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American Community Survey 2018
-- ACS 2018 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS)
-- annually updated to develop and model custom demographic-economic estimates for PUMAs

Essential data to assess where we are, how things have changed and how things might change in the future down to the sub-neighborhood level. The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide annually updated demographic-economic data for national and sub-national geography. ACS provides a wide range of important data about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from planners to retailers to homebuilders and issue stakeholders like you. ACS is a primary source of local data for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as income, education, occupation, language and housing. ProximityOne uses ACS data to develop current estimates on these topics and 5-year projections.

Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files are datasets that contain a sample of individual respondent data for statistical surveys. For ACS 2018, the files contain the full range of population and housing unit responses collected on individual ACS questionnaires, for a subsample of ACS housing units and group quarters persons.

PUMS files enable the development of custom estimates/analyses for subject matter not published as summary statistics based on a sample of actual ACS responses. The low level geography for which PUMS estimates can be developed are the Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA). PUMAs, generally comprised of a set of continuous census tracts, have a population of 100,000 or more. The 2,378 PUMAs cover the U.S. wall-to-wall and are static geographic areas through the 2010s. Larger population counties are often comprised of many PUMAs. Los Angeles county has 69 PUMAs. PUMS files also enable microdata analysis not possible with summary statistic data.

Each record in the PUMS file represents a single person (person file) or a single housing unit (household file). In the person-level file, individuals are organized into households, making possible the study of people within the contexts of their families and other household members. 1-year PUMS files, such as 2018, contain data on approximately one percent of the U.S. population. 5-year PUMS files, covering a five-year period, such as 2014-2018, contain data on approximately five percent of the U.S. population.

This section is focused on ACS 2018 data access, integration and use. It is updated periodically. Register to receive updates. See related ACS 2017 5-year PUMS section.

ACS 2018 Data Release Dates ... goto top
Statistical Release Dates shows these dates in context of other release dates.
  • 2018 ACS 1-year estimates .. September 26, 2019
    .. estimates for areas 65,000 population and over
  • 2018 ACS 1-year PUMS data .. November 14, 2019
    .. microdata data for custom estimates and individual modeling
  • 2018 ACS 5-year estimates .. December 19, 2019
    .. estimates for all areas down to block group level
  • 2018 ACS 5-year PUMS data .. this section .. January 30, 2020
    .. microdata data for custom estimates and individual modeling
  • 2018 ACS 1-year supplemental estimates .. February 6, 2020
    .. selected 1 year estimates for areas 20,000 population and over

Using ACS Data; ACS 1-Year versus ACS 5-Year Data .. top

While ACS 1-year estimates are suitable for time-series analyses, the ACS 5-year estimates are not the same as annual demographic-economic estimates and may not be suitable for annual time series analyses.

Advantages of using the 5-year estimates
  • the data are available for all census tracts and ZIP code areas.
  • the data are available for all cities/places, counties and school districts irrespective of size.
Disadvantages of using the 5-year estimates
  • the data are older than the 1-year estimates.
  • the data are for a 5-year period rather than one year.
  • additional cautions in comparing estimates over time (see below).

Advantages of using the 1-year estimates
  • the data are more recent than the 5-year estimates.
  • the data are generally more accurate than the 5-year estimates.
Disadvantages of using the 5-year estimates
  • the data are not available for census tracts and ZIP code areas.
  • the data are available for only areas of 65,000 population and over.
  • the margin of error (MOE) of the estimate is normally larger that for the 5-year estimates.

Additional cautions in comparing estimates over time
  • ACS 2012 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2008 through 2012.
  • ACS 2013 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2009 through 2013.
  • ACS 2014 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2010 through 2014.
  • ACS 2015 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2011 through 2015.
  • ACS 2016 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2012 through 2016.
  • ACS 2017 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2013 through 2017.
  • ACS 2018 5 year estimates are based on survey respondent data for the years 2014 through 2018.
  • The ACS 2012 5 year data & ACS 2013 5 year data
      are based on the same respondent data for the four years 2009 through 2012.
  • The ACS 2013 5 year estimates drop 2008 respondents and add 2013 respondents.
  • The ACS 2014 5 year estimates drop 2009 respondents and add 2014 respondents.
  • The ACS 2015 5 year estimates drop 2010 respondents and add 2015 respondents.
  • The ACS 2016 5 year estimates drop 2011 respondents and add 2016 respondents.
  • The ACS 2017 5 year estimates drop 2012 respondents and add 2017 respondents.
  • The ACS 2018 5 year estimates drop 2013 respondents and add 2018 respondents.
  • While 5-year estimates are independently developed annually,
      they include demographic-economic characteristics for some of the same respondents.

Other considerations
  • Are the needed subject matter available from Census 2010?
    - ACS more detailed demographic-economic data (like income) may not be a plus.
  • Census 2010 provides more accurate data than ACS estimates.
  • Often there are more detailed age (and other) breakouts for subject matter in Census 2010 compared to ACS.
  • The most recent ACS-sourced small area data are from ACS 2017 (December 2018) 5-year estimates;
    - ACS 2017 5-year estimates are centric to 2015.

Areas Published ... goto top
... this general description will be updated with specific ACS 2018 geography soon.
... availability of summary statistic data by type of geography
... link in left column provide access to related interactive tables for specific geographic level.
Geography 1-year estimates
65,000+ population
1-year
Supplemental Estimates
20,000+ population
5-year estimates
All Areas
numberpercent numberpercent number
United States1100%1100%1
Region4100%4100%4
Division9100%9100%9
States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico52100%52100%52
County or equivalent /183726%1,90859%3,220
County Subdivision /22241%1,1963%36,631
Subminor Civil Division (Puerto Rico Only) /3N/AN/AN/AN/A145
Census Tract /3N/AN/AN/AN/A74,001
Block Group /3N/AN/AN/AN/A220,333
Place (incorporated places and census designated places)6142%2,3028%29,576
Consolidated City /3N/AN/AN/AN/A8
Alaska Native Regional Corporation325%433%12
American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land132%345%695
American Indian Area-Tribal Census Tract /3N/AN/AN/AN/A483
American Indian Area-Tribal Census Tract-Tribal Block Group /3N/AN/AN/AN/A917
Metropolitan Statistical/Micropolitan Statistical Area /451855%91697%945
Principal City of Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas39932%78362%1,265
Metropolitan Division31100%31100%31
Combined Statistical Area17198%174100%174
Combined New England City and Town Area7100%7100%7
New England City and Town Area2562%3692%39
Principal Cities of New England City and Town Areas1932%4271%59
New England City and Town Area Division10100%10100%10
Urban Area43512%88125%3,592
Congressional Districts - 115th435100%435100%435
Delegate District - 115th (at Large, District of Columbia)1100%1100%1
Resident Commissioner District - 115th (at Large, Puerto Rico)1100%1100%1
State Legislative District /3, /5 (Upper)N/AN/AN/AN/A1,954
State Legislative District /3, /5 (Lower)N/AN/AN/AN/A4,825
Public Use Microdata Area2,378100%2,378100%2,378
5 digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area /3N/AN/AN/AN/A33,120
School District (Elementary)804%29915%1,995
School District (Secondary)9018%21442%509
School District (Unified)8728%3,00128%10,902
Total7,1592%14,5293%428,517

Notes ...
1 County equivalents include Alaska boroughs, municipalities, city and boroughs, and census areas;
    Louisiana parishes; Puerto Rico municipios; independent cities in Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia.
2 For 1-year estimates, qualifying Minor Civil Divisions in 20 states only. For 5-year estimates, all county subdivisions.
3 1-year estimates are not produced for this geographic level, regardless of population size.
4 All metropolitan statistical areas receive ACS 1-year estimates.
    A population minimum of 50,000 is applied instead of the standard 65,000.
5 Legislative session year 2016.
* Counts based on geographic area boundaries as of January 1, 2017.
** ACS data are not available for census blocks.

ProximityOne User Group ... goto top
Join the ProximityOne User Group to keep up-to-date with new developments relating to metros and component geography decision-making information resources. Receive updates and access to tools and resources available only to members. Use this form to join the User Group.

Support Using these Resources
Learn more about accessing and using demographic-economic data and related analytical tools. Join us in a Data Analytics Lab session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.

Additional Information
ProximityOne develops geodemographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, develop geographic and geocoded address files, and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our tools (software, data, methodologies) to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Follow ProximityOne on Twitter at www.twitter.com/proximityone. Contact us (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.


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