The American Community Survey (ACS) is a new approach, designed to collect timely information needed for critical government functions. It is an ongoing survey that the Census Bureau plans to use to replace the long form in the 2010 Census. Toward the end of each 10-year Census cycle, long-form information becomes out of date. ACS allows community leaders and other data users to have access to more timely information for planning and evaluating public programs than is available from the decennial Census.
The ACS will provide estimates of demographic, housing, social, and economic characteristics every year for all states, cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and population groups of 65,000 people or more. For smaller areas, it will take three to five years to produce data. For rural areas and city neighborhoods, or for population groups of less than 20,000, it will take five years to accumulate a sample similar to that of the decennial Census. These averages can be updated every year, so that eventually, it will be possible to measure changes over time for small areas and population groups.
This provides a search feature of the Census Bureau’s web site that helps users locate data quickly and easily from the 1997 Economic Census, the ACS, the 1990 Census, the Census 2000 Dress Rehearsal, and Census 2000. Access to thematic maps and reference maps that include roads and boundary information is available via FactFinder.