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Census Bureau Releases 2008 American Community Survey Data

     The U.S. Census Bureau today released the latest American Community Survey (ACS) data, providing a statistical portrait of the characteristics of the nation's population in 2008.

     According to the new snapshot, one-in-four people in Texas (24.1 percent) lacked health insurance in 2008, the highest rate in the nation. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than one-in-20 Massachusetts residents (4.1 percent) lacked coverage.

     Health insurance coverage was one of three new topics added to the ACS for 2008 [PDF]. Every question on the ACS is included either because the data are required to satisfy one or more federal laws, regulations or court decisions, or are needed to manage federal programs and allocate more than $400 billion of federal tax dollars annually to states and local communities.

     The ongoing survey of approximately 3 million addresses every year provides one of the most complete pictures of our population available. It covers more than 40 topics such as income, educational attainment, housing, family structure and more. All survey responses are strictly confidential and protected by law.

     Today's release compiles social, housing, demographic and select economic data collected throughout 2008 and includes areas with populations of 65,000 or more. Additional 2008 ACS economic data related to family income, poverty and receipt of food stamps will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Findings in today's data include:

Health Insurance Coverage

  • By state, the uninsured rate for children ranged from 2.1 percent (Massachusetts) to 20.2 percent (Nevada). (See detailed table B27001.)


  • The median household income in 2008 ranged from a median of $70,545 for Maryland to $37,790 for Mississippi. New Jersey's income ($70,378) was not statistically different from Maryland's, and West Virginia's income ($37,989) was not statistically significant from Mississippi's. (See ranking table R1901.)
  • Five states -- Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas -- saw an increase in real median household income between 2007 and 2008. Between 2006 and 2007, 33 states saw an increase.
  • Five states -- Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan -- saw real median household income fall between 2007 and 2008. Just one state had a decline between 2006 and 2007.

The 2008 ACS questionnaire [PDF] asked about income from the previous 12 months, and the survey was conducted each month beginning in January 2008. The Census Bureau is also releasing a new series of short briefs on a range of economic topics covered in the ACS (located in the "New and Notable" section of the ACS Web site).

Citizenship and Year of Naturalization

  • An addition to the citizenship question asked naturalized citizens to list their year of naturalization. Of the 38 million foreign-born living in the United States in 2008, about 16 million, or 43 percent, were naturalized citizens. More than half of these became citizens in 1996 or later, with 14 percent gaining citizenship in the last three years. (See detailed table B05011.)
  • The total foreign-born population represented 12.5 percent of the population in 2008; it was 12.6 percent in 2007. (See comparison profile, U.S.; and table B05002.)
  • In 2008, there were about 21.6 million non-citizens, compared with 21.9 million non-citizens in 2007. The percentage of naturalized citizens increased, from 42.5 percent in 2007 to 43.0 percent in 2008. (See detailed table B05001.)


  • The percentage of women 15 and over who have never married was 28.1 percent in 2008, up from 27.6 percent in 2007 and 27.3 percent in 2006. (See: data profile for the U.S.)
  • Three-fourths of people who have ever been married have done so only once (75.7 percent of women, 75.4 percent of men). About one-in-five have been married twice (19.3 percent of women, 19.4 percent of men), and about one-in-20 have been married three or more times (5.1 percent of women, 5.2 percent of men). (These data are available for the first time in the 2008 ACS; see detailed table B12505.)

Multigenerational Households

  • In 2008, there were 3.8 million multigenerational households in the United States. (This is the first year that the ACS has produced a data table on this household structure; see: detailed table B11017.)

Commute to Work

  • The percentage of workers who drove alone to work decreased slightly between 2007 and 2008 -- from 76.1 percent in 2007 to 75.5 percent in 2008. (See: U.S. data profile.)
  • The percentage of carpoolers increased from 10.4 percent in 2007 to 10.7 percent in 2008.
  • The percentage of commuters using public transportation increased slightly between 2007 and 2008, from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent.

Service-Connected Veteran Disability Status and Ratings

  • A new topic was added to the 2008 ACS to measure veterans' service-connected disability status and ratings. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses data on service-connected disability status and ratings to measure the demand for VA health care services in local market areas across the country. Of the approximately 22.4 million veterans nationwide, 15.1 percent reported a service-connected disability rating. Of those with a rating, 41.5 percent had a rating of 10 or 20 percent and 17.4 percent had a rating of 70 percent or higher. (See: detailed table B21100.)


  • California homeowners with mortgages ($2,384) had the highest median housing costs in the nation. New Jersey had the second highest median housing cost ($2,360). Hawaii ($2,265) and the District of Columbia ($2,218) followed, but were not significantly different from each other. Rounding out the top six were Connecticut ($2,108) and Massachusetts ($2,105), which also were not significantly different from each other. (See: subject table S2506)
  • Median selected monthly housing costs for homeowners with one or more mortgages, after adjusting for inflation, rose between 2007 and 2008 for nine states and declined for eight states. Five states that experienced increases were in the West (Hawaii, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), three were in the Northeast (Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania), and one was in the South (Mississippi).
  • Five states that experienced declines were in the South (Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) and three were in the Midwest (Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio). The average decrease in the median selected monthly housing costs for homeowners with mortgages in the United States was 0.3 percent between 2007 and 2008.
  • The percent change in median home values decreased in the United States (-2.0 percent) and in 22 states between 2007 and 2008 - five in the Northeast (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire); four in the South (Florida, Maryland, West Virginia, and Georgia); eight in the Midwest (Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois); and five in the West (Nevada, California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Washington). Although the rate of decline was not significantly different from each other, two states showed larger percentage declines than the other 48 states and the District of Columbia: Nevada (16.0 percent) and California (15.5 percent). Florida (8.6 percent) ranked third. (See: subject table S2506)
  • States that experienced increases were Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Of those states, no one state had a rate of increase that was significantly higher than the other six.
As part of the Census Bureau’s reengineered 2010 Census, the data collected by the American Community Survey (ACS) helps federal officials determine where to distribute more than $400 billion to state and local governments each year. Responses to the survey are strictly confidential and protected by law.

The 2008 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.

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 <>.

Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See; for more information on changes affecting the 2008 data. See for guidance on comparing 2008 ACS data with data from previous years and the 2000 Census.

Visit “American Factfinder,” the Census Bureau’s online data tool, to obtain ACS data for nation, all states and the District of Columbia, all congressional districts, approximately 800 counties, and 500 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, among others.

Additional 2008 ACS economic tables will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.; On Oct. 27, 2009, the Census Bureau will release three-year data (2006-2008 ACS) for areas with a population of 20,000 or more, including the nation, all states and the District of Columbia, all congressional districts, approximately 1,800 counties, and 900 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, among others.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014