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COMPARABILITY MATRIX FOR FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS:
|Data Source||American Community Survey (ACS)||Current Population Survey (CPS)||Survey of Income & Program Participation (SIPP)||Decennial Census|
|Geographic scope||Annual estimates of the nation, regions, states, congressional districts, and geographies of 65,000 or more. Three-year estimates available for places of 20,000 or more (available starting in 2008). Five-year estimates of areas as small as census tracts (available starting in 2010).||National estimates and estimates of selected characteristics for regions and states.||National estimates.||Estimates at all geographic levels down to the block level.|
|Periodicity of collection||Every year||Every year||Longitudinal data: Once a panel. Topical module data in wave 2: once every panel: Panels occur 3-4 years||Every ten years|
|Timeliness||Released year after collection cycle||Released after year of collection cycle||No time schedule||Released 1-2 years after decennial collection|
|Sample Size||Annual sample of about 3 million addresses. Data are collected from about one-twelfth of the sample each month.||The data come from the ASEC supplement, which is based on a sample of about 99,000 households||The survey design is a continuous series of national panels. The 2004 panel consists of 46,500 households.||Seven item (short form) questionnaire administered to all households. Long form questionnaire with additional items administered to about 1 in 6 households (approximately 19 million in 2000).|
|Data Collection Method||Mail, telephone, and personal-visit interviews for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. About half the responses are obtained by mail. The ACS is a mandatory survey.||Telephone and personal-visit interviews for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The CPS is a voluntary survey.||Computer-assisted interview on a laptop computer. All household members 15 years old and over are interviewed by self-response, if possible, proxy response is permitted when household members are not available for interviewing. The SIPP is a voluntary survey.||Mail, telephone, and personal-visit interviews for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mail and personal interviews for Puerto Rico, and mail surveys for US Territories. Participation in the Census is mandatory.|
|Questionnaire Items||Relationship asked of all people only to the householder. Asked for all persons in households.||Relationship asked of all people to the householder. Also asks if both parents are present and if anyone lives with anyone else as a partner/boyfriend/girlfriend.||Relationship asked of all people to the householder in each wave. Wave 2 asks relationship of everyone to everyone in the household. Contains the most complete identification of household members of any Census survey.||Relationship asked of all people to the householder. Martial status not asked so subfamilies cannot be derived beginning in the 2010 census.|
|Unique measures/data||Can produce estimates of foster children, biological, adopted, and stepchildren.||Only survey to produce estimates of unrelated subfamilies and most complete estimate of unmarried partner couples.||Produces most detailed estimates of complex families and living arrangements of children. Only survey to tract changes in family composition longitudinally.||Produces estimates of unmarried partners for small geographical areas.|
|Technical Issues||None||Most reliable survey for identifying children living with unmarried parents.||Only survey to contain a complete household identification matrix for everyone in the household.||Cannot produce estimates of subfamilies nor estimates of foster children beginning with the 2010 census.|
|Population Universe||The ACS includes the resident population of the United States, including household and group quarters populations.||The CPS includes the civilian noninstitutionalized population and Armed Forces personnel living off post or with their families on post.||SIPP includes the civilian noninstitutionalized population.||The Census includes the resident population of the United States, including household and group quarters populations.|
|Tables Available/Detail||Detailed tables showing a range of socioeconomic characteristics.||Detailed tables showing a range of socioeconomic characteristics.||Reports produced showing characteristics of children in detailed/complex family living arrangements.||Household and family data available in numerous published tables.|
|Sampling Error Information||Only for published tables||Can be computed by data user||Can be computed by data user||100 percent data-no sampling errors.|
|Historical Data||The ACS began in 1996 in a limited number of test sites and began national implementation in 2000.||Household and family data in various detail available since 1947.||Data available occasionally since 1984 in files and reports.||Decennial data are available in fairly consistent tables beginning in 1950.|
|Public Use File||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic Accessibility||Tables--American Fact Finder
Public use files through Data Ferret
|Public use files through Data Ferret||Public use files through Data Ferret||Tables--American Fact Finder
Public use files through Data Ferret