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2016-2020 American Community Survey 5-year estimates are now available, including the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files and Variance Replicate Estimate (VRE) Tables.

2014 Content Review

Overview

The data collected in the ACS are critical for communities nationwide. At the same time, the collection of information should be as minimally burdensome and intrusive as possible.

In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a comprehensive content review process to ensure that only the information needed is requested, and that the justifications provided by federal agencies for the ACS questions are current and valid. Following the review of more than 300 federal agency uses of ACS data, the Business/Medical Office on Property question (housing question 6 on the 2014 ACS) was proposed for removal beginning in 2016.

The Census Bureau takes very seriously respondent burden and concerns and recognizes that the content review process and the resulting, proposed question change are only initial steps to addressing them. To that end, as a result of our ongoing research to reduce respondent burden, we are proposing to remove the flush toilet question, revise the computer use and Internet questions, and streamline our mailout procedures. Moving forward, the Census Bureau will build on these changes, working towards:

  • identifying questions that we may only need to ask intermittently, rather than each month or year
  • conducting research on substituting the direct collection of information with the use of information already provided to the government
  • looking for other opportunities to reduce respondent burden while maintaining survey quality. 

Taken together, these measures will make a significant impact on reducing respondent burden in the ACS.

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