Using the Census to Learn About Your Community: A Guide to the American Community Survey

Back • Publication Date: September 17th, 2009

Authors: Joachim Hero, M.P.H.

Downloads: Download #1

The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) is designed to allow communities nationwide to track changes in their population and housing environment with up-to-date data. It produces demographic, economic, social, and housing changes statistics every year for cities and towns with population of over 20,000, and will soon produce data for towns that are even smaller. Understanding how to use ACS data can provide invaluable insights into your community, as well as information on how your city or town compares with others.

This guide is intended to familiarize users with community-level data accessible through the ACS, to provide step-by-step examples of how to use the Census Bureau Web site to retrieve summary statistics about a town in Connecticut, and to provide enough statistical background to help in using and interpreting the ACS and other sample-based surveys effectively and correctly.