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Component ID: #ti247076421

The purpose of this handbook is to introduce the American Community Survey (ACS) to people who care about, and use, social, economic, and housing data for rural communities. This handbook addresses ACS data issues for areas with populations as large as 20,000. That’s a somewhat high-population threshold for a handbook focusing on small, rural communities, as it sweeps under our microscope thousands of cities and other incorporated places along with virtually all rural territory. Our inclination is to remain focused primarily on small, rural areas, and our examples are designed to address rural, more than small area, issues.

This handbook is written with language that should not appear overly technical and specialized for most potential ACS data users. We do presume, however, that someone using this handbook to navigate through the possibly unfamiliar waters of the ACS does have some minimal understanding of the mission and purpose of the U.S. Census Bureau and at least some limited experience accessing data from the Census Bureau’s Web site. The reader should have some appreciation for data gathered using a sample survey including the statistical imprecision of survey data (often referred to as the “margin of error”) that is occasionally published with sample-based estimates, most often with the outcome of public opinion polls.

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