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Census Bureau Releases 2011 American Community Survey Estimates

Topics Include Local Estimates on Income, Poverty, Health Insurance and More

The U.S. Census Bureau today released findings from the 2011 American Community Survey. The survey provides a wide range of important statistics about our nation's people, housing and economy for all communities in the country. The results are used by everyone from retailers, homebuilders and police departments, to town and city planners. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as educational attainment, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs down to the smallest communities.

On Sept. 12, the Census Bureau released national statistics on 2011 income, poverty and health insurance coverage from the Current Population Survey. The American Community Survey includes 2011 statistics for states, cities and smaller areas.

"The American Community Survey provides reliable, local statistics about our nation's people, housing and economy that are indispensable to anyone who has to make decisions about the future," Census Bureau Acting Director Thomas Mesenbourg said. "Businesses rely on it to plan and expand into new products or communities. Towns and cities use it to locate schools and firehouses."

Since the first census in 1790, conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, census questions have collected information on the demographic characteristics of the nation's population.

The estimates released today are available in detailed tables for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more. See the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database to find statistics for your area.

Also released today were three short reports supplementing detailed tables with additional analysis on three key topics: income, poverty and health insurance.


According to the report Household Income for States: 2010 and 2011, which presents statistics on median household income at the national and state levels:

  • In 2011, median household income ranged from $36,919 in Mississippi to $70,004 in Maryland.
  • Median household incomes were lower than the U.S. median of $50,502 in 27 states and higher in 19 states and the District of Columbia. North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Pennsylvania median household incomes did not have a statistically significant difference from the U.S. as a whole.
  • Between the 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey, Vermont was the only state that showed an increase in median household income. Meanwhile, median household income declined in 18 states. The state median household income decreases ranged from 1.1 percent in Ohio to 6.0 percent in Nevada.
  • In 32 states and the District of Columbia, the difference in median household income between 2010 and 2011 was not statistically significant.
  • The Gini Index, which measures income inequality, rose in 20 states and remained statistically unchanged in the other 30 and the District of Columbia.


According to the report Poverty: 2010 and 2011, which compares poverty rates in 2010 and 2011 for the nation, states and large metropolitan areas:

  • Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, New Hampshire (8.8 percent) had the lowest poverty rate, and Mississippi (22.6 percent) had one of the highest poverty rates.
  • Among metro areas with populations of 500,000 or more, poverty rates ranged from a low of 8.3 percent in the Washington metro area, to 37.7 percent in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas.
  • The number and percentage of people in poverty increased in 17 states between 2010 and 2011. For 10 states, this was the third consecutive annual increase. In five states, the number of people in poverty increased while the poverty rates did not increase.
  • Between the 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey, both the percentage and number of people in poverty in Vermont declined.
  • In 27 states and the District of Columbia, there was no change in either the number of people in poverty or the poverty rate.

Health Insurance

A third report is Health Insurance Coverage of Young Adults Aged 19 to 25: 2008, 2009, and 2011.

Highlights include:

  • While the insured rate of young adults (age 19 to 25) rose from 68.3 percent in 2009 to 71.8 percent in 2011, the rate for those 26 to 29 continued to decline, from 71.1 percent to 70.3 percent.
  • No state experienced a decline in the insured rate of young adults from 2009 to 2011, while 37 states and the District of Columbia had an increase in coverage.
  • Vermont had the highest increase in coverage among the young adult population, increasing from an insured rate of 75.2 percent in 2009 to 89.1 percent in 2011.
  • Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii and Louisiana had increases in the overall insured rate but not in the privately insured rate. Conversely, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Washington saw increases in the private health insurance rate of young adults but not in the overall insurance rate.

Additional American Community Survey Results

On Oct. 25, the Census Bureau will release a set of American Community Survey statistics covering all areas with populations of 20,000 or more, based on data collected between 2009 and 2011. A third set of ACS statistics, available for all geographic areas regardless of population size, down to the block group level, will be released on Dec. 6; these estimates will cover 2007-2011.

More than a dozen additional short reports, or briefs, will be released through the end of the year and into early next year. Topics covered include centenarians, multigenerational households, veterans, people with disabilities, public assistance, field of degree and earnings, the Asian foreign-born population, commuting, poverty and household sharing, the structural characteristics of housing, and mixed-nativity married couples.


As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the 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/2011_release/> for more information on changes affecting the 2011 statistics. See <https://www.census.gov/acs/www/guidance_for_data_users/comparing_2011/> for guidance on comparing 2011 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census.

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