Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2005 American Communities Survey

It's likely you've read about the 2005 American Communities Survey, which was released last week. The new "data products include estimates of demographic, social, and economic characteristics of people, households and housing units (both occupied and vacant) for every state in the Nation, Puerto Rico, and most areas with a population of 65,000 or more." The 2004 ACS was limited to places with 250,000 or more.

In the Capital District, it's already created controversy, with the Albany mayor indicating that there is an undercount, and Colonie officials elated with their town's growth. This article, which talks a bit about the survey process, may be helpful. Surveys are sent to households, and if there is new construction in a geography which the Census Bureau doesn't know about - usually because the geographic entity has failed to provide information to the Census Bureau - then this could lead to the appearance of an undercount.

The ACS is still a fairly new tool that data users and governmental officials are still getting used to. If you access it, please note the very large caveat that it does NOT include numbers for group quarters: dorms, prisons, nursing homes, and the like.

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