[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 43 (Friday, March 6, 2009)]
[Pages 9785-9787]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-4803]



Bureau of the Census

[Docket Number 090130099-9106-01]

American Community Survey 5-Year Data Products

AGENCY: Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


[[Page 9786]]

SUMMARY: The U.S. Census Bureau has released American Community Survey 
(ACS) data products in the form of 1-year estimates for 2005, 2006, and 
2007, and 3-year estimates for the period of 2005-2007. Annual updates 
of these products are planned. Specifically, in 2009 and 2010, the 
Census Bureau will publish 1-year estimates for the 2008 ACS and the 
2009 ACS, and 3-year estimates for the 2006-2008 ACS and 2007-2009 ACS, 
respectively. Beginning in late 2010, the Census Bureau plans to 
introduce 5-year data products covering the period of 2005-2009. The 
Census Bureau is proposing to modify its current line of data products 
to accommodate the 5-year estimates and is requesting comments from 
current and potential users of ACS data products to help guide this 
modification. The release of the 5-year estimates will achieve a goal 
of the ACS to provide small area data similar to the data published 
after Census 2000, based on the long-form sample. Plans for the 
production of an ACS Summary File for race, ethnic origin, ancestry, 
and country of birth, and another for American Indians and Alaska 
Natives, will be described in a future Federal Register notice.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before April 20, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Susan Schechter, Chief, 
American Community Survey Office, Room 3K276, Mail Stop 7500, 
Washington, DC 20233-7500.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Schechter, Chief, American 
Community Survey Office, on (301) 763-8950, by e-mail at 
[email protected], or by mail at Room 3K276, Mail Stop 
7500, Washington, DC 20233-7500.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The ACS is part of the 2010 Decennial Census 
Program and provides annually updated, detailed demographic, 
socioeconomic, and housing information for communities across the 
United States and Puerto Rico. One goal of the ACS is to provide small 
area data similar to the data published after Census 2000, based on the 
long-form sample. This goal will be met with the release of ACS 5-year 
    The Census Bureau is proposing to release 5-year estimates using 
the same set of ACS data products that were produced for the 2005-2007 
ACS 3-year data products: detailed tables, summary files, data 
profiles, narrative profiles, selected population profiles, subject 
tables, geographic comparison tables, thematic maps, and Public Use 
Microdata Sample (PUMS) files. Descriptions of each of these data 
products follow:
    Detailed tables and summary files include the most detailed ACS 
data and crosstabulations of ACS variables.
    Data profiles provide separate fact sheets on social, economic, 
housing, and demographic characteristics.
    Narrative profiles provide clear, concise textual descriptions of 
the data included in the data profiles.
    Subject tables include detailed ACS data, organized by subject such 
as employment, education, and income.
    Selected population profiles provide social, economic, and housing 
characteristics for a large number of groups based on race, ethnicity, 
country of birth, and ancestry.
    Geographic comparison tables allow the comparison of ACS data for a 
given time period across a variety of geographic areas.
    Thematic maps provide graphic displays of the data available from 
the geographic comparison tables, which compare ACS data for different 
areas in a given time period.
    Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files provide access to ACS 
microdata for data users to create summaries that are not available as 
ACS summary products.
    To see the Census Bureau's specific proposal for 5-year data 
products, please visit http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf. This proposal will be effective with 
the first release of 5-year estimates currently planned in 2010 (2005-
2009 ACS) and will continue to be implemented annually. Table 1 of the 
proposal provides a summary of ACS 5-year data products relative to the 
current ACS 1-year data products. There are two 1-year data products 
that are not proposed for the 3-year or 5-year products--ranking tables 
and comparison profiles:
    Ranking tables provide state rankings of estimates across a broad 
set of social, economic, and housing variables.
    Comparison profiles compare ACS estimates for the current year to 
those from previous years for a specific geographic area.
    In general, the 3-year table shells, the layout of a data table 
without the actual data, are the table shells proposed for the 5-year 
tables. To view the existing 3-year data products and table shells, 
please go to the American FactFinder (AFF) Web site. (Users can access 
the AFF from the Census Bureau's home page at http://www.census.gov/ or 
from the AFF link on the ACS data release page at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/index.html to view and download each 
data product.) Table 2 of the proposal, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf, shows all the geographic 
summary levels for which we plan to release 5-year data products as 
well as those summary levels for which we do not plan to release any 5-
year products. As was the case for Census 2000, some specific data 
products will not be produced for certain geographic summary levels. 
Table 2 summarizes, for selected data products, the specific geographic 
summary levels proposed for 5-year ACS tabulations. Table 3 of the 
proposal, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf, summarizes the geographic summary levels proposed 
for the 5-year thematic maps and identifies the nested geographies that 
would be available for each of these geographic summary levels. For 
example, Table 3 shows that thematic maps based on ACS 5-year estimates 
would allow users to compare census tracts within counties. Table 4 of 
the proposal summarizes the same type of information for geographic 
comparison tables. For both thematic maps and geographic comparison 
tables, the same topics would be covered as are currently available in 
the corresponding 1-year and 3-year products.
    The Census Bureau is also proposing to release new data products 
that were not produced for Census 2000. These products are based on 
geography identified in the ``Place of Work'' and ``Residence 1 Year 
Ago'' questions. Table 5 of the proposal identifies the proposed 
geographic summary levels for the 5-year ACS data products based on 
``Place of Work'' and ``Residence 1 Year Ago.''
    As is true for all Census Bureau data products, defined standards 
must be met to ensure the publication of high-quality ACS estimates. 
These standards are based on estimates of survey coverage, survey 
(unit) nonresponse, and item nonresponse. While 1-year and 3-year ACS 
data products must also meet specified statistical reliability 
standards in order to be published, those standards will not be applied 
to the 5-year data products. However, certain limitations on the 
release of 5-year ACS data will be imposed to meet disclosure avoidance 
requirements. Restrictions on the release required for disclosure 
avoidance are detailed in the proposal http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf.
    The Census Bureau seeks input and feedback on ACS data products and 
requests comments via this Federal Register notice on the suite of data

[[Page 9787]]

products for the ACS 5-year estimates. We are especially interested in 
data users' specific feedback on the following four dimensions of these 
    Block Group Level Geography--As detailed in the proposal at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf, some 
geographic summary levels, such as block groups, will receive only a 
subset of the full set of data products. However, the Census Bureau 
acknowledges the value of block group data for users, especially those 
in rural areas, to create their own geographies. The Census Bureau also 
recognizes that the small sample sizes associated with block groups 
means that many of the estimates at the block group level will not be 
reliable. To address these concerns, the Census Bureau is considering 
alternative dissemination options for block group data. Please comment 
on the option of releasing block group data but not releasing data 
products for this summary level with the other data products.
    Types of Data Products--We propose to release 5-year estimates in 
detailed tables, summary files, subject tables, data profiles, 
narrative profiles, selected population profiles, thematic maps, and 
geographic comparison tables. A 5-year PUMS files is also proposed. 
Narrative profiles and selected population profiles are not proposed 
for specific geographic summary levels, such as block groups.
    Restrictions Required for Disclosure Avoidance or Statistical 
Reliability--We propose that restrictions on the release of 5-year 
estimates be based solely on disclosure avoidance requirements. These 
are summarized in the proposal at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/proposal_acs5yearproducts.pdf. As is true for all Census 
Bureau data products, standards defined to ensure the publication of 
high-quality estimates must be met. These standards are based on 
estimates of survey coverage, survey (unit) nonresponse, and item 
nonresponse. The ACS 1-year and 3-year estimates were subjected to 
restrictions based on the reliability of the estimates. The Census 
Bureau does not propose that these restrictions be applied to the 5-
year estimates. Please comment if you believe that the standards used 
to determine which 1- and 3-year estimates are published should also be 
applied to the 5-year estimates. In addition, if such limitations are 
implemented, tell us if you suggest that the full set of estimates be 
made available to users through some other means.
    Periodicity of Data Release--We propose that, as is the case for 1-
year estimates and 3-year estimates, ACS 5-year estimates be released 

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required 
to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure 
to comply with, a collection of information subject to requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), unless that collection of 
information displays a current, valid Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) control number. In accordance with the PRA, 44 United States 
Code, Chapter 35, the OMB approved the ACS under OMB Control Number 
0607-0810. We will furnish report forms to organizations included in 
the survey, and additional copies will be available upon written 
request to the Director, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233-0001.

    Dated: February 26, 2009.
Thomas L. Mesenbourg,
Acting Director, U.S. Census Bureau.
[FR Doc. E9-4803 Filed 3-5-09; 8:45 am]