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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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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.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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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 consortium 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, rapporteur. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine

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 National 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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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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 approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. 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, evidence, 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 Economics 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 comments 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 examination of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the summary rests entirely with the author and the institution.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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4 ACS and the Media

4–A Finding Stories in ACS Data

4–B Data-Based Investigation: Impact of Immigration in California

4–C Graphics and Presentation of Data to Newspaper and News Website Readers

4–D Discussion

5 State, Local, Tribal, and Urban/Rural Uses of ACS Data

5–A State Government Uses: Highlighting Diversity and Informing Policy in Minnesota

5–B Planning Human Services in Rural America

5–C Mapping ACS Detail in New York City

5–D Studying Demographic and Economic Conditions in the Navajo Nation

5–E ACS Views from the Counties, and Discussion

6 Business, Economic Development, and Data Aggregator Uses

6–A ACS Data for Economic Development and Workforce Planning Projects

6–B IPUMS: Compiling and Disseminating ACS Data Products

6–C ACS in Business: Marketing Services and Information Management Services

6–D ACS in Business: Understanding Teleworking, Wage Inequality, and Housing

6–E ACS in Business: Risk Assessment and Insurance

6–F ACS from the Construction and Home Building Perspective, and Discussion

7 Legal and Social Equity Uses of ACS Data

7–A Implementing Voting Rights Acts Language Requirements in Queens, New York City

7–B ACS Data in Redistricting Studies and Challenges

7–C Studying Disparate Impacts in Housing

7–D The Legal and Political Climate of the ACS, and Discussion

8 The Burdens of the ACS, and Closing Discussion

8–A Maintaining Reliable Information for Policy Assessments

8–B Tradeoffs: Using a Federal Survey to Drive State and Local Government Decisions

8–C Intrusiveness and Privacy Concerns

8–D Identifying (and Reducing) Respondent Burden

8–E Respondent Complaints and Congressional Reaction

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2013. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18259.
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In June 2012, the Committee on National Statistics (sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau) convened a Workshop on the Benefits (and Burdens) of the American Community Survey (ACS)---the detailed demographic and economic survey that began full-scale data collection in 2005 and that replaced the traditional "long form" in the 2010 census. ACS data are used by numerous federal agencies to administer programs, yet the ACS only moved from abstraction to reality for most users in 2010, when the first ACS estimates for small areas (based on 5 years of collected data) were made available. Hence, the workshop marked the opportunity to develop a picture of the breadth of the nonfederal user base of the ACS---among them, the media, policy research and evaluation groups (that distill ACS results for the media and broader public), state and local agencies, businesses and economic development organizations, and local and regional planning authorities---and to gather information on users' experiences with the first full releases of ACS products.

In addition to covering innovative uses of the information now available on a continuous basis in the ACS, the workshop gave expression to the challenges and burdens associated with the survey: the time burden places on respondents, the challenges of explaining and interpreting estimates with increased levels of variability, and the privacy and confidentiality implications of some of the ACS content. Benefits, Burdens, and Prospects of the American Community Survey: Summary of a Workshop provides a factual summary of the workshop proceedings and hints at the contours of the ACS user constituency, providing important input to the ongoing review and refinement of the ACS program.

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