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This handbook will help congressional staff who are unfamiliar with the American Community Survey (ACS) or who need a refresher on its many uses. The handbook can help staff use ACS data to:

  • Respond to constituent inquiries.
  • Draft floor and press statements.
  • Conduct legislative research.
  • Understand funding formulas.
  • Compare data from the ACS with other federal statistics.
  • Interpret ACS data.

Congressional staff members may have different levels of interest and technical expertise in using ACS data. The appendixes with this handbook include information that is more technical, and staff with greater expertise or more sophisticated project goals should find them useful. The Census Bureau has developed a series of handbooks that may be better suited to other staff members’ needs. For example, members could refer to the handbook for federal agencies for additional guidance and information. The list of ACS handbooks appears in the text box on this page.

Census Bureau headquarters and Regional Office staff are available to answer questions about the ACS and your particular data needs. The contact information for headquarters and Regional Census Bureau Offices is included in the “Additional Resources” section of this handbook.

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