Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs, and Opportunities

 

External link: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21653/realizing-the-potential-of-the-american-community-survey-challenges-tradeoffs

Publication date: December 1, 2015

Capsule summary: This report identifies areas of improvement for the American Community Survey (ACS), including methods for surveying small geographic areas and efficiently meeting new data needs.

Author(s): National Research Council

Publisher(s): National Academy of Sciences


Definition: Data analysis techniques for transportation planning
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Definition: A public agency that operates and maintains passenger transportation services
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Definition: A federally funded transportation policy-making organization, comprised of local government representatives and transportation authorities
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Definition: Governmental agency focused on transportation
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Definition: A large urban area
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Description: The continued status of the American Community Survey as a valuable tool nationwide relies on its continued improvement. This report documents the proceedings of a panel convened to discuss potential changes to the survey. Themes covered include sample design and precision of estimates, data collection methods, data processing and analysis, data dissemination, and management of the ACS content.

Objectives: The objective of this research was to improve the practices of the American Community Survey to better serve data users, as the survey serves as a critical resource for stakeholders across the nation. The National Research Council convened a panel to discuss areas of improvement for the survey, and provide formal data user feedback to the Census Bureau.

Findings: The panel identified three guiding principles for improving the ACS, which serve to promote further discussion and direct improvement efforts to areas of need while maintaining the fundamental nature of the survey. The three guiding principles include focus on the strengths of the survey and its purpose, evaluation of data user needs and how effectively the survey serves its purpose, and an understanding that the survey design will face limitations as well as tradeoffs between survey objectives.

Recommendations: The panel offered recommendations for improvements across various aspects of the ACS, and will continue to evaluate the ACS in coming meetings. The ACS should be continuously improved in order to maintain its value to data users, and direct user feedback can inform the improvement process to ensure that the survey meets current data needs.

Research Theme: Innovative Data Analysis

Community Type:

Transportation Mode:

Planning Scope:

Organization Type: City, DOT, MPO or RPO, Transit

Planning Subject: