Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the American Community Survey (ACS)?

The ACS is a legitimate survey that is part of the Decennial Census Program.  It is a survey sent to a small percentage of our population on a rotating basis.  The ACS collects detailed information on the characteristics of our population and housing.  These data were previously collected only in census years in conjunction with the decennial census.  Since the ACS is conducted every year, rather than once every ten years, it provides more current estimates throughout the decade. 

Estimates from the ACS contribute to providing an important picture of America, and an accurate response to the ACS questionnaire is important.  When used in conjunction with the most recently available decennial census counts, information from the ACS documents how we live as a nation, including our education, housing, jobs, and many other issues. 

Questions in the ACS are required to manage or evaluate federal and state government programs. For example, information on income is required for use by the Social Security Act, the National School Lunch Program, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and the U.S. Department of Education for grant allocation. Journey-to-work information is used by federal, state, and local transportation planning agencies in designing regional transportation systems. Information on language spoken at home is used under the Voting Rights Act to assess the fairness of voting practices in governmental subdivisions.


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