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Notes on ACS Estimate and Annotation Values

Estimate and Annotation Values

Annotation values are character representations of estimates and have values when non-integer information needs to be represented. See the table below for a list of common Estimate/Margin of Error (E/M) values and their corresponding Annotation (EA/MA) values. Please note that ACS data may return the following in place of data.

Estimate Value Annotation Value Meaning
-666666666 - The estimate could not be computed because there were an insufficient number of sample observations. For a ratio of medians estimate, one or both of the median estimates falls in the lowest interval or highest interval of an open-ended distribution.
-999999999 N The estimate or margin of error cannot be displayed because there were an insufficient number of sample cases in the selected geographic area.
-888888888 (X) The estimate or margin of error is not applicable or not available.
Varies median- The median falls in the lowest interval of an open-ended distribution (for example "2,500-")
Varies median+ The median falls in the highest interval of an open-ended distribution (for example "250,000+").
-222222222 ** The margin of error could not be computed because there were an insufficient number of sample observations.
-333333333 *** The margin of error could not be computed because the median falls in the lowest interval or highest interval of an open-ended distribution.
-555555555 ***** A margin of error is not appropriate because the corresponding estimate is controlled to an independent population or housing estimate. Effectively, the corresponding estimate has no sampling error and the margin of error may be treated as zero.
* N/A An * indicates that the estimate is significantly different (at a 90% confidence level) than the estimate from the most current year. A "c" indicates the estimates for that year and the current year are both controlled; a statistical test is not appropriate.
null null A null value in the estimate means there is no data available for the requested geography.

Example #1: Estimate Annotations

Figure 5: Visual Representation of ACS 2015 1-Year variable S0101_C02_031E/A from data.census.gov

In the example above, the variable S0101_C02_031EA returns “(X)”. Using the Estimates and Annotation Values chart, this indicates that the estimate is not applicable or not available. Since S0101_C02_031E represents the Sex Ratio (males per 100 females) and the column is for Males only this estimate is not applicable. S0101_C02_031E returns -888888888 as a caution not to use this estimate in reporting or further calculations. See Figure 5 above for a visual context for this estimate.

api.census.gov/data/2015/acs/acs1/subject?get=NAME,S0101_C02_031E,S0101_C02_031EA,S0101_C02_031M,S0101_C02_031MA&for=us:*

Returns:

[["NAME","S0101_C02_031E","S0101_C02_031EA","S0101_C02_031M","S0101_C02_031MA","us"],

["United States","-888888888","(X)","-888888888","(X)","1"]]

Example #2: Statistical Significance

Figure 6: Visual Representation of ACS 2015 1-Year variable CP02_2015to2014_001SS from data.census.gov

In the example above, the ACS 2015 1-Year variable CP02_2015to2014_001SS returns “*”. Using the Estimates and Annotation Values chart, this indicates that the 2015 estimate for Total households is significantly different when compared to the 2014 estimate.

api.census.gov/data/2015/acs/acs1/cprofile?get=NAME,CP02_2015_001E,CP02_2014_001E,CP02_2015to2014_001SS&for=us:*

Returns:

[["NAME","CP02_2015_001E","CP02_2014_001E","CP02_2015to2014_001SS","us"],

["United States","118208250","117259427","*","1"]]

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