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Design and Methodology Report

The 2022 Design and Methodology Report contains descriptions of the basic design of the American Community Survey and details of the full set of methods and procedures. We archived the previous versions of the report.


The American Community Survey (ACS) is the cornerstone of the U.S. Census Bureau's effort to keep pace with the nation's ever-increasing demands for timely and relevant data about population and housing characteristics. The ACS is conducted throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, where it is called the Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS). For ease of discussion, the term ACS is used here to represent both surveys. The ACS is an ongoing monthly survey that collects detailed housing and socioeconomic data. The ACS includes people living in both housing units (HUs) and group quarters (GQs). The ACS allows the Census Bureau to provide timely and relevant statistics, even for low levels of geography. Resulting tabulations from the data are provided on a yearly basis.

The purpose of this document is to provide data users and other interested individuals with documentation of the methods used in the ACS. This document describes the basic ACS design and methodology through 2019, unless otherwise indicated. Several key developments since the previous version was published in 2014 include the following: discontinuation of the three-year estimates following the 2011-2013 release, discontinuation of the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing mode for nonresponse follow-up, discontinuation of content-related follow-up in the Field Edit Follow-up operation, changes to how the annual housing unit sample is selected, various content changes, and expansion of internet data collection to non-mailable addresses.

Page Last Revised - April 19, 2023
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