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Notes on ACS 5-Year Data

Component ID: #ti1846916554

API Variable Format

ACS API Variables have the following format:

Component ID: #ti771706037

Summary File

Variable format: [Table ID] [Row Number] [Variable Type]

Figure 1: Visual representation of table B01001 on American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti1010857771

Example: Variable B01001_001E, “Total:”, represents the estimate for table B01001 row number 1.

 

Component ID: #ti771706042

Subject Tables

Variable format: [Table ID] [Column Number] [Row Number] [Variable Type]

Figure 2: Visual representation of table S0101_C02_001E on American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti771706041

Example: Variable S0101_C02_001E, “Male!!Total population”, represents the estimate for table S0101, column number 2 (Male), row number 1.  

 

Component ID: #ti771706040

Data Profiles

Variable format: [Table ID] [Row Number] [Variable Type]

Figure 3: Visual representation of variable DP02_0002PE on American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti771706035

Example: Variable DP02_0002PE, “Family households (families)”, represents the percent estimate for table DP02 row number 2.

 

Component ID: #ti771706039

Comparison Profiles

Variable format: [Table ID] [Data Year] [Row Number] [Variable Type]

Figure 4: Visual Representation of CP02_2011_2015_002E on American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti771706034

Example: Variable CP02_2011_2015_002E,”Family households (families)”, represents the estimate for table CP02, data year 2011-2015, row number 2.

 

Component ID: #ti1846916556

Variable Types

ACS data contain variables ending in E, EA, M, MA, PE, PM and SS. See the table below for each variable type and its meaning:

Variable Type

Title

Related Products

Meaning

E

Estimate

Summary Files, Subject Tables, Data Profiles, Comparison Profiles

A numeric representation of the estimate.

EA

Estimate Annotation

Subject Tables, Comparison Profiles

A character representation of the estimate. If an Estimate Annotation exists, use this value in place of the Estimate.(See Example #1 in Estimate and Annotation Values)

M

Margin of Error

Summary Files, Subject Tables, Data Profiles

A numeric representation of the margin of error.

MA

Margin of Error Annotation

Subject Tables Only

A character representation of the margin of error. If a Margin of Error Annotation exists, use this value in place of the Margin of Error.

PE

Percent Estimate

Data Profiles Only

An estimate representing a percent of the total.

PM

Percent Margin of Error

Data Profiles Only

The Margin of Error for the corresponding Percent Estimate (PE) variable

SS

Statistical Significance

Comparison Profiles Only

Returns ‘*’ or ‘c’ representing the Statistical Significance for the corresponding estimate (E) variable. (See Example #2  in Estimate and Annotation Values)

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.

Component ID: #ti1846916555

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

-999999999

N

An 'N' entry in the estimate and margin of error columns indicates that data for this geographic area cannot be displayed because the number of sample cases is too small.

-888888888

(X)

An '(X)' means that the estimate is not applicable or not available.

-666666666

-

A '-' entry in the estimate column indicates that either no sample observations or too few sample observations were available to compute an estimate, or a ratio of medians cannot be calculated because one or both of the median estimates falls in the lowest interval or upper interval of an open-ended distribution.

-555555555

*****

A '*****' entry in the margin of error column indicates that the estimate is controlled. A statistical test for sampling variability is not appropriate.

-333333333

***

A '***' entry in the margin of error column indicates that the median falls in the lowest interval or upper interval of an open-ended distribution. A statistical test is not appropriate.

-222222222

**

A '**' entry in the margin of error column indicates that either no sample observations or too few sample observations were available to compute a standard error and thus the margin of error. A statistical test is not appropriate.

-

N/A

A '-' entry in the estimate column indicates that either no sample observations or too few sample observations were available to compute an estimate, or a ratio of medians cannot be calculated because one or both of the median estimates falls in the lowest interval or upper interval of an open-ended distribution.

+

N/A

A '+' following a median estimate means the median falls in the upper interval of an open-ended distribution.

*

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.

Example #1: Estimate Annotations

Figure 5: Visual Representation of ACS 2015 1-Year variable S0101_C02_031E/A from American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti771706033

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/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 American Factfinder

Component ID: #ti1846916553

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/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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