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Jami Dennis, Senior Information Services Project Manager-Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG)

Data Story

As the regional planning agency for the Phoenix metropolitan area, we rely on data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to support data driven decision making for regional planning and economic development.

One recent example is our use of ACS data to create Commute Shed Reports. Working closely with economic development professionals, we selected nearly 100 key locations across the region for analysis. These reports show the area from which a worker can commute in 30 minutes or less to a given location (e.g., major intersection). They also provide a useful picture of the residents, workers, and employers within that commute shed. Specifically, they present ACS data on educational attainment, household income, age, and occupation, as well as other data sources (i.e., top private employers, top industries, worker commute flows, and median home sales price).


The fusion of ACS data with our regional employer data and information from our travel demand and socioeconomic models provided a valuable tool to inform economic development opportunities. The two-page data visualization is especially useful as an economic development snapshot. The reports have been widely embraced by our member agencies and businesses for growing regional economic opportunities.

Mayor Cathy Carlat (Peoria, Arizona) remarked that, “Tools such as industry cluster maps, commute shed reports, and a multitude of demographic information have proven to be critical components in our smart growth plans for the future.”


Phoenix metropolitan area, AZ

ACS Topics Used

Educational attainment, income, age, home value, and occupation

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