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Analysis Of American Community Survey Northwestern 320 Essay

1342 words - 6 pages

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing nationwide survey about the nation’s population. It collects information on demographic (such as occupations, race, education level), economic, social and housing characteristics (whether the person owns or rents the home). By providing this vital information to the federal government, state and local agencies, community groups, as well as other organizations, ACS has impacts in a wide variety of decision making processes, including fund distribution, community basic service construction, and emergency plannin.
In 1790, the government conducted a national census of the U.S. population for the first time, as authorized by Congress. At the same time, the U.S. Constitution also gave the Congress authority to collect some other information, which would “enable future legislators to adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community”, as stated by James Madison. The national census was conducted every ten years since then. However, in the 1990s, the Census Bureau realized that it needed to have more frequently-updated data than the census. Then based on Leslie Kish’s research about rolling sample design, the Census Bureau proposed to use a continuous measurement as an alternative way of the decennial census. The main goal was still to collect detailed information on different characteristics of the U.S. population, but compared to the census, a continuous measurement can provide current data, save costs, improve census coverage, and have more efficient operation. After several rounds of operational testing, a large-scale demonstration of ACS was undertaken in 2000 in 1,239 counties. Reports showed that ACS was conducted successfully, and it had comparability with the census conducted in 2000. Thus, beginning in 2005, ACS was fully implemented4.
The target population of ACS is the resident population that lives in both housing units and group quarters in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. “Resident” is defined as people who are living at the address for more than two months. Housing units include houses, apartments, trailers, mobile homes, rooms, etc.; group quarters are housings that are owned and managed by organizations or entities, who provide housing and services to their residents. Group quarters are divided into institutional group quarters (such as skilled nursing facilities and psychiatric hospitals) and non-institutional group quarters (such as college housing and military barracks). The basis of the sampling frame of ACS is the Master Address File (MAF), which is the Census Bureau’s official inventory that includes known group quarters and housing units in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Census Bureau applies certain filtering rules to the MAF, such as including new construction units and non-geocoded units, and the resulting list of addresses is the sampling frame of ACS. ACS also required that the respondent is living at the housing unit address for more than two...

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