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American Community Survey Gives Midsized Areas Their First Detailed Update Since 2000

     New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau give more than 2,500 midsized counties, cities and towns nationwide (those with populations between 20,000 and 64,999) their first statistical “portrait” since the 2000 Census on a wide range of key socioeconomic and housing topics.

     These are the first American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that combine three years of survey responses (2005-2007) to produce data. The technique makes it possible to release a new set of multiyear estimates annually for smaller geographic areas. The three-year data can produce estimates for areas with populations as small as 20,000.

     “Today’s release represents an important milestone for data users everywhere,” said Census Bureau Director Steve H. Murdock. “Communities are no longer limited to a once-a-decade look at their population’s characteristics. The ACS’s multiyear data will allow small towns and communities to track how they are changing on an ongoing basis.”

     Also released today are three-year estimates for areas with populations of 65,000 or more. The Census Bureau released single-year data for these larger areas in September.

     The data are of particular interest to areas that have experienced significant population growth or change since the 2000 Census. Some of the highlights among the top 20 fastest-growing midsized counties since 2000 include the following:

  • The number of people 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree in Lincoln County, S.D., increased 82 percent.
  • The number of civilian employed individuals 16 years and over working in service occupations increased 74 percent in Jackson County, Ga.
  • The number of people 5 and older who spoke a language other than English at home increased 69 percent in Dallas County, Iowa.
  • Enrollment in high school increased 74 percent in Lyon County, Nev.

Among the other findings for midsized places (cities and towns with populations between 20,000 and 64,999):

  • Nine midsized places have median family income exceeding $150,000: Los Altos, Calif.; Darien, Conn.; Westport, Conn.; Lake Forest, Ill.; Bethesda, Md.; Potomac, Md.; Southlake, Texas; University Park, Texas; and McLean, Va.
  • In three midsized places, at least 10 percent of the housing units were built in 2005 or later: Goodyear, Ariz.; Lehigh Acres, Fla.; and North Port, Fla. The national average is 1.9 percent.
  • Of the 20 midsized places with median home values of $900,000 or greater, 18 were in California, and two were in Connecticut.
  • In nine midsized places, at least 25 percent of the population 18 and over were veterans: Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Radcliff, Ky.; Hinesville, Ga.; Oak Harbor, Wash.; Copperas Cove, Texas; Sun City West, Ariz.; Harker Heights, Texas; Havelock, N.C.; and Green Valley, Ariz.

About the American Community Survey: As part of the Census Bureau’s reengineered 2010 Census, the data collected by the American Community Survey (ACS) help 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 2005-2007 ACS estimates are based on three years of data collected nationwide from about 250,000 addresses per month. In addition, approximately 20,000 group quarters across the United States are surveyed each year, comprising approximately 200,000 residents annually.

The population threshold for which geographic areas have three-year estimates available is 20,000.  For nation, states, counties, cities, and towns, the estimated population used to satisfy that threshold is the July 1, 2007, Census Bureau Population Estimates.  For other areas, the 2005–2007 ACS three-year estimates of total population are used.  For example, since the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates are not available for school districts, three-year ACS estimates of total population are used to determine if a school district meets the 20,000 population threshold.

As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in this news release 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/>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014