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Using the American Community Survey: Benefits and Challenges
Recommendation 6-1: The Census Bureau should conduct research to examine the bias and variance properties of the planned multiyear weighting scheme and compare these properties with those of some alternative schemes.
Recommendation 6-2: The Census Bureau should consult users about the utility of the currently proposed multiyear period estimates—particularly for estimates of totals—for areas that change markedly in population size. It should investigate whether there are other forms of estimates that could be produced and would better serve user needs.
User Education and Outreach
Recommendation 7-3: As an integral part of its education, outreach, and feedback program for the ACS, the Census Bureau should establish a dedicated ACS user staff. That staff should partner with organizations that will assist end users, including the State Data Center network as a key partner and many other organizations and groups. The staff should work with the media to help them understand ACS data so that they can explain and showcase the value of the data to communities in an effective and accurate way.
Recommendation 7-4: The Census Bureau should establish an ongoing advisory group of experienced data users with whom to interact about user education materials, web site design, table content, and other aspects of the data products and education and outreach program for the ACS.
Data Quality Monitoring and Improvement
Recommendation 7-5: The Census Bureau, in collaboration with user education partners, should carry out research on ways to facilitate understanding of the quality measures provided on the ACS web site. The Census Bureau and its partners should also consider what additional quality indicators—for example, some of the indicators presented at a finer level of geographic detail—would be useful to provide for the 2005 ACS and subsequent 1-year period estimates and what indicators to provide for the 3-year and 5-year period ACS estimates when those become available.
Recommendation 7-6: The Census Bureau, in consultation with data users and statistical methodologists, should evaluate its presentation of sampling errors of estimates that are published on the ACS web site