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Category: Jobs, workforce, education and labor markets; Regional industries & economies

Overview: Every month, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey (ACS) to create detailed data on the U.S. population and how they live, primarily for the purposes of public policy. ACS summary data, published annually as one-, three-, and five-year averages, are predefined tabulations of socioeconomic characteristics. The basic unit of analysis is a specific geographic entity, ranging in size from block group to the nation, for which estimates of persons, families, households, or housing units in particular categories are provided.

Unit of Analysis: Individuals and households

Coverage: U.S. residents

Form: User-defined tables and analyses

Key Data Elements:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Income & benefits
  • Family & relationships
  • Education
  • Health insurance
  • Veteran status
  • Language spoken at home
  • Journey to work
  • Occupation
  • Rent or ownership status
  • Type of housing unit 
  • Monthly housing costs
  • Vehicles available

Geographic Areas: Nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, places, census tracts, block groups

Timeframe: 2005 to prior calendar year

Frequency: Annual—one-year averages for geographies with 65,000 or more residents, three-year averages for geographies 20,000 or more residents, and five-year averages for geographies with less than 20,000 residents

Timeliness: 9-12 months after latest reference year

Data Collection Method: 3.5 million addresses sampled each year, with paper form mailed out and non-response follow-up with telephone and in person interviews

Access: Free, tables through American Fact Finder and datasets through the ACS website

Potential Uses for Regional Analysis: Determination of workforce, job, and journey-to-work characteristics, with substantial disaggregation by age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

For Additional Information:

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