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Using the American Community Survey: Benefits and Challenges
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the data on rent and utilities, number of bedrooms, plumbing facilities, kitchen facilities, type of heating fuel, and date when the occupant moved into the unit to determine fair market rents for a base year for some metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan counties. American Housing Survey data and telephone surveys are used to estimate base-year fair market rents for the remaining areas. Fair market rents, updated yearly from the shelter component of local consumer price indexes and telephone surveys, are used to administer rental housing subsidies and to analyze housing costs relative to household income.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the data on sex, age, race, Hispanic origin, labor force status, occupation, industry, and class of worker to develop state-level labor force projections, which are used by program planners, policy makers, job training administrators, and career counselors.
The Federal Reserve Board uses the data on race, Hispanic origin, and the year a structure was built for census tracts to report on the record of financial institutions in meeting the credit needs of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Community Reinvestment Act.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses the data on veteran status and other characteristics of veterans for counties and ZIP code areas to assess changes in the veteran population and to allocate resources, such as outreach specialists and employment and training directors.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses the data on farm acreage and sales to distribute agricultural research and extension funds to states.
data are used in two ways in allocation formulas: directly, in that long-form-sample estimates provide one or more factors in a formula, or indirectly, in that the formula relies on estimates for which long-form-sample data are one input to an estimation process that also uses other data sources.2 Whether formulas use long-form-sample estimates directly or indirectly has implications for how proactive the responsible program agency needs to be in deciding how best to use ACS estimates in place of long-form-sample estimates.
3-A.1.a. Use of Long-Form-Sample Estimatesin Fund Allocation Formulas
Most federal allocation formulas that incorporate long-form-sample data use the long-form-sample estimates directly; see Box 3-2 for seven ex-
Allocation formulas that use long-form-sample estimates (or estimates that incorporate long-form-sample data) may also include other factors that are often based on administrative records, such as per pupil expenditures or taxable resources.