An Overview of the American Community Survey
Have you ever thought about how, or why, new roads, schools, after-school programs, or hospitals are placed in communities? What makes communities attractive to new businesses or tourists? Why there is no ATM or video store on a street corner? The answers often lie in the numbers: numbers that reflect what our communities look like, how our communities have changed, and how those changes impact our daily lives. Most importantly, the numbers reflect how our communities are meeting the needs created by these changes. Traditionally, these numbers have been collected during the census every 10 years. Those numbers play a critical role for states and local communities in determining their share of federal money for schools, roads, senior citizen centers, and other services. In today’s world, our communities can change very quickly. Between decennial censuses, local governments, organizations and businesses need timely data to assess and plan for local needs. Costly mistakes can result when planners do not have current data on which to base their decisions. That is one of the reasons why the U.S. Census Bureau has moved to a whole new way of gathering data to help answer those questions. Rather than taking a snapshot of a community once every ten years, the American Community Survey provides a dynamic and much timelier moving picture of the nation, every year.
* What is the American Community Survey?
* Survey Methodology
* Data Products
* How is it different from Census 2000?
This presentation will give you an overview of the American Community Survey. We will answer the question “What is the American Community Survey?” and then move on to discuss the content, methodology, and data products. We will wrap up with a brief summary of how the American Community Survey is different from Census 2000.
What is the American
The American Community Survey, sometimes referred to as the ACS, is a nationwide survey that collects essentially the same information on people and housing that was collected on the long-form questionnaire used in Census 2000. The American Community Survey is a continuous survey, in which each month a sample of housing unit addresses receives a questionnaire. About three million addresses are surveyed each year.
The American Community Survey is a critical element in the Census Bureau's new approach to future censuses.
In Census 2000, the census used 2 forms
1. “short” form – asked for basic demographic and housing information, such as age, sex, race, how many people lived in the housing unit, and if the housing unit was owned or rented by the resident 2. “long” form – collected the same information as the short form but also collected more in-depth information such as income, education, and language spoken at home * Only a small portion of the population, called a
sample, received the long form.
Two forms were used during Census 2000. The “short form” asked several questions on the most basic demographic and housing topics. These questions asked about age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, the number of people living in the housing unit, and if the housing unit was owned or rented by the resident.
The “long form” collected the same information as the “short form,” but it also asked questions on additional topics. Thirty-two questions were asked of each resident of the housing unit on such topics as marital status, education, language spoken at home, employment, occupation, and others. Twenty-one questions were asked about the housing unit itself, so only one resident of that housing unit was asked to provide information on such topics as plumbing and kitchen facilities, type and cost of utilities, value of the property, and others. Only a sample of the total U.S. population received the long form. The data from the long form...