NEWS21 December 2021

US Census Bureau updates ACS methodology

Covid-19 News North America Public Sector Trends

US – The US Census Bureau has announced changes to its methodology to help reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the quality of its American Community Survey (ACS) five-year data, ahead of an expected March 2022 release date.

Map of the US

The bureau had previously been expected to release the data in December 2021, but decided to delay its release to reduce the impact of nonresponse bias due to the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying restrictions.

The methodology has been upgraded by comparing characteristics for responding and nonresponding households using administrative, third-party and decennial census data.

The 2020 data will then be integrated with that for the years 2016 through to 2019, to provide a basis for the bureau’s five-year data products.

A further update on the bureau’s progress is expected in early 2022.

A statement from the Census Bureau said: “The Census Bureau recognises the critical importance of the ACS five-year data, in particular, on government and business decision-making and the need for quality ACS data for that purpose.

“Over the next month, the Census Bureau will conduct quality reviews to ensure that this methodology is performing appropriately at all levels of geography and that the resulting data meets our quality standards.”