ArcGIS Living Atlas

Updates Coming to American Community Survey Living Atlas Layers (Fall 2019)

Last year, a set of layers were added to Living Atlas that contain over 80 popular tables from the most current data sourced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). On December 19th, 2019, ACS will release the newest data values for their 5-year estimates. Shortly after the Census release, the ACS Living Atlas layers will be updated behind-the-scenes with the same data. What this means is:

What’s Coming

More Layers and Attributes Available

The Living Atlas ACS layers cover a wide range of topics such as housing, income, education, and more. This December, there will be a few new additions to the layers that are available in the Living Atlas:

Highlights Layers

There will also be new “highlight layers” that group attributes from many topics that help us answer many questions with a single layer.

Field Descriptions and Value Types

A few other noteworthy updates will be made to the services:

Within the map:

In the Data tab of the item description page:

Other Enhancements

What’s Changing?

In 2019, the Census has changed the year of naturalization classifications within Table B05011. This means that some of the attributes will have new meaning in the ACS Nativity and Citizenship layers. If you have a map using these, the FAQ for the ACS layers will soon contain more information about updating your maps for this change.

Using the Layers

Find the layers:

Learn where to find these layers and start using them within your mapping and analysis workflows. Check out this story map to learn how.

Get started:

Learn how to make a map about your community in 4 easy steps in this blog. You’ll have your own custom web map in minutes!

Update your existing ACS maps:

Whenever new ACS figures are released by the Census, we encourage you to check the breakpoints being used in your existing web maps that use the Living Atlas ACS layers. After the December release, make sure your existing map breakpoints still make sense with the updated data.


If you have questions about the layers, visit our FAQ site, or post on Esri Community’s Living Atlas space. You can also learn more about the layers in this blog.

About the authors

I am a Senior Product Engineer on the Living Atlas team at Esri. I work to create clear and concise stories about demographic, socioeconomic, and policy topics using cartography. I also build data layers and tutorials to help others create their own map masterpieces.


(she/her/hers) Diana loves working with data. She has over 15 years experience as a practitioner of demography, sociology, economics, policy analysis, and GIS. Diana holds a BA in quantitative economics and an MA in applied demography. She is a senior GIS engineer on ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World's Policy Maps team. Diana enjoys strong coffee and clean datasets, usually simultaneously.

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