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U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey: Implications for Rural Alaska Nicole Grewe, Ph.D. Division of Community & Regional Affairs Alaska Municipal.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey: Implications for Rural Alaska Nicole Grewe, Ph.D. Division of Community & Regional Affairs Alaska Municipal."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey: Implications for Rural Alaska Nicole Grewe, Ph.D. Division of Community & Regional Affairs Alaska Municipal League Annual Conference November 10 – 14, 2008 Angoon Kotzebue

2 Decennial Census Short Form - Continued Counts population Counts population Decennial Census Long Form - Discontinued Describes population Describes population American Community Survey (ACS) - Implemented Describes population Describes population Reengineering the Decennial Census:

3 Select ACS Characteristics Demographics:SexAgeRaceRelationship Household type Angoon

4 Select ACS Characteristics Social: School enrollment Education Marital Status Veteran status Place of birth CitizenshipLanguageAncestry Gambell

5 Select ACS Characteristics Economic:EmploymentCommuteOccupationIndustry Class of worker IncomeBenefits Poverty status Elfin Cove

6 Select ACS Characteristics Housing:Occupancy Units in structure Number of rooms Housing tenure Vehicles House heating fuel ValueMortgageRent Hoonah

7 ACS Sample The Sample: ACS survey data is collected from every census area and borough in Alaska from independent monthly samples of randomly selected addresses. ACS survey data is collected from every census area and borough in Alaska from independent monthly samples of randomly selected addresses. A Statistics Moment - Sampling Good Survey Data: Sound sampling Sound sampling Quality addresses for full sample distribution Quality addresses for full sample distribution High response rate High response rate

8 2000 Census vs. ACS Sample 2000 Census Sample: 17% US households sampled 17% US households sampled 50% rural AK households sampled 50% rural AK households sampled ACS Sample: 19% - 50% rural AK households sampled 19% - 50% rural AK households sampled Smaller sample size requires rolling averages Smaller sample size requires rolling averages 2000 Census vs. ACS Sample: Moving or “rolling averages” Moving or “rolling averages” Different reporting periods Different reporting periods Different size samples Different size samples Smaller sample size increases sampling error Smaller sample size increases sampling error

9 ACS Challenges Response Rate: Goal: mirror 2000 Census Goal: mirror 2000 Census Places > 65,000 population = 1 year tabulations Places > 65,000 population = 1 year tabulations Places < 65,000 population = 3 or 5 year tabulations Places < 65,000 population = 3 or 5 year tabulations Statewide data requires good response rates from both rural and urban places. Statewide data requires good response rates from both rural and urban places. Survey Instrument: Mail-out/mail-back survey Mail-out/mail-back survey Street address challenges Street address challenges 2005 = “unmailable” + “undeliverable” surveys 2005 = “unmailable” + “undeliverable” surveys Representation Representation

10 Rural Alaska Sample Alaska Rural Place2000 Census Sample ACS Sample < 200 population50% 200 – 799 population50%38% 800 – 1,200 population25%19% Rural Alaska Challenges: Reduced sample size Significant quantity “unmailable” Significant quantity “undeliverable”

11 ACS Rural Data Consequences 1.Rural characteristics underrepresented. 2.Survey removals = smaller sample size and reduced confidence. 3.Marginal sample size may be so severely impacted the data is not released. Kasaan

12 Remote Alaska Exception Classification of Borough/Census Area QuantityIncludes Totally Remote Alaska9 Aleutians E, Aleutians W, Bristol Bay, Denali, Lake and Penn, NW Arctic, SE FAI, Wade Hampton, Yukon Koyukuk Partially Remote Alaska5 Bethel, Dillingham, Nome, North Slope, Valdez-Cordova Totally Non-Remote Alaska13

13 Comparability: ACS and 2000 Census Target Population: ACS = household ACS = household 2000 Census = population 2000 Census = population Time Period ACS = continuous rolling nature ACS = continuous rolling nature 2000 Census = point in time estimate 2000 Census = point in time estimate Reference Time Periods: ACS = 12 months prior, shifting months ACS = 12 months prior, shifting months 2000 Census = April 1, current decennial year 2000 Census = April 1, current decennial year

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15 ACS and Rural Alaska 27 Alaska Census Areas/Boroughs: 81% < 20,000 81% < 20,000 67% < 10,000 67% < 10,000 30% < 5,000 30% < 5, Alaska Cities: 98% < 20,000 98% < 20,000 83% < 1,000 83% < 1,000 26% < % < 200 Unincorporated Alaska Places: 97% < 1,000 97% < 1,000 5-Year Rolling Average: designed for ≤ 20,000 population. Ninilchik

16 Research Consequences More frequent data, but perhaps unreliable data. Characteristic Comparability Challenges - describing the population differently. Longitudinal Challenges – 2000 Census and ACS data often not comparable. Potentially higher margins of errors. Limited Test Data ACS is test for rural AK.

17 Community Development and Consequences Potentially unreliable community demographics. Challenges in tracking demographic community change over time. Consequences for planning process. Consequences for programmatic funding. Be an informed user - critically evaluate.

18 Questions or Comments? Nicole Grewe, Ph.D. Direct: (907) Craig


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