Benefits, Burdens,
and Prospects of

THE American
Community Survey

imageSummary of a Workshop

Daniel L. Cork, Rapporteur

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                      OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Daniel L. Cork, Rapporteur Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The project that is the subject of this report was supported by contract no. YA1323- 11-CN-0033 between the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Academy of Sciences. Support of the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consor- tium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (No. SES-1024012). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-26797-7 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-26797-8 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 334-3096; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2013). Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Daniel L. Cork, rappor- teur. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Na- tional Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON THE BENEFITS (AND BURDENS) OF THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY LINDA GAGE (Co-Chair), Independent Consultant and California Department of Finance (retired) KEN HODGES (Co-Chair), Nielsen, Ithaca, New York LINDA JACOBSEN, Population Reference Bureau PATRICK JANKOWSKI, Greater Houston Partnership JOAN NAYMARK, Independent Consultant and Target Corporation (retired), Minneapolis, Minnesota RICHARD RATHGE, Departments of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and Sociology and Anthropology, North Dakota State University DANIEL L. CORK, Study Director CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Program Officer AGNES GASKIN, Administrative Assistant v

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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2012–2013 LAWRENCE D. BROWN (Chair), Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania JOHN M. ABOWD, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University DAVID CARD, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, and Labor Studies Program, National Bureau of Economic Research ALICIA CARRIQUIRY, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University JAMES S. HOUSE, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan MICHAEL HOUT, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley SALLIE KELLER, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Washington, DC LISA LYNCH, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University SALLY MORTON, Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh EDWARD H. SHORTLIFFE, New York Academy of Medicine, New York City HAL STERN, Department of Statistics, University of California, Irvine JOHN H. THOMPSON, NORC at the University of Chicago ROGER TOURANGEAU, Westat, Rockville, Maryland CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director vi

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures ap- proved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Coun- cil. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the institution in making its report as sound as possible, and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evi- dence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Kathleen Thiede Call, State Health Access Data Assistance Center and Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota; John Iceland, Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University; Dan Kasprzyk, Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University of Chicago; Paul Overberg, Database Editor, USA TODAY ; Richard Rathge, Departments of Agribusiness and Applied Eco- nomics and Sociology and Anthropology, North Dakota State University; and Joanna Turner, State Health Access Data Assistance Center and Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Joseph Salvo, Population Division, New York City Department of City Planning. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that the independent examina- tion of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional proce- dures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the summary rests entirely with the author and the in- stitution. vii

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Contents 1 Introduction 1 1–A The Workshop on the Benefits (and Burdens) of the American Community Survey 5 1–B “The Elephant in the Room”: Legislative Context for the Workshop 7 1–C Report Overview 9 2 Planning Health Care and Transportation Using the ACS 11 2–A Providing Data and Analysis to State Health Care Decision Makers 12 2–B Public Health Surveillance and Adding Value to Other Health Data Resources in New York City 17 2–C Framework for ACS- and Data-Based Health Care Planning 20 2–D Regional Transportation Modeling in Greater San Diego 24 2–E Meeting Language Implementation Requirements in Public Transit in Harris County, Texas 28 2–F Discussion 32 3 Planning Social Services and Responding to Disasters 35 3–A Contrast with the Current Population Survey for Studying Low-Income “Safety Net” Policies 36 3–B Interpreting ACS Results to Inform Social Service Providers 41 3–C Tracking Disaster Impact and Recovery in Post-Katrina New Orleans 47 3–D Framework for Using Data in Disaster Preparation 51 ix

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x CONTENTS 4 ACS and the Media 57 4–A Finding Stories in ACS Data 58 4–B Data-Based Investigation: Impact of Immigration in California 62 4–C Graphics and Presentation of Data to Newspaper and News Website Readers 66 4–D Discussion 71 5 State, Local, Tribal, and Urban/Rural Uses of ACS Data 75 5–A State Government Uses: Highlighting Diversity and Informing Policy in Minnesota 76 5–B Planning Human Services in Rural America 80 5–C Mapping ACS Detail in New York City 85 5–D Studying Demographic and Economic Conditions in the Navajo Nation 92 5–E ACS Views from the Counties, and Discussion 96 6 Business, Economic Development, and Data Aggregator Uses 99 6–A ACS Data for Economic Development and Workforce Planning Projects 100 6–B IPUMS: Compiling and Disseminating ACS Data Products 104 6–C ACS in Business: Marketing Services and Information Management Services 110 6–D ACS in Business: Understanding Teleworking, Wage Inequality, and Housing 113 6–E ACS in Business: Risk Assessment and Insurance 119 6–F ACS from the Construction and Home Building Perspective, and Discussion 122 7 Legal and Social Equity Uses of ACS Data 127 7–A Implementing Voting Rights Acts Language Requirements in Queens, New York City 128 7–B ACS Data in Redistricting Studies and Challenges 133 7–C Studying Disparate Impacts in Housing 136 7–D The Legal and Political Climate of the ACS, and Discussion 140 8 The Burdens of the ACS, and Closing Discussion 145 8–A Maintaining Reliable Information for Policy Assessments 147 8–B Tradeoffs: Using a Federal Survey to Drive State and Local Government Decisions 149 8–C Intrusiveness and Privacy Concerns 152 8–D Identifying (and Reducing) Respondent Burden 155 8–E Respondent Complaints and Congressional Reaction 159

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CONTENTS xi 8–F Discussion 163 8–G Workshop Closing Remarks, and Discussion 164 References 167 Appendixes 171 A Workshop Agenda and Participant List 173 B Biographical Sketches 179

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List of Figures 2-1 Estimated percent of uninsured persons, age 0–64 and at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, in West Virginia, derived from the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey 15 2-2 Simplified outline of transportation modeling process, showing connections to American Community Survey products 26 3-1 Effect of welfare “safety net” provisions on child poverty rate, Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts, 2008 40 3-2 Summary page, Social IMPACT Research Center Illinois Poverty Report, 2011 43 3-3 Excerpt of poverty, income, and health insurance coverage profile, Winnebago County, Illinois, 2010 44 5-1 Calculated Human Services Need Index for U.S. counties, 2009 84 5-2 Lower bound estimate of percentage of housing units with no vehicle, Long Island, New York, by block group, 2006–2010 89 5-3 Upper bound estimate of percentage of housing units with no vehicle, Long Island, New York, by block group, 2006–2010 90 6-1 Ratio of 90th percentile household income to 10th percentile, by state 117 6-2 Percent of people living with parent by age, United States, 2010 118 8-1 Veterans by service-connected disability rating, Georgia, 2008–2010 151 8-2 Veterans by service-connected disability rating, Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, metropolitan areas, 2008–2010 153 xiii

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List of Tables 5-1 Number of Movers to Minnesota with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree by State of Origin (or Abroad), 1995–2000 and 2007–2010 (annual averages) 79 5-2 Percentage of Degreed Workers Living in State of Birth, 2007–2010 80 5-3 Rural/Urban Differences in Human Services Need Index, 2009 85 xiv

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List of Boxes 2-1 Legal Mandates: Fairness and Access to Federally Funded Services 29 2-2 Legal Mandates: Language Implementation for Limited English Proficient Users of Transportation Systems 31 7-1 Legal Mandates: Determination of Areas Requiring Bilingual Voting Materials 129 xv

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