American Community Survey 2016
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 to develop current estimates on these topics and 5-year projections. This section is focused on ACS 2015 data access, integration and use and is progressively updated.
The 2016 ACS 1-year estimates will be released on September 14, 2017. These data will be available for the nation, all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more. The 2016 ACS 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files and 2016 ACS 1-year Supplemental Estimates will be released on October 19, 2017.
Importance of ACS: Assessing Demographic-Economic Change
Oil prices plummeted in late 2014. How has this affected people and households in areas hardest hit? Find out for wide-ranging geographies using the ACS 1-year estimates. Compare to earlier 1-year estimates. Demographic-economic conditions change for many reasons; oil price changes are just one.
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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.
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.
While 5-year estimates are independently developed annually,
they include demographic-economic characteristics for some of the same respondents.
Geographic boundaries and/or geographic codes are often different for different ACS years/vintages. Examples:
- February 2013 metros definitions are used for ACS 2013 & 2014;
previous metro vintages are used for earlier ACS years
- Current OMB definition metros will be used in ACS 2015 forward (until they change again)
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 2013 (2014 as of December 2015) 5-year estimates;
- ACS 2013 (ACS 2014) estimates are centric to 2011 (2012)
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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.
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.