U.S. Department of Commerce


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Income and Poverty Estimates

Differences Between the American Community Survey
and Current Population Survey

  American Community Survey Current Population Survey
Principal purpose Provides detailed socioeconomic data on an annual basis; replaces the once-a-decade census long form. Provides median household and other measures of money income, earnings and poverty estimates for the nation, states, every congressional district, and all cities and counties with populations of 65,000 or more. Provides estimates of median household and other measures of money income, health insurance coverage and the official annual estimate of poverty for the nation.
Time frame Data collected continuously throughout calendar year with a previous 12-month reference period. Data collected over a three-month period in early 2007 with a previous calendar year reference.
Geography Nation, states, counties, places (cities),
congressional districts, American Indian/Alaska Native areas and all areas with a population of 65,000 or more.
Nation and states.
Sample size 250,000 addresses each month or
3 million addresses a year.
100,000 addresses.
Collection method Mail, phone or personal visit. Phone or personal visit.
Length and detail of questions A series of eight questions about income. A series of questions about more than 50 sources of income and up to 27 individual income values.
Group quarters in sample Yes (institutional and noninstitutional group quarters). Yes (noninstitutional group quarters only).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: June 14, 2013