The American Community Survey in our Data Tools
Originally posted on 5/17/2022, Updated January 2023 to reflect changes to this dataset.
Headwaters Economics continuously updates all of its data tools with the latest demographic and economic data available. The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) appears in many of our data tools and is the leading source of socioeconomic statistics for every level of geography in the nation.
Our tools currently use the latest ACS data released in December 2022.
About the American Community Survey
Unlike the decennial census that counts every person every 10 years, the ACS is an ongoing survey sent monthly to a sample of households. The survey collects information about topics that aren’t included in the census, such as educational attainment, housing, language, commuting distance, and employment. The Census Bureau then uses the surveys to estimate average characteristics over a five-year period. The ACS is the most comprehensive resource for understanding socioeconomic characteristics in the nation.
The latest ACS data comprise statistics from 2017 to 2021. They were released by the Census Bureau in December of 2022 and added to Headwaters Economics’ tools in January of 2023 .
“Our team is determined to be the first to roll out American Community Survey updates throughout our free data tools. This year we accomplished the full suite of updates in only one month.”Patty Hernandez
Headwaters Economics Executive Director
ACS Accuracy in 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data collection in 2020 was disrupted and response rates to the survey were substantially lower than in previous years. As a result, the Census Bureau revised its methodology to reduce nonresponse bias, and accuracy for some measures declined. Margins of error are reported in all of Headwaters Economics’ reports.
Find ACS Data in Our Tools
Economic Profile System
The Economic Profile System displays ACS data for any U.S. community, county, or state in the Quick Facts section. You can also find ACS data in several downloadable reports, including the Demographics, Populations at Risk, Wildfire Risk, Living Near Public Lands, and Tourism reports.
Neighborhoods at Risk
Neighborhoods at Risk displays ACS data by census tract along with information about climate vulnerability.
Our tools designed specifically for federal land management agencies also use ACS data. These include tools for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Wildfire Risk to Communities
Wildfire Risk to Communities displays ACS data for every U.S. community, tribal area, county, and state on the Vulnerable Populations tab. This tool also includes interactive maps and charts about wildfire risk and resources to help communities reduce wildfire risk.
Note: Wildfire Risk to Communities does not show the latest ACS data. ACS data will be updated in Wildfire Risk to Communities in late 2023 to coincide with wildfire risk data updates.
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