Note: Data will be available by 10 a.m. EST.
Dec. 3, 2015 -- For 10 years, the American Community Survey has provided U.S. communities with detailed information critical for making informed decisions about their people, places and economy. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest American Community Survey five-year statistics, allowing users for the first time to compare two nonoverlapping five-year data sets: 2005-2009 and 2010-2014.
Users can now identify trends for social and economic characteristics for even the smallest communities on a more frequent basis.
Prior to the American Community Survey, these detailed characteristics were only available once a decade from the census. To meet the demand for more current statistics for national and local decision-making, the Census Bureau responded by developing a survey that would provide more timely data. Approval by Congress helped turn the Census Bureau's innovation into the American Community Survey.
"The American Community Survey is how America knows what America needs," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "From its beginning 10 years ago, it immediately proved to be a vital tool in providing a portrait of Gulf Coast communities recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Today, it is the premier source of statistics for anyone needing detailed local information for small towns, neighborhoods and communities both rural and urban."
As the nation's largest ongoing household survey, the American Community Survey produces statistics annually at all levels of geography, down to the block group level for every community in the nation and Puerto Rico.
In addition to today's release of statistics using data collected between 2010 and 2014, the Census Bureau has produced a series of maps; detailing county-level change for six socio-economic characteristics, highlighted below. Without the American Community Survey, these maps would only be possible every 10 years. The maps highlight just a few of the more than 40 topics available from the American Community Survey that public officials, community leaders, business owners, researchers and many others rely on to plan and make decisions.
In addition to the statistics released today, the 2014 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates will be released next week. These estimates provide single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts nationally. Data from the American Community Survey are an important input to these estimates.
Because it is a survey based on a sample of the population rather than the entire population, the American Community Survey produces estimates. To aid data users, the Census Bureau calculates and publishes a margin of error for every estimate. For guidance on making comparisons, please visit census.gov.
The American Community Survey is the only source of small area estimates for social, economic and demographic characteristics. It gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results. Visit the Stats in Action page to see some examples.
These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households in the survey.
Note to correspondents: When sourcing the data in this release, please use "American Community Survey: 2010-2014."
Note: Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation/code-lists.html.
Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See //www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/news/data-releases.html for more information on changes affecting the 2010-2014 statistics. See www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html for guidance on comparing 2010-2014 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2000 Census.