Public Health Data Inventory

American Community Survey


The American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau is an ongoing statistical survey that samples about 3 percent of the population every year -- giving communities the information they need to plan investments and services. The information the census bureau collects helps determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding is spent each year on infrastructure and services. The annual ACS replaced the sample portion of the decennial census (the “long form”) in order to obtain more current (annual) socio-economic and detailed housing data rather than having to wait 10 years between data releases.

Type of Data

The data are sampled for ongoing surveillance. Updates are received annually.

Data Collection Method and Availability

Information is collected by American Census Survey questionnaire. The data are collected annually but data distribution is based on population size of the corresponding area. Geographies containing 65,000 people or more receive annual data, areas with 20,000 to 65,000 receive data based upon aggregating the latest 3 years of surveys into one set of figures, and all areas including those with less than 20,000 people receive data based upon aggregating the latest 5 years of surveys.

Questionnaires are mailed to households and most responses are obtained by return of the mailed questionnaire. The census bureau also conducts phone interviews with non-respondents who can be reached and then does interviews at the household with a subsample of one-third of all non-respondents. This extensive effort of non-response follow up improves the accuracy of ACS figures versus other sources that do not have the means for such rigorous contact of non-respondents.

Related Links and Reports

American Community Survey Data

American Community Survey Home Page

Nebraska State Data Center

Data Contact

Center for Public Affairs Research
University of Nebraska at Omaha
6001 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE 68182
Phone: (402) 554-2132


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