Frequently Asked Questions

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Doesn't the government already have the information requested on the ACS?

The Census Bureau does use statistics from other government agencies for research and evaluations to improve our surveys and censuses and better understand the information we are collecting.  We also use such information to help develop estimates of the population between census years.  However, we cannot use other agencies’ information in place of actual responses to the American Community Survey (ACS)  for several reasons. 

  • These statistics – called administrative records – do not contain information for everyone.
  • We cannot obtain all of the required information from administrative records. 

  • Information from administrative records may not be usable because of differences in collection periods or definitions. 

  • The ACS was designed to provide up-to-date information for federal and state agencies.  Administrative records usually are not as current as the information that we collect.


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