A Summary of the Meeting of May 30-June 1, 2001. Census 2000 and the American Community Survey


The speaker began by comparing and contrasting the Census 2000 and the American Community Survey. While the main purpose of Census 2000 is to count the population every 10 years, the main purpose of the American Community Survey is to provide yearly updated information on the characteristics of the population in small geographic areas and also, for relatively small population groups in larger geographic regions. The questions on the American Community Survey provide indicators that are similar to those of the Census 2000 long form (described below).

The Census 2000 short form asks seven questions (figure 11 of handout) of every person and housing unit in the U.S. about age, race, Hispanic origin, gender, household relationship, and housing tenure (owner or rented). Field staff determine characteristics of vacant housing units. Additional questions are asked in the long form of a sample of every person in 1 in 6 housing units and of 1 in 6 people living in group quarters (a national average). Population statistics are provided on a range of topics (see figures 4-13 of handout) including marital status, place of birth/citizenship, disability, ancestry, migration, language spoken at home and ability to speak English, school enrollment and educational attainment, grandparents as caregivers, place of work and journey to work, occupation, industry and class of worker, work status in the week before the census or the last year in which the person worked, and income in 1999. Housing statistics based on the long form include number of rooms and bedrooms, plumbing and kitchen facilities, the age and value of the housing unit, and questions to indicate housing affordability including the cost and type of utilities, mortgage/rent paid, and taxes and insurance. Results are available for geographic levels, including the Block (short form information only), Block Group, Census Tract, County, Metropolitan area, state, and national levels.

Ms. Taeuber provided handouts that described options for comparing racial categories from the 1990 and 2000 censuses (see slides 13-15, 18-21) and detailed Census 2000 products that are available currently or in the near future (slides 16-17, 22-37). Information about the products, documentation, and the product release schedule are found on the Census Bureau's website: www.census.gov.

Selected helpful sites for Census 2000: