December 10, 2020

Census Bureau: New American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates Released

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new 5-year statistics. For the first time, data from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS) will allow users to compare three nonoverlapping sets of 5-year data: 2005-2009, 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. The ability to analyze separate datasets is important for identifying trends for small communities and geographies which is critical for planning future investments and services.

“This release marks an important milestone for the ACS program, which has provided communities with detailed information about people, places and the economy for the last 15 years,” said Donna Daily, Chief, American Community Survey Office. “Having three sets of nonoverlapping data allows researchers and leaders across the country to analyze long-term trends, creating a powerful image of communities across the nation.”

The ACS is the nation’s leading source of large and small area socioeconomic and demographic statistics for all levels of geography for every community in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. ACS data provides public officials, community leaders, business owners, researchers and others with detailed information helping them to plan for the future. Below are highlights from this release on the topics of education, homeownership, income and poverty. 





Data Visualization Tools and Publications

The interactive data visualization, What can you learn about counties from the American Community Survey? allows users to explore key statistics about the nation’s counties. Interactive maps on incomepoverty and education are also available, which allow users to explore trends and analyze patterns by race and ethnicity at the county level over the nonoverlapping 5-year ACS releases.

In addition to the new visualizations, the briefs Household Income by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2005-2009 and 2015-2019 and Changes in Poverty Rates and Poverty Areas Over Time: 2005 to 2019 explore changes in income and poverty over the 15-year period. “Homeownership in the United States: 2005 to 2019” and “Bachelor’s Degree Attainment in the United States: 2005 to 2019” will be released in the near future.

About the ACS

The ACS is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation, allowing for more frequent data on America’s communities than the decennial census. It has an annual sample size of about 3.5 million addresses across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and includes both housing units and group quarters.

Beginning in 2006, ACS 1-year estimates have been released annually for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 and greater. Beginning in 2010, ACS 5-year estimates have been released annually for all geographies down to the block-group level. ACS 1-year and 5-year estimates are period estimates that represent data collected within particular intervals of time — 12 months and 60 months, respectively. These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households in the survey.

Because it is a survey based on a sample of the population rather than a census of the entire population, the ACS produces estimates with sampling error. To aid data users, the Census Bureau calculates and publishes a measure of the sampling error ­­— the margin of error — for every estimate.

The 2015-2019 ACS 5-year estimates are available on, the Census Bureau’s primary data dissemination platform. For more information on how to use, visit the resources page. For guidance on comparing 2015-2019 ACS statistics with previous years and other surveys, visit For information on the ACS, visit

This post was originally published here.