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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 2016 data access, integration and use and is progressively updated.

  • API Access -- accessing these data via API calls (opens new page)
  • Reference -- table shells, etc.
  • Applications -- interactive tables; GIS resources; studies/briefs

The 2016 ACS 1-year estimates were released on September 14, 2017. These data are 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.

Reference - go top
  • Areas Published -- sheet for each geo type - xlsx
  • Table Shells -- subject matter, all detailed tables - xlsx

Applications - go top
  -- Interactive Tables; GIS Resources; Studies/Briefs
This sub-section is progressively updated with links to access ACS 2016 data via
  interactive tables, datasets, analytical reports,
  and through use of GIS & analytical tools.

Examining America's 10 Largest Urban Areas

U.S. & State 2016 Demographic-Economic Characteristics
  • General Demographics
  • Social Characteristics
  • Economic Characteristics
  • Housing Characteristics

Metro/CBSA 2016 Demographic-Economic Characteristics
  • General Demographics
  • Social Characteristics
  • Economic Characteristics
  • Housing Characteristics

Congressional District 2016 Demographic-Economic Characteristics
  • General Demographics
  • Social Characteristics
  • Economic Characteristics
  • Housing Characteristics

Subject Matter Topics & Coverage ... scroll section
Click link to access data & view more detail; opens new window.
  Age and Sex
  Group Quarters Population
  Hispanic or Latino Origin
  Total Population
  Computer Ownership & Internet Access
  House Heating Fuel
  Kitchen Facilities
  Occupancy/Vacancy Status
  Occupants per Room
  Owner Monthly Costs
  Plumbing Facilities
  Rent Statistics
  Telephone Service Available
  Units in Structure
  Value of Home
  Vehicles Available
  Year Householder Moved Into Unit
  Year Structure Built
  Class of Worker
  Commuting to Work/Journey to Work
  Employment Status
  Food Stamps/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  Health Insurance Coverage
  Income and Earnings
  Industry and Occupation
  Work Status
  Citizenship Status
  Disability Status
  Educational Attainment
  Field of Degree
  Grandparents as Caregivers
  Marital History
  Marital Status
  Place of Birth
  School Enrollment
  Residence 1 Year Ago/Migration
  Year of Entry

Scope of Geographic Areas Tabulated ... scroll section
Geographic Areas 1-year estimates 5-year estimates

Areas with Population of 65,000+ All areas

number percentage number
United States 1 100% 1
Region 4 100% 4
Division 9 100% 9
States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico 52 100% 52
County or equivalent 828 26% 3,220
County Subdivision 222 1% 36,628
Subminor Civil Division (Puerto Rico Only) 0 0% 145
Census Tract 0 0% 74,001
Block Group 0 0% 220,333
Place (incorporated places and census designated places) 591 2% 29,549
Consolidated City 0 0% 8
Alaska Native Regional Corporation 3 25% 12
American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land 13 2% 693
Specified American Indian Area-Tribal Census Tract N/A N/A 481
Specified American Indian Area-Tribal Census Tract-Tribal Block Group N/A N/A 915
Metropolitan Statistical/Micropolitan Statistical Area 515 55% 929
Principal City of Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas 387 31% 1,249
Metropolitan Division 31 100% 31
Combined Statistical Area 167 99% 169
Combined New England City and Town Area 6 100% 6
New England City and Town Area 25 66% 38
Principal Cities of New England City and Town Areas 19 33% 58
New England City and Town Area Division 10 100% 10
Urban Area 432 12% 3,592
Congressional Districts - 114th 435 100% 435
Delegate District - 114th (at Large, District of Columbia) 1 100% 1
Resident Commissioner District - 114th (at Large, Puerto Rico) 1 100% 1
State Legislative District - 2014 session (Upper) 0 0% 1,954
State Legislative District - 2014 session (Lower) 0 0% 4,825
Public Use Microdata Area 2,378 100% 2,378
5 digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area N/A N/A 33,120
School District (Elementary) 74 3% 2,181
School District (Secondary) 88 16% 538
School District (Unified) 842 8% 10,923
Total 7,134 2% 428,489

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)

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 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.

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 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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