American Community Survey
What is the American Community Survey?
The American Community Survey is a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau in every county, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Homeland in the country. This survey provides communities with important economic, social, demographic, and housing information. Data from the American Community Survey helps federal, state and local governments make informed decisions about the future. This survey has been conducted since 1996.
Am I required to participate? Is the information I give confidential?
Yes your response to the survey is required by law. Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141, 193, and 221 protects any information you provide during the survey. Information collected during the Federal Census is also protected under the same law. Not even the President, police, FBI or any law enforcement agency can see your information.
How is the data used?
The data from the American Community Survey is used to manage various state and federal government programs such as distribution of funds for community development.
The answers to your questions in the “journey to work” section are a good way to understand how this information is used. The US Department of Transportation uses this information for improvements to roads, develop public transportation services and to design programs that help ease traffic problems.
How was I selected to participate?
You do not have to answer this survey every year. A small sample of addresses are chosen to participate in the survey each year. An address may only be selected for the sample once every five years. The addresses selected are selected at random and represent other addresses in the community, so it is important that you respond. Addresses are first sent a letter informing them they will receive a survey, then the actual survey, followed by a replacement survey.
What happens if I don’t respond?
If you do not return the initial survey or the replacement survey, you may be contacted by phone, most likely in the evening or on a weekend. If the attempts to call you fail you may receive a visit from a US Census Bureau Field Representative.
I received a visit from a field representative, and I’m not sure about their credentials.
A field representative should be able to present proper credentials to identify themselves with the US Census Bureau. They should also be able to provide you with a number to contact if you have questions. If you suspect this field representative is not legitimate, you may contact your Census Bureau Regional Office.
Can I see data from the American Community Survey?
Yes you can! Demographical information about your community can be found at factfinder.census.gov.