Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board
David V. Bottar, Executive Director  

The American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides data about communities in the United States with data collected from a sample of the Unites States, rather than the whole population. The 2010 Census shows the number of people who live in the United States and the ACS shows how people live in the United States. This data was previously collected in the long form portion of the decennial census, but was discontinued in 2010. The types of data collected in the ACS are:

Basic Demographics Social Characteristics Economic Characteristics Housing Characteristics
Age Ancestry Class of Worker Food Stamps/SNAP
Sex Citizenship Status Employment Status House Heating Fuel
Hispanic or Latino Origin Disability Status Health Insurance Coverage Kitchen Facilities
Race Educational Attainment Income and Earnings Owner Statistics
Relationship Fertility Industry Plumbing Facilities
  Field of Degree Journey to Work Renter Statistics
  Grandparents as Caregivers Occupation Rooms and Bedrooms
  Language Poverty Telephone Service Available
  Marital Status and Marital History Work Status Tenure
  Place of Birth   Units in Structure
  School Enrollment   Value of Home
  Residence 1 Year Ago/Migration   Vehicles Available
  Veterans   Year Householder Moved Into Unit
  Year of Entry   Year Structure Built

The ACS collects and releases data by the calendar year for geographic areas that meet certain population thresholds. ACS 1-, 3-, and 5-year estimates are period estimates, which means they represent the characteristics of the population over a data collection period of 12, 36, or 60 months. The population thresholds for data collection and dissemination are presented in the chart below.

Data collected between: Data pooled to produce: Data published for areas with:
January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 2010 ACS 1-year estimates Populations of 65,000+
January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2010 2008-2010 ACS 3-year estimates Populations of 20,000+
January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2010 2006-2010 ACS 5-year estimates Populations of almost any size

This data can be obtained from the US Census Bureau’s data extraction tool American Fact Finder. When comparing estimates for different areas, use the same period length for each estimate. Estimates from overlapping years should not be compared.

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Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, 100 Clinton Square, Suite 200,  126 North Salina St., Syracuse, NY  13202
phone: (315) 422-8276      fax: (315) 422-9051      mail @ cnyrpdb.org