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Census Bureau Releases New Set of 5-Year American Community Survey Estimates

Estimates Provide Detailed Look at Every Community Nationwide

     The U.S. Census Bureau today released findings from the American Community Survey — the most relied-on source for detailed, up-to-date socio-economic statistics covering every community in the nation every year — for the combined years from 2006 to 2010.

     Consisting of about 11 billion individual estimates and covering more than 670,000 distinct geographies, the five-year estimates give even the smallest communities timely information on more than 40 topics, such as educational attainment, income, occupation, commuting to work, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

     Visitors to the Census Bureau website can find their community's estimates in the <American FactFinder> database.

     “These estimates are ideal for public officials to use to make key decisions,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “School boards will find them helpful in forecasting demand for classroom space, teachers and workforce training programs, and they will be a tremendous asset to planners in identifying traffic concerns and building roads and transit systems to ease commutes. Local governments will also find them useful in forecasting needs for services such as police and fire protection.”

     Today's release is based on completed interviews with almost 2 million housing units each year from 2006 through 2010. By pooling several years of survey responses, the American Community Survey can generate detailed statistical portraits of smaller geographies. The Census Bureau issues new sets of these five-year estimates every year, permitting users to track trends in even the smallest of areas over time.

Two Briefs Using the Five-Year Estimates

     In addition to the estimates released in the 940 detailed tables through American FactFinder, the Census Bureau is also releasing today two five-year ACS briefs, which are short, topic-based reports that analyze statistics for a wide range of topics. These new five-year briefs join the series previously only using one-year data and estimates. The five-year briefs take advantage of the very small geography and groups that can only be estimated with five years of data. A complete list of all released Briefs is accessible here: <https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data_documentation/2010_acs_briefs/>.

Native North American Language Speakers Concentrated in a Handful of Counties

     Sixty-five percent of Native North American language speakers lived in just three states, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Nine counties within these states contained half the nation's Native American language speakers. Apache County in Arizona had 37,000 speakers of a Native American language, making it the highest in the nation. McKinley County, N.M., had the second most speakers at 33,000. Together, about 20 percent of all Native American language speakers in the nation lived in these two counties.

     The most commonly spoken Native North American language was Navajo, with more than 169,000 people speaking this language nationally. The number of Navajo speakers was nearly nine times larger than the second and third most commonly spoken languages of Yupik and Dakota, with each having about 19,000 speakers. Although the majority of Native North American language speakers resided in an American Indian and Alaska Native area, only 5 percent of people living in an American Indian and Alaska Native area spoke a Native North American language.

More than One-in-Five Live in “Poverty Areas”

     People living in poverty tend to be clustered in certain neighborhoods rather than being evenly distributed across geographic areas. About 67 million people across the nation, or 23 percent of the population, lived in “poverty areas” — that is, census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or more. Among states, the percentage ranged from 46 percent in Mississippi to 5 percent in New Hampshire. In 15 states and the District of Columbia, more than one-quarter of the population resided in poverty areas.

     Of the 10 million people residing in tracts where poverty was especially prevalent (poverty rates of 40 percent or more), 43 percent were white, 38 percent were black, 3 percent were Asian, 11 percent were some other race, and 2 percent reported two or more races.

     Individuals residing in tracts with poverty rates of 40 percent or more were less likely to have completed high school, to work year-round, full time and to own a home, and were more likely to be living in a female-householder family and to be receiving food stamps than individuals living in tracts with low poverty rates (poverty rates of less than 13.8 percent).

More about the American Community Survey

     The American Community Survey replaces the “long form” that historically produced demographic, housing and socio-economic estimates for the nation as part of the once-a-decade census. The decennial census program, which includes the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census, along with the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates program, serve as the basis for the allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments every year. These vital estimates also guide planning in the private sector as well as the work done by policy makers at all levels of government and in communities of all sizes. All survey responses are strictly confidential and protected by law. The collection of this information has been directed by Congress or the federal courts.

     This is the third set of statistics from the American Community Survey released this fall. In September, the Census Bureau released single-year estimates for 2010 for all areas with populations of 65,000 or more. In October, a corresponding set of three-year estimates (2008-2010) was released for areas with populations of 20,000 or more.


     As is the case with all surveys (including the 2000 Census “long form”), statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error.

     Please consult the data tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to <https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data_documentation/documentation_main/>.

     Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See <https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data_documentation/2010_release/> for more information on changes affecting the 2006-2010 American Community Survey results. See <https://www.census.gov/acs/www/guidance_for_data_users/comparing_2010/> for guidance on comparing 2006-2010 American Community Survey results with results from previous years and the 2000 Census.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016