all congressional districts as well as counties, cities, metro areas and American Indian and Alaska Native areas of 65,000 population or more.
Highlights from the more than 1,200 data tables include the following:
Nationally, nearly one in four people between the ages of 65 and 74 (23.2 percent) were in the labor force (either working or looking for work) in 2006, an increase from 19.6 percent in 2000. States with some of the lowest rates of older workers in the labor force include West Virginia (15.7 percent), Michigan (18.8 percent) and Arizona (19.4 percent). (Michigan and Arizona were not statistically different.)
Some of the highest rates were found in South Dakota, Nebraska and Washington, D.C., all with about one-third of people in this age group in the labor force. Among the 20 largest metro areas, Washington, D.C., had the highest percentage of people in the labor force in this age group (31.8 percent). Others with high percentages include Boston (28.1 percent), Dallas-Fort Worth (27.9 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (27.4 percent) and Houston (26.5 percent), none of which were statistically different from the other. (See Subject Table S2301.)
Homeownership has also increased since 2000, with more than two-thirds of all occupied homes (67.3 percent) currently owned by the occupant, compared to 66.2 percent in 2000. In 2006, the highest rates of homeownership were found in Minnesota (76.3), and some of the lowest were found in New York (55.6 percent) and Washington, D.C. (45.8 percent). Among the 20 largest metro areas, Minneapolis-St. Paul shared the top spot with Detroit (75.2 and 74.6 percent, respectively), with St. Louis ranking third (73.1 percent). (See Subject Table S2502.)
In 2006, about 8 million more people spoke a foreign language at home than in 2000. Nationally, one in five (19.7 percent) over age 5 spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 17.9 percent in 2000. Among states, California (42.5 percent) had the highest percentage in this category, followed by New Mexico (36.5 percent) and Texas (33.8 percent). About one in 10 California households were linguistically isolated, which means everyone 14 or older in those households had at least some difficulty speaking English.
Among the 20 largest metro areas, more than half of all people over 5 in Los Angeles (53.4 percent) spoke a language other than English at home. Miami ranked second in this category (48.6 percent), followed by San Francisco-Oakland and Riverside, Calif., where about four in 10 spoke a language other than English at home (not statistically different at 39.5 percent and 39 percent, respectively). (See Ranking Tables R1601 and R1603, and Subject Tables S1601 and S1602.)
The percentage of households that were married-couple families with children under 18 decreased from 23.5 percent in 2000 to 21.6 percent in 2006.
All states, except Connecticut, saw a percentage point decrease in households in this category since 2000. In 2006, Utah had the greatest percentage of married-couple households with children under 18, at 32.3 percent. Other states with high rates included Idaho (25.5 percent), California (24.8 percent), Texas (24.7 percent), New Jersey (24.6 percent) and Alaska (24.3 percent), none of which were statistically different from each other. Florida (18.2 percent) and Washington, D.C. (7.3 percent) had some of the lowest.
Among the 20 largest metro areas, Riverside, Calif., had the highest percentage in this category (29.6 percent), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth (26.6 percent) and Houston (26.1 percent), which were not statistically different from each other. (See Ranking Table R1102 and Subject Table S1101 and Geographic Comparison Table GCT1102.)
As part of the Census Bureau’s reengineered 2010 Census, the data collected by the ACS helps federal officials determine where to distribute more than $300 billion to state and local governments each year. Responses to the survey are strictly confidential and protected by law.
The 2006 ACS estimates are based on an annual, nationwide sample of about 250,000 addresses per month. In addition, approximately 20,000 group quarters across the United States were sampled, comprising approximately 200,000 residents. Geographic areas for which data are available are based on total populations of 65,000 or more.
The Office of Management and Budget’s metro area definitions are those issued by that agency in December 2005. Some metro area titles are abbreviated in the text of the news release. Full titles are shown in the tables.
The ACS estimates released are for the total population and, for the first time, include populations residing in group quarters.
As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the data tables for specific margins of error. For more information go to <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/>.