The American Community Survey (ACS) Summary File is a set of comma-delimited text files that contain all of the Detailed Tables for the ACS data releases. The Summary File contains estimate, margin of error, and geography files for each release.
The Detailed Tables are stored in a series of files with only the data from the tables and without such information as the table title, description of the rows, or geographic identifiers. That information is located in other files that the user must merge with the data files to reproduce full tables.
Starting with the 2009-2013 ACS 5-year data release, block groups, the lowest level of geography published by the ACS, are available in data.census.gov. For earlier years, block groups are available only in the ACS 5-year Summary File.
Check out our handbook, Understanding and Using the ACS Summary File, to learn more about working with the ACS Summary File. Data, instructions, guides, and example SAS programs are provided below for each year.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau changed the 2020 ACS release. Instead of providing the standard 1-year data products, the Census Bureau released 2020 ACS 1-year experimental estimates. There is no 2020 ACS 1-year Summary File.
The 2016-2020 ACS 5-year data products that report data related to Congressional Districts are based on the 116th Congress. The Census Bureau does not collect congressional district boundaries from the states during the congressional session that aligns with the decennial census (e.g., 117th). Additional explanation can be found in our geographic user note.
Includes description of variables in each column for all sequence files and for the comma delimited version (.csv) of the geography file.
The Summary File Core Technical Document is now available as What ACS Summary File Data Users Need to Know.
Appendices include the sequence number and restrictions for all tables, as well as summary levels available for each release.
Contains table ID, line number, unique ID (table ID + Line Number), stub, and data release
Contains information on the relationship between the sequences and the tables
Contains basic geography information, including LOGRECNO, GEOID, and name, in an Excel file with tabs for the US, as well as each state or state equivalent. Compared to the standard geography files in .csv and .txt format, these simplified files contain only the geography variables needed to read the ACS Summary File into Excel.
Contains SAS programs for each sequence per state, which can be used to convert each estimate and margin of error into SAS datasets with table stubs
Detailed example SAS program containing SAS macros which access the geography, estimate and margin of error data. It creates one table for all geographies from the ACS Summary File. Segments of the SAS codes can be used to convert geography files into SAS datasets.