American Community Survey Resources

American Community Survey Handbooks for Data Users
produced by the Population Reference Bureau and U.S. Census Bureau, Sept. 2019 – March 2021

American Community Survey Public Events
from the U.S. Census Bureau, Nov. 1, 2016

Why We Need the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey
by the Census Project, March 2016

The American Community Survey is Essential,” a statement from the American Economic Association

The nation’s major state/local government organizations sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging full funding of the American Community Survey. May 20, 2015

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to leadership on the House Appropriations Committee expressing concern regarding committee actions on FY 2016 budget cuts affecting Census 2020 planning and the American Community Survey. May 19, 2015

The Value of the American Community Survey: Smart Government, Competitive Businesses, and Informed CitizensA report by the Economics & Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
April 2015

Measuring America: Why We AskThe U.S. Census Bureau developed an infographic on the importance of the questions asked on the American Community Survey.

The Greatest Survey You’ve Never Heard OfA blog post from the National Retail Federation by Jack Kleinhenz.

Letters from state and local chambers of commerce in support of full funding for the American Community Survey and keeping response mandatory.

Letter to the House Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations subcommittee
Letter to the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations subcommittee
March 24, 2015

The ACS 3-year Demographic Estimates Are HistoryA blog post from the Association of Public Data Users by Ken Poole.

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs and OpportunitiesA report from the Committee on National Statistics, part of the National Academy of Sciences.

2nd Annual ACS Data Users ConferenceA conference on May 11-13, 2015, organized by the American Community Survey (ACS) Data Users Group.

COPAFS Fact Sheet on the Importance of a Mandatory ACSA fact sheet from the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

CJS Appropriations: The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS)A fact sheet from the Marketing Research Association.

Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure – Nov. 12, 2013

The Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) United Coalition released a report documenting the consequences of sequestration for federal agencies and programs. Census Project Co-Director Mary Jo Hoeksema co-authored the chapter on “Science and Data,” which includes a section on how sequestration has affected the work of federal statistical agencies.

Presentations from Association of Public Data Users (APDU) Webinar – Nov. 7, 2013

“The American Community Survey: What Stakeholders Really Think and How We Can Improve.”

Olson and Boone presented useful information on response to the ACS, respondent and congressional concerns about the survey, and steps the Census Bureau is taking to promote ACS participation and make the survey easier to complete. Click above for their presentations.

The American Community Survey: Development, Implementation, and Issues for Congress – Dec. 2, 2013

This Congressional Research Service report on the ACS offers helpful background on why the Census Bureau created the ACS to replace the traditional census long form, congressional support for and concerns about the ACS over the past two decades, and issues that Congress might consider to improve the survey while ensuring the continued availability of data needed for policy and programmatic purposes. The report was written by Jennifer Williams, CRS Specialist in American National Government.

Choices Magazine on Federal DataChoices Magazine published an important article on the uses of federal statistics (including the ACS) for rural and farm areas.

Congressional ACS Briefing MaterialsIn late September 2013, the Census Project coordinated a congressional briefing for House aides. For the session the Census Project put together a comprehensive set of handouts, including several PowerPoint presentations, on how the ACS works and its uses.

Save the Census! – April 5, 2013This blog post by the Director of Research and Planning, Twin Cities (MN) United Way, highlights important uses of ACS data in their daily work.

Cutting the Census; Impairing Our Democracy

This blog post by Wilder Research Executive Director Paul Mattessich, describes the consequences of the May 2012 U.S. House of Representatives vote to eliminate funding for the American Community Survey, and significantly reduce the Census Bureau’s overall budget, for sound research and decision-making. Minnesota-based Wilder Research is part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit health and human service organization that assists thousands of people each year through direct service programs, research, leadership and community capacity building. Wilder’s Minnesota Compass project tracks and analyzes trends that affect the quality of life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region – important work that wouldn’t be possible without objective, reliable and comprehensive data.

Webinar on ACS – January 30, 2013The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) held a webinar on private sector uses of the American Community Survey (ACS). Census Project Co-Director Terri Ann Lowenthal gave an update on the status of ACS funding and oversight in Congress. Her remarks are available on APDU’s website.

Testimony on ACS – July 18, 2012Senate Testimony of Dr. Andrew Reamer on ACS. On July 18, 2012 Dr. Reamer testified before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. In his testimony, Dr. Reamer focused on the American Community Survey.

Fact Sheet on ACSFact Sheet on ACS. The Census Project has prepared a one-page fact sheet detailing what the elimination of the American Community Survey will mean to communities throughout the country. Please feel free to circulate the fact sheet to friends, allies and colleagues.

Elimination of America’s Playbook. Scores of Case Studies and Comments from Census Project Stakeholders and Allies on how the American Community Survey is used to their goals and improve their communities.

Evolution of American Community Survey Questions. A description of how the questions on first the long form decennial census and then the American Community Survey have changed and evolved beginning with the first decennial census. By the acclaimed Census historian Margo Anderson.

George Washington University Institute of Public Policy American Community Survey: Uses and Users. A brief description of both the myriad ways in which the American Community Survey is used and the many groups, individuals, and levels of government that use the survey. It includes many links to outside sources and further information about just how vital and useful the ACS is.

Webinar on the Applications of the American Community Survey for Reporters

On April 10, 2012, The Census Project coordinated a 50-minute audio and visual webinar for media covering census issues and data base reporters on how to use the information from the American Community Survey for local/state reporting. This call featured:

  • Terri Ann Lowenthal, former staff director, U.S. House of Representatives Census Subcommittee
  • D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer, Pew Research Center
  • Mary Jo Hoeksema, Public Affairs Specialist, Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers

Members of Congress’ Letter to Committee Chair Opposing Voluntary ACS Bill. A March 13, 2012, letter signed by more than a dozen members of Congress urging Darrell Issa, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to oppose a bill making the ACS voluntary.

House Panel holds hearing on making American Community Survey voluntary. A report on the March 6 hearing by Steve Pierson of the American Statistical Association

Congressional Testimony on ACS. Testimony given on March 6, 2012 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives

Stakeholder Letter Opposing a Voluntary ACS. A March 5, 2012, letter from Census Project stakeholders, urging House census subcommittee leadership to reject a measure that would make the ACS voluntary rather than mandatory.

American Community Survey Program Review Briefing. A brief presentation giving background information on the program review process for the ACS; by the U.S. Census Bureau, March 6, 2012. [.pptx]

Census Bureau Video Shows How Business Uses the American Community Survey. The Target Corporation has 300,000 workers in 49 states. A short video produced by he U.S. Census Bureau, featuring officials of Target, details how the company uses ACS data for marketing its products everyday.

Introduction to the American Community Survey. A detailed background paper on the ACS by the Census Bureau, including information about the ACS’ history, goals, data and uses. Dec. 31, 2011. [.pdf]

Enhancing the American Community Survey: Congress and the ACS. In late September 2011, Mary Jo Hoeksema, director of government affairs at the Population Association of America and a co-director of the Census Project, gave a presentation on the legislative history of the American Community Survey (ACS) and the challenges that lie ahead in Congress in order to assure that the ACS has adequate resources to meet its mission.