Presentation on theme: "Presentation by Phil Sparks, Co-Director The Census Project www.thecensusproject.org www.thecensusproject.org National Association of Planning Councils."— Presentation transcript:
Presentation by Phil Sparks, Co-Director The Census Project www.thecensusproject.org www.thecensusproject.org National Association of Planning Councils April 15, 2015
Background American Community Survey (ACS) is part of the constitutionally required decennial census. In 1995 federal policymakers converted the ACS to an annual survey. The ACS samples 3.5 million households a year.
The Data The ACS produces annual data on: Education Housing Occupation Disability status Commuting patterns Income and poverty Ethnicity Veterans Other vital social and economic characteristics
ACS Data Dissemination ACS estimates for populations of geographic areas of 65,000 or more released annually (all states) Every-five-years estimates for populations of geographic areas of less than 20,000 (all counties and school districts) ** Due to budget cuts, three-year estimates of populations of geographic areas of between 20,000 and 64,999 were eliminated (large counties and school districts)
Uses of the ACS Prime use is for so-called “formulaic” federal aid to states and local government -- $400 billion annually Helps determine aid for: Schools/public education Housing Transportation Roads Veterans’ benefits Children’s programs, etc.
Uses of the ACS (cont.) Enforcement of the Civil Rights Act Business uses the ACS data to: pinpoint customers identify qualified workers invest in new facilities site plants and shops
Political Situation In 2012 and again in 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make participation in the ACS voluntary rather than mandatory. These actions were blocked by the Senate. According to the Census Bureau and other estimates, a voluntary ACS would drop participation rates by 20-30%. Outcome: Counties of less than 20,000 population would be “blacked out” from data.
Political Situation (cont.) In 2012 the U.S. House of Representatives also voted to eliminate the ACS entirely. This action was blocked by the Senate. Again, this year, the House is expected to vote to make participation in the ACS voluntary. Congress may also vote to cut the ACS’s annual budget (or to not appropriate funds to increase sample size to account for population increases). Annual ACS budget: $240 million/year