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Using the American Community Survey: Benefits and Challenges
ucts. Both chapters are written to be as user-friendly as possible, although, given the complexity of the ACS, they will be most helpful to two groups: people who expect to use the ACS for repeated, in-depth applications and people who expect to serve as intermediaries helping other users with their applications.
The next three chapters in Part II are addressed to technical users and the Census Bureau. They critically review key features of the ACS design, operations, and data products and offer recommendations for areas of further research and possible modification in the future. Chapter 4 addresses features of the ACS sample design and operations that are particularly relevant to the quality of the data and hence their usability for various applications. Chapter 5 reviews the procedures to weight the 1-year data so that totals agree with the Census Bureau’s population estimates for major demographic groups, as well the Bureau’s housing estimates, in large counties and groups of smaller counties. The chapter also discusses adjustments that are made to the data to account for nonresponse. Chapter 6 reviews the construction, interpretation, and possible alternative methods for producing multiyear period estimates.
Chapter 7 in Part III brings the user and technical strands together: it reviews and makes recommendations for three key areas of continuous research and development for the ACS. The three are (1) education and outreach activities to various user communities to help ease the transition from the census long-form-sample data products to those from the ACS and to ensure a continuous feedback loop between the Census Bureau and data users; (2) priorities for continuous methodological and operational improvement of the ACS; and (3) a vision of the future in which the ACS contributes in new and innovative ways to expanding information on the nation’s people and communities.
The appendixes include a list of abbreviations and acronyms used in the report (Appendix A) and two papers written for the panel by F. Jay Breidt: Appendix B is on population controls and Appendix C is on multiyear period estimates. The report concludes with biographical sketches of panel members and staff in Appendix D.