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Census Bureau Updates. SDC Affiliates Fall Meetings Salem, Oregon Seattle, Washington September 16 & 19, 2014. Releases / Updates. American Community Survey 2020 Decennial Census Data tools and apps. American Community Survey. Fall 2014 Releases.

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census bureau updates

Census Bureau Updates

SDC Affiliates Fall Meetings

Salem, Oregon

Seattle, Washington

September 16 & 19, 2014

releases updates
Releases / Updates
  • American Community Survey
  • 2020 Decennial Census
  • Data tools and apps

The American Community Survey is the only source of local statistics for most of the 40 topics it covers - - such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs - - for even the smallest communities.

questionnaire topics american community survey acs
Questionnaire TopicsAmerican Community Survey (ACS)

Items in red were also collected on the 2010 Census

information gathering
Information Gathering
  • Field Representative Survey: May 2014
    • 1,063 responses from six Regional Offices and three Contact Centers (representing 96.6% response rate from 1,125 interviewers in sample)
    • 6 questions concerning perceived intrusiveness, burden, sensitivity for each item on the questionnaire
    • 3 most “problematic” ACS questions based on preliminary score and number of mentions
      • Income – wages
      • Type of Internet access
      • Property value
information gathering1
Information Gathering
  • Data user feedback form: June-July
    • Received 932 responses, representing 3,405 total mentions of high-value or frequently-used questions
    • Most important or most frequently used ACS questions
      • How did this person usually get to work last week? (457)
      • What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed? (283)
      • What was this person's total income during the past 12 months? (247)
information gathering2
Information Gathering
  • Advisory Committee Input: May-July
  • Working Group
    • Kickoff held with Census Bureau May 8
    • Met to review questions for value/burden to stakeholder communities and to document example uses
    • Developed a report of their recommendations
    • Presented results to NAC Committee August 6
  • Findings
    • Perceived intrusiveness and burden considered
    • Nearly all questions found to be of benefit to small population groups and small geographic areas
information gathering3
Information Gathering
  • Federal agencies input: April-July
    • Participation from 23 agencies representing over 300 uses
    • Majority of agencies reporting same number or more uses over the OMB 2012 process
    • Commerce OGC has made a strong commitment to this project and is heavily engaged in legal reviews of all the input to provide the legal opinion on the statutory basis for cited uses
  • Analytic approach is determined
  • Methodology documentation is underway
    • Decision memo on business rules – 1st Draft (June)
    • Decision memo on selection criteria – 1st Draft (July)
    • Full methodological description with appendices for each data input stream – 1st Draft (July)
  • To mitigate potential bias, criteria pre-specified prior to review of data inputs
next steps
Next Steps
  • Develop recommendations from analysis: August
  • Report out findings: August - December
  • Federal Register notice (60 day comment period): October - December
  • Vet responses received through Federal Register notice: December
  • Make decisions that inform the OMB package: December – January
  • Submit OMB package: Early Spring 2015
current acs challenges

Current ACS Challenges

IssueCongressional Discussion


Intrusiveness Defund or Eliminate Survey


Mandatory Voluntary

Penalties Reduce or Eliminate Survey

issue mandatory vs voluntary

Issue: Mandatory vs. Voluntary

Respondent participation mandatory (current)

Most respond on their own (59% self-response rate)

Phone & field interviews boost overall response rate (97.4%)

Impact of voluntary

Testing found survey costs would increase by at least $90 million annually

Reduced quality due to (1) declines in participation and (2) number of completed interviews (rather than increase in survey errors)

Inability to release estimates for small geographies and small population subgroups

what are we collecting

What are we collecting?

Examples of how the ACS data are used

Subjects and geographic areas

Type of data user

Data product used

why is it important to collect

Why is it important to collect?

Based on the challenges,communicate better the importance and utility of the ACS data to: (1) the public, (2) congressional leaders, (3) local / state / federal agencies, and (4) businesses, among others

Get a better understanding of the ways ACS data are used

Information can feed into the content review process

Information may impact our data products plan

Outreach messaging can be targeted for groups with similar data needs/uses

how w ill information b e u sed

How Will Information Be Used?

May request testimonials to support and validate the ACS

For educational or promotional purposes

Organizations may be asked to do a video on how they use ACS data

Information requested by executives and Congress will be readily available

survey improvements sample reallocation
Survey ImprovementsSample Reallocation
  • Objective: improve the reliability of the estimates for small areas (under 20,000 population)
    • Increased sampling rates for small tracts and governmental units
    • Slightly decreased sampling rates in larger tracts
  • Begun in January 2011
    • First result: 2011-2015 ACS 5-year estimates, to be released December 2016
survey improvements acs sample expansion
Survey ImprovementsACS Sample Expansion
  • Sample expanded from 2.9 million to 3.54 million addresses per year
  • Sample increase began for
    • Mailout in June 2011
    • CATI in July 2011
    • CAPI in August 2011
survey improvements expected results
Survey ImprovementsExpected Results
  • Five Year Coefficients of Variation (CVs) for typical tracts, by size where red > yellow > green
survey improvements internet response option
Survey ImprovementsInternet Response Option
  • Ongoing digital transformation
    • 61st U.S. Census Bureau survey with Internet response option
      • Households in sample receive letter with login instructions to secure website
      • Participants have the ability to review responses
      • Assistance available to respondents
    • Advantages
      • More convenient for respondents
      • More cost-effective
    • Secure and confidential

Available beginning 2013


the context
The Context

Rising costs of 2010 Census largely driven by three factors:

Declining self-response rates requiring the hiring of a large field staff

Paper-based and labor-intensive methods requiring a large field infrastructure

Substantial investments in major, national updating of the address frame just prior to the enumeration (2009)

Census Cost per Housing Unit (2010$)

(Projected cost for 2020 assumes no change in design and past patterns of cost growth; also includes the costs for American Community Survey)

  • The strategic outcome is to develop a design which strikes a balance between delivering the highest quality census while reducing costs and managing risks.
  • The 2020 Census has four strategic goals:
    • An accurate and complete census
    • Embraced and valued results
    • An efficient census
    • A well-managed census
2014 census test where when is test being conducted
2014 Census TestWhere/When Is Test Being Conducted?
  • Approximately 190,000 housing units
    • Part of Montgomery County, MD
    • Part of Washington, DC
  • Temporary field office in Silver Spring, MD
  • End of June through September
    • “Census Day” (reference date) was July 1, 2014
2014 census test overall goals
2014 Census TestOverall Goals
  • Making decennial headcount quick, easy, and safe for all to participate
  • Provide substantial taxpayer savings while maintaining commitment to high quality and accuracy
    • Smart use of technology
    • Use of existing government data sources (administrative records)
2014 census test why these locations
2014 Census TestWhy These Locations?
  • Sites meet criteria for highly developed (urban) areas near less developed areas
  • Size of sites provides efficient and cost effective ways to test workloads
  • Sites’ proximity to Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, MD allows for easy, cost-effective observation
2014 census test why these locations1
2014 Census TestWhy These Locations?
  • Subset* of non-responding households in these two test sites will receive in-person visits to test alternative field data collection procedures
  • *In areas chosen based on demographic factors that include the following . . .
2014 census test why these locations2
2014 Census TestWhy These Locations?
  • Vacancy rates
  • Household size
  • 2010 Census response rates
  • Mix of residences owned or rented, and single- or multi-unit
  • Age of householders in area
  • Householder race and ethnicity
  • Availability of administrative records
2014 census test what is the census bureau testing
2014 Census TestWhat is the Census Bureau Testing?
  • Strategies to encourage householders to respond via mail, Internet, and other options (“self-response”)
  • Strategies to target in-person interviews to more efficiently follow-up with households that do not self-respond (“nonresponse follow-up” or “NRFU”)
2014 census test what is the scope of the test
2014 Census TestWhat Is the Scope of the Test?
  • Internet self-response mode and contact strategies for Internet preregistration
  • E-mail and automated voice invitations
  • Mobile devices used by field staff to enumerate non-responding households
  • Alternative NRFU contact strategies
  • Use of administrative records to identify cases to remove from nonresponse workload
  • Use of adaptive design methodologies to manage field enumerator work assignments
2014 census test what s on the questionnaire
2014 Census TestWhat’s on the Questionnaire?
  • Wording changes from 2010 Census
    • Testing changes on race and Hispanic origin questions, combining race and ethnicity into one question
    • Testing new response categories for opposite sex and same-sex husband/wife/spouse and unmarried partner relationships, both on the Internet and on paper data collection questionnaires
2014 census test will there be other tests
2014 Census TestWill There Be Other Tests?
  • Additional testing activities planned for 2015 and subsequent years
    • Plans still under development
    • Will likely be conducted in different geographic areas across the United States
2014 census test important terms
2014 Census TestImportant Terms
  • Self-response
    • Where households complete and return their census questionnaire in a timely manner (includes Internet response) – require no in-person follow-up visit
  • Administrative records
    • Collected by government agencies to run or administer a program (IRS, for example)
2014 census test will results be released
2014 Census TestWill Results Be Released?
  • Test is designed to measure how well a variety of new technologies and census-taking methods work
    • Not designed to obtain a complete and accurate count
    • Official population counts will not be released
  • Test will support the critical research on potential methods for the 2020 Census
census homepage census gov quickfacts
Census Homepage: census.govQuickFacts


Population threshold: 5,000

Geographies: State, county, place

Topics: Current demographic, business, & geography facts, and links to historic data (through “Browse data sets”)

census explorer
Census Explorer

Census Explorer (thematic maps)

Sources: 2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2011 County Business Patterns, Census 2000, & 1990 Census

Geographies: U.S., state, county, census tract

Topics: Variety of demographic (currently 11) and economic (currently 6) variables

easy stats
Easy Stats

Easy Stats

Geographies: State, county, place

Topics: Financial, jobs, housing, people, education-- all variables are crossed with race and ethnicity

assistance with aff
Assistance with AFF
  • Click Help(AFF mainpage, top right)
    • Online User Guide
    • Virtual Tour
    • Community Facts
    • Guided Search
    • Advanced Search
    • Download Options
    • Using Data
    • Tables
    • Maps
    • Narrative Profiles
    • Tutorials
    • Glossary
aff community facts
AFF Community Facts

Each of the 10 filter bars

presents a single variable for the selected geography, as

well as links to additional

tables for the same topic and

the same geographic area

recommended for novice data users aff guided search
Recommended for Novice Data UsersAFF Guided Search

User answers prompts, then clicks “Next” or a numbered arrow to proceed -- arrows 1 through 4 may be selected in any order

aff advanced search
AFF Advanced Search

Filter bars facilitate searches. Object is to select filters, such as Topics, to refine search. All filters will appear in the Your Selections box to be applied to the final table selection.

product type table format
Product Type= Table Format

See page 8 of the Quick Reference Guide for full descriptions of product types

census programs on aff
Census Programs on AFF

Alphabetical listing of all programs loaded on American FactFinder

datasets on aff
Datasets on AFF

Latest release is at the top of the list


Workshop Information


Data Questions

Linda Clark

Data Dissemination Specialist

Pacific Northwest & Alaska

U.S. Census Bureau

Los Angeles Region


Mobile: 206-446-8794

Los Angeles Regional Office

818-267-1725 or

888-806-6389 (toll-free )