In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau will achieve its goal of eliminating the long form sample from the decennial census and will produce its first set of five-year data products from the full sample American Community Survey (ACS). This paper provides an overview of the call for change that prompted the Census Bureau to pursue the development of a new approach to collecting socioeconomic and housing data. The paper details the evolution of the ACS from its earliest origins to its current design and describes that design in detail. The current design has benefited from external debate and consultation. Work such as that described later in this journal exemplifies the key role that external users and advisors have played, and will continue to play, in the evolution of the ACS. Over the past 10 years, the Census Bureau has undertaken research and testing to demonstrate operational feasibility and to assess survey quality. Research has also compared ACS and Census 2000 data. ACS staff are involved in survey improvement efforts and continue to confront survey challenges. In the next few years the ACS will give priority to developing user tools to aid all users in the correct interpretation of multi-year estimates. The ultimate validation of the ACS is, however, in the hands of users. Continued input from the people who are responsible for administering and evaluating programs, identifying local needs, and planning for the future will allow the ACS to grow in value and utility.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2006
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