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American Community Survey (ACS)

The Census Bureau is no longer offering the Long Form (SF3) as part of the decennial census of the population of the United States. Instead they are conducting ongoing surveys that they then tabulate at the end of the year, sum to 3-year and 5-year estimates.

The American Community Survey estimates include demographics such as Income, Employment, Commuting, Education, etc. They describe the average characteristics of population and housing over a period time (1, 3 or 5 years from January 1 through December 31). The multi-year estimates do not depict what is going on in any particular year, only what the average value is over the full time period.

At GeoLytics, our data file of the American Community Survey has all of the geographies, variables and margins of error for each of the 3 data sets (1 year, 3 year and 5 year) starting with the 2009 data release. The data sets are different for the years as the Census adds new questions every year. And because this is an ongoing surveying process it means that every year in December the Census Bureau will release the numbers for the previous year. Starting in 2009, with the introduction of the 5-year estimates the American Community Survey will now have data down to the tract and block group level. And we have built our own zip code level dataset that is missing from the original Census release.

If you are trying to understand the changing American population on an ongoing basis - then the American Community Survey is vital. Call us at 1-800-577-6717, and let us help you better understand who America is.

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