American Community Survey

A New Approach for Timely Information

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's decennial census program. The ACS collects information such as age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other important data. As with the 2010 decennial census, information about individuals remains confidential.

Roughly Three and a Half Million Housing Units Selected

The ACS collects and produces population and housing information every year instead of every ten years. Collecting data every year provides more up-to-date information throughout the decade about the U.S. population at the local community level. About 3.5 million housing unit addresses are selected annually, across every county in the nation.

Survey Coverage

Single-Year Estimates
The ACS produces 1-year estimates annually for geographic areas with a population of 65,000 or more. This includes the nation, all states and the District of Columbia, all congressional districts, approximately 800 counties, and 500 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, among others.

Multiyear Estimates
The ACS produces 3-year estimates annually for geographic areas with a population of 20,000 or more, including the nation, all states and the District of Columbia, all congressional districts, approximately 1,800 counties, and 900 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, among others.

In 2010, the Census Bureau released the first 5-year estimates for small areas. These 5-year estimates are based on ACS data collected from 2005 through 2009.

Group Quarters Population

In 2006, the ACS sample was expanded to include the population living in group quarters. Group quarters include nursing homes, correctional facilities, military barracks, and college/university housing among others.

The Puerto Rico Community Survey

The Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) is the equivalent of the ACS for Puerto Rico, and began data collection in 2005. Data results from both the ACS and the PRCS are released together as a unified American Community Survey dataset.

ACS Data Products Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking feedback from all who use the data products generated from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS data products consist of tabulated products, such as aggregated estimates found in detailed tables or data profiles in the American FactFinder, and the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files. We need your feedback in order to provide relevant and timely data products that are easy to access and use.

Please take a moment to complete the ACS Data Products Survey.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau   |   American FactFinder