eas, particularly small governmental jurisdictions, through reallocation of the sample and through increases in the overall sample size. Cost savings should be sought to support such increases, although increases that could significantly improve the precision of estimates will require additional funding from Congress. Sample reallocation should also be considered to minimize anomalies across areas (for example, jurisdictions with very similar populations that fall into different sampling rate categories).

Recommendation 7-2: The Census Bureau should develop a comprehensive program of user education, outreach, and feedback for the ACS. Two goals of the program should be (1) to educate users in the basics of the ACS, how it differs from the census long-form sample and other data sources, and appropriate methods to use the data; and (2) to develop paths for systematic feedback from users to improve the training materials, identify potential problems with the data, and suggest ways to improve data products and documentation to maximize the utility of the data and facilitate data use.

Recommendation 7-9: The Census Bureau should assign priority to the following topics for research and development: sample size and allocation; the Master Address File (MAF); population controls; residence rules; estimates of change with multiyear averages; comparisons with other surveys and administrative records; and the development of automated tools for data quality review of ACS products.

Recommendation 7-10: As part of its research and development program for the ACS, the Census Bureau should dedicate a portion of resources to pursue innovative, longer term projects. While short-term research and development must focus on the ACS as a replacement for the census long-form sample, research must also address how the ACS can improve the nation’s information on population and housing in ways that were not possible with the long-form sample and may not even be envisioned today.


The panel’s additional recommendations to the Census Bureau address areas for research and development for the ACS, including the sample frame, data collection for housing units, sampling and data collection for group quarters, data products, data quality review, period estimation, and survey operations. These are followed by recommendations that address user education and outreach and data quality monitoring and improvement.

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