American Community Survey (ACS)


In 2010, the Census Bureau changed how they collected decennial census data—The "long form" was replaced with a "short form."

Today, the population and housing data traditionally available through the long form is provided with the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS data includes

  • Population—Such as total population, marital status, language, poverty, migration.
  • School and Work—Such as school enrollment, educational attainment, travel time and means of transportation to work.
  • Households—Such as total households, poverty status, income, home value, rent, vehicles available, mortgage status.
  • Housing—Such as total housing units, number of units in structure, year built.

More Frequent Sampling and Updates

ACS uses a continuous measurement or "rolling" sample, in which a small percent of the population is sampled every month. The ACS is updated and released more frequently than the decennial census—every year instead of every ten years. Smaller sample sizes and variable collection times have introduced a margin of error into their estimates.

ACS Reports

New reports are available for ACS housing and population data. Use these reports to:

  • Study population growth and decline.
  • Analyze annual changes in housing demands.
  • Evaluate school enrollment by age.
  • Track variations in commuting distances.
  • Examine impact of poverty and language isolation.

  Buy ACS Reports  

Esri Unravels the ACS

Read an in-depth analysis of the American Community Survey from Esri's Data Team.