not developed, and should not be interpreted, as a response to the legislation or an advocacy, one way or the other, for the ACS. Rather, the workshop is intended to document the way the ACS estimates are being used and to construct a portrait of the nonfederal ACS user base. She noted that the steering committee put no limits on what the workshop presenters (or case study contributors) say, and she encouraged the workshop participants to approach the session with the same candor.

The legislative developments that would either kill or impair the ACS—rolling out so closely before a workshop on the ACS—did not materially affect the content or the structure of the workshop, but they undeniably shaped its context and climate. The continued existence of the survey became a high-level “benefit” of the ACS that presenters wanted to address in their presentations. Likewise, the discussion sessions following topic blocks at the workshop that might—in different times—have involved more probing of the challenges or burdens of ACS data in specific applications instead reflected the underlying concerns: What would you do if the ACS had a lower sample size? What, if any, other data sources could you use if the ACS were to go away? And, could individual state agencies or private businesses generate similar data to meet basic needs? Hopefully, a full accounting of the workshop confirms that it did not become an advocacy platform in any direction—both benefits and deficiencies with the data were given ample time—but it also reflected the underlying tension over the basic prospects for the ACS in 2013 and beyond.


This report has been prepared as a factual summary of what occurred at the Workshop on the Benefits (and Burdens) of the American Community Survey. The workshop steering committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. Accordingly, the views contained in this report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the steering committee, or the National Research Council.

This workshop summary largely follows the topic blocks that were used in scheduling the workshop, though some rearrangement has been made when that seemed logical. The most prominent such rearrangement is the chapter describing the workshop’s dedicated panel discussion on various aspects of burden associated with the ACS. The workshop steering committee deliberately scheduled that session for the rough midpoint of the workshop—the morning of the second day—so that it might draw from themes raised from some of the user presentations and infuse discussions of others. However, for purposes of this summary, it makes logical sense to defer the summary of this session to the end, in Chapter 8, so as not to disrupt the flow of the previous chapters. There, it

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