How Big is the American Community Survey?

Really big! Over 49.9 million people have been surveyed in the American Community Survey over the past ten years, 2007-2016.

The American Community Survey (ACS) collected by the US Census Bureau is the replacement for the “long form census” conducted on April 1st of years ending in “0”. The last traditional “long form census” was in year 2000.

The American Community Survey was introduced to my professional community in the mid-1990s as the Continuous Measurement (CM) program. That name didn’t stick or click, and the Census Bureau renamed it the American Community Survey in the late 1990s.

The first, fully functional, nationwide implementation of the ACS was in 2005, though that year excluded group quarters (dormitories, prisons, hospitals, etc) persons. Group quarters were introduced in the 2006 ACS, so 2006 is sometimes considered the first year of full implementation. (If you’re just interested in household and housing characteristics, then don’t overlook the 2005 ACS!)

Well, is the ACS the same sample size, in general, as the older long form data?

Yes, if you look at ten years worth of ACS data.


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Health Insurance in the USA (Part 4)

The Census Bureau released data from the 2016 American Community Survey last week (September 12-14).

Here is the Bureau web page related to 2016 Health Insurance Coverage. The report P60-260 (pdf format) includes abundant information related to changes in health insurance status of the American population between 2008 and 2016. It is a must read in the current era of amending and/or repealing the US Affordable Care Act.

This blog post is an update to my June 17, 2017 post. That post used data from the 2015 American Community Survey. I’m updating this with data from the 2016 American Community Survey, Table GCT-2701.

(I’ll be out of the country for the next two weeks, exploring Mayan ruins and current cultures in Central America, so don’t expect blog posts in the near future!)

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The ABCs of Defining Metropolis

Maybe the sub-title to this blog post should be: “Welcome to the San Jose Bay Area!”

The US Bureau of the Census has been defining — and re-defining — metropolitan areas over the past one hundred years. This has numerous uses in national and sub-national analyses: ranking of metropolitan areas by various indicators, changes in metropolitan area characteristics over time, and changes in the geographic structure of these metropolitan areas.

It appears that the first formal effort to “standardize” metropolitan area definitions was after the 1950 decennial census.


(The next section in this blog post is a bit long and dense. Read at your own risk!)

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Median Household Income in the SF Bay Area?

Question: What is the median household income in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area?

Answer: The 2016 estimate of median household income in the twelve-county San Francisco Bay Area is $91,234, according to the 2016 American Community Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau.

Uh, the “twelve-county San Francisco Bay Area”? Well, it’s actually called the “San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area.” The Combined Statistical Area, or CSA, is a creation of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) using population data collected by the US Bureau of the Census. The CSA is similar to the CMSA and the SCSA from bygone days. I’ll enlighten (and/or confuse) readers about these terms in future blog posts.


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New 2016 Data from the Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau released the 2016 data from the American Community Survey (ACS) on Thursday, September 14, 2017. There is an amazing amount of information to be consumed / pored over / digested.

The Census Bureau tweeted several of the highlights from the ACS, on several topics, including:

  • Median Household Income (State, Largest 25 Metro Areas);
  • Household Income Inequality (State);
  • Poverty Rates (State, Largest 25 Metro Areas);
  • Health Insurance Coverage (State, Most Populous 25 Metro Areas);
  • Non-English Language Spoken at Home;
  • Working-Age Veterans without Health Insurance;
  • Characteristics of Persons without Health Insurance

The Census Bureau’s 9/14/17 Press Release covers the same topics. And the same information is on the Bureau’s Facebook page.

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New ACS Data on September 14, 2017

The US Census Bureau will release the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) data this coming Thursday, September 14, 2017. This will include tables for the 1-year (2016) estimates.

The 5-year (2012-2016) data will be released on December 7, 2017.

Accredited journalists will get a jump on the data analysis: the data is available, but “embargoed” (can’t be released) on September 12th, and the “embargo is lifted” on September 14th. Watch for census-related stories in the media this Thursday and Friday!

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Commuting to Silicon Valley (Part 2)

The American Community Survey provides easy access on general commuting statistics:

  • How many workers reside in an area (county)?
  • How many workers work (have a job) in an area (county)?
  • How many workers live-and-work in the same area (county)?

I reported on the 2006-2015 data for Santa Clara County “Silicon Valley” in my August 21st blog post.

So, the next big question is: where are the other commuters coming from? Are they coming from down the Peninsula (San Francisco, San Mateo)? Are they coming from the East Bay (Alameda, Contra Costa)? Or are they coming from elsewhere outside the Bay Area?


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