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2020 Data Release New and Notable

The New and Notable page highlights important information supporting each of the data releases.  You can also visit the User Notes and Errata Notes pages to learn about issues, errors, and/or corrections impacting the survey.

2016-2020 ACS 5-year Estimates

March 31, 2022
2016-2020 ACS 5-year PUMS Files and Documentation Released March 31

2016-2020 ACS 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files are now available on data.census.gov and the FTP site

Visit our Microdata section of the website to find PUMS data, and resources like the PUMS Handbook, How-to Use instructions, FAQs and documentation. The PUMS documentation includes the PUMS ReadMe, Accuracy of the PUMS, PUMS Estimates for User Verification, Subjects in the PUMS, and Data Dictionary. Code Lists have also been posted to help users with the release of the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year PUMS files. 

2016-2020 ACS Variance Replicate Estimate Tables and Documentation Released March 31

2016-2020 ACS Variance Replicate Estimate Tables are now available through the Variance Replicate Estimate Tables page and the FTP site. These tables allow advanced data users to calculate margins of error when collapsing data within a table or across geographies. Supporting documentation is also available.

March 17, 2022
2016-2020 ACS 5-year Estimates Released March 17

2016-2020 ACS 5-year estimates are available in data.census.gov and the API.

The 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Press Kit includes a wide range of resources, including the press release, and access to background materials for this release.

2016-2020 ACS 5-year estimates are based on data collected from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020.

2016-2020 ACS 5-year estimates are available for geographic areas down to the census tract and block group levels.

New user notes related to this release are available. 

2016-2020 ACS 5-year Narrative Profiles Available

2016-2020 ACS 5-year Narrative Profiles are available for state, county, place, metropolitan/micropolitan statistical area, county subdivision, ZIP Code Tabulation Area, American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land and census tract. Narrative Profiles summarize many topics using nontechnical text and graphs. Other profiles, such as Data Profiles and Comparison Profiles, are available in data.census.gov.

Updated 5-year to 5-year Comparison Guidance

Visit our Comparing 2011-2015 ACS 5-year and 2016-2020 ACS 5-year page for guidance on comparing these datasets by subject area.

Summary File Data

The 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Summary File data on the FTP site are now available. Supporting materials were released last week.

5-year Webinar Available

The slides, transcript, and recording from the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Pre-Release webinar will be available soon. This webinar covers background information about the ACS, changes for this release, and where to find new data release information on the ACS website. In addition, we demonstrate how to access Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) data in data.census.gov.

Data Visualization

The data visualization, What you can learn about counties from the American Community Survey?, is available to support this release.

New Blog

A new blog, Our Commitment to Quality: A Revised American Community Survey Estimation Methodology in the Complexity of a Pandemic, discusses how we revised our estimation methodology to improve the 2020 portion of the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year data.


March 10, 2022
Changes to Tables for the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Release

Visit 2020 Table and Geography Changes for a list and description of all new, modified, and deleted tables as well as information on changes to geography.

Select Summary File Materials Released

Supporting materials for the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Summary File have been  released, including the templates, technical document appendices, table shells, and sequence number/table number lookup file. The 5-year Summary File on the FTP site will be released on March 17, 2022.

Geography & ACS

Visit the Geography & ACS page for changes to 2020 geographies. The Areas PublishedGeography Boundaries by Year, and Reference Materials pages have also been updated for 2020.

2016-2020 ACS 5-year Table Shells and Table List

Table shells for the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year tables and profiles are available on the FTP site. The 2020 ACS Table List is also available. It includes information, such as table IDs, titles, and universes, as well as 1-year/5-year availability, in one spreadsheet.

Select Documentation Released

Supporting documentation has been released to help users prepare for the release of the 2016-2020 ACS 1-year estimates. This includes multiyear accuracy of the data documents on the Code Lists, Definitions, and Accuracy page and a user note titled Modification to the 5-Year Estimation Methodology Containing Data Collected in 2020. Additional user notes will be released on March 17, 2022.

New Blog: Period Estimates in the American Community Survey

Our new blog, Period Estimates in the American Community Survey, explains period estimates and how to interpret them.

February 7, 2022
Statement on 2016-2020 American Community Survey

On March 17, the U.S. Census Bureau will release the standard, full suite of 2016–2020 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data products—down to the block group level. Following pandemic-related data collection disruptions, the Census Bureau revised its methodology to reduce nonresponse bias in data collected in 2020. After evaluating the effectiveness of this methodology, the Census Bureau determined the resulting data are fit for public release, government and business uses, and understanding the social and economic characteristics of the U.S. population and economy. We will provide additional information and guidance on release day on the ACS New and Notable webpage and in the press kit.

Revised Release Schedule

The 2016-2020 ACS 5-year estimates will be released on March 17, 2022.  These data will be available for all geographic areas including census tracts, ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs), and block groups.

The 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files and 2016-2020 ACS 5-year Variance Replicate Estimates will be released on March 31, 2022. For more information on the release schedule, visit the revised 2020 ACS Release Schedule.

November 10, 2021
Statement on 2016-2020 American Community Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to producing high-quality data. The Census Bureau recognizes the critical importance of the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data, in particular, on government and business decision-making and the need for quality ACS data for that purpose.

To reflect our quality standards, the Census Bureau must delay the 2016-2020 ACS 5-year data release originally targeted for December 2021. Additional time is needed to continue refining our methodology so that we can minimize the impact of nonresponse bias due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our current plan targets a March 2022 release date. We expect to provide an update in December. Visit the 2020 ACS Release Schedule for more information.

2020 ACS 1-year Experimental Estimates

November 30, 2021
November 17, 2021
Release Date for 2020 ACS 1-Year Experimental Data Products

The Census Bureau will release all 2020 ACS 1-year experimental data products on November 30th, including:

Experimental data tables

Technical working paper: “Addressing Nonresponse Bias in the American Community Survey During the Pandemic Using Administrative Data”

1-Year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files with experimental weights

Blog: “An Overview of Addressing Nonresponse Bias in the American Community Survey During the Pandemic Using Administrative Data”

October 27, 2021
Analytical Report Released

The Census Bureau released an analytical report in advance of publishing experimental data from the American Community Survey (ACS).  The report, An Assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on the 2020 ACS 1-Year Data, describes how the pandemic disrupted ACS data collection in 2020 and gives users insights into why the Census Bureau decided to release the 2020 ACS 1-year estimates as an experimental product.  The Census Bureau ultimately determined the standard 2020 ACS 1-year estimates did not meet our statistical quality standards.

July 29, 2021
Revised Release Schedule

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection, the Census Bureau is changing the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) release schedule. Instead of providing the standard 1-year estimates, the Census Bureau will release a series of "experimental" estimates from the 1-year data in November. This will include a limited number of data tables for limited geographies.

Visit the 2020 ACS Release Schedule for the complete schedule and the Impact of Pandemic on the ACS press kit for more information.

March 11, 2021
Resources to Understand the 2020 ACS

The ACS program is sharing additional materials earlier this year to help users prepare for the 2020 ACS data release. These items include:

2020 Geography Boundaries by Year page to understand what geographic boundaries (or vintages) are being used with this release

Population Controls for the 2020 ACS user note to explain what products from the Population Estimates Program will be used as controls with this release

Page Last Revised - November 16, 2022
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