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Hyon B. Shin
Component ID: #ti148748531

Test Objective

In late August through mid-December 2010, the Census Bureau conducted a field test of new and revised content in the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) Content Test. The results of that testing will determine the content to be incorporated into production ACS starting in 2013.

Computer ownership and Internet subscription questions need to be added into the American Community Survey due to legislative changes. The Broadband Data Improvement Act requires that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission, expand the ACS to elicit information from residential households to determine whether they own or use computers at their address, whether they subscribe to an Internet service and, if so, whether they subscribe to dial-up or broadband Internet service at that address.

The goal of this project is to evaluate the two versions of computer ownership and Internet subscription questions in the 2010 ACS Content Test to help determine which one will ultimately go into ACS production starting in 2013.


Overall, the test version of the computer and Internet use questions performed better than the control version. The test version results had lower item nonresponse rates, were more reliable, and were answered consistently between the initial interview and the follow-up for Computer Types and Subscription Types. The test version, however, did not perform as well as the control version for the estimates on Internet Access. The results indicated that the test version of this question was met with some confusion which led to higher item missing data rates, higher rates of inconsistency, and lower reliability estimates.

Since the test version performed better on two out of the three possible questions and it captures not only access but subscription to an Internet service, the recommendation is to proceed with the test version of the computer and Internet use questions in the 2013 American Community Survey.

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