Friday, September 23, 2011

Census Bureau Releases 2010 ACS Single Year Estimates

Topics Include Commuting, Education, Income, Health Insurance and More

The U.S. Census Bureau released findings from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS), the most relied-on source for up-to-date socioeconomic information every year. The release covers more than 40 topics, such as educational attainment, income, health insurance coverage, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

The estimates are available in detailed tables for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more. See the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder database to find statistics for your area. Selected high-level highlights can be found here [PDF].
One illustration of the extent of information available on one
of the major topics covered is the commute to work. According to the data, average travel time for workers 16 and older inched up from 25.1 minutes in 2009 to 25.3 minutes in 2010. The percentage who drove to work alone increased from 76.1 percent in 2009 to 76.6 percent in 2010. Conversely, the percentage who carpooled declined from 10.0 percent to 9.7 percent and the percentage taking public transportation slipped from 5.0 percent to 4.9 percent. Another 4.3 percent worked at home and 2.8 percent walked to work. About 1.7 percent commuted to work in other ways, including commuting by bicycle (731,286), motorcycle (266,777) and taxicab (151,247).
Average travel time to work was highest in Maryland (31.8 minutes), followed by New York (31.3 minutes). North Dakota and South Dakota had the shortest travel times, at 16.1 minutes and 16.8 minutes, respectively. Not coincidentally, Maryland also had the second-highest percentage of workers with jobs outside their county of residence (47.0 percent), behind only Virginia (51.3 percent). New Jersey (45.7 percent) and Georgia (41.6 percent) followed Maryland.

Detailed Report on Commuting

Also released was Commuting in the United States: 2009[PDF], a report that provides additional layers of analysis about commuting patterns for the nation and metro areas. Based on the 2009 ACS, the analysis gives a historical perspective of the nation’s commuting patterns. It also looks at how our commutes differ based on how we get to work, when we leave for work and how long it takes us. It further analyzes commutes based on a host of demographic characteristics, including race and Hispanic origin, occupation, gender, place of birth and other variables.
According to the report:
The recent rise in mean travel time to work is nothing new. In 1980, the first time the Census collected such information, average travel time was just under 22 minutes, then increased to about 25 minutes in 2000, where it remained in 2009.
In 2009, workers who carpooled took longer to get to work than those who drove alone; the difference was largest for those who departed in the midnight to 4:59 a.m. period, where average travel time for carpool commuters was 45.1 minutes, compared with 30.8 minutes for workers who drove alone.
Those who worked in production, transportation and material moving occupations were more likely to depart for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. than any other occupational category (10.5 percent). At 1.9 percent, those in managerial, professional and related occupations had the lowest percentage of departures during this time period.
Mean travel time to work varied by nativity status: 28.1 minutes for foreign-born workers compared with 24.9 minutes for those who were native-born. Hispanic workers had the longest mean travel time when carpooling (29.0 minutes) and the shortest time for public transportation usage (46.0 minutes).
American Community Survey Brief Series
In addition, the Census Bureau released today a set of four separate briefs based on the 2010 ACS. These short reports supplement detailed tables with additional analysis on four key topics. These include:
Health insurance coverage
Employment ratios
Household income
Foreign-born from Latin America and the Caribbean
More than a dozen additional briefs will be released in monthly waves through the end of the year.
More about the American Community Survey (ACS)
As a complete count of the population, the 2010 Census results are critical for people who need to know how many people live in the United States and where they live. The ACS statistics, on the other hand, are based on a sample survey of the nation conducted over the course of the 2010 calendar year and describe how we live by providing estimates of key social, economic and housing characteristics.
In October, the Census Bureau will release a set of ACS statistics covering all areas with populations of 20,000 or more, based on data collected between 2008 and 2010. A third set of ACS statistics, available for all geographic areas regardless of population size, down to the block group level, will be released in December; these estimates will cover 2006-2010.
As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go here.
Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See this for more information on changes affecting the 2010 statistics. See this for guidance on comparing 2010 ACS statistics with previous years and the 2000 Census.
Special Note
The Census Bureau released all of the 2010 ACS 1-year estimates on Thursday, September 22. Due to a technical issue, a limited number of products for smaller geographic areas are not available through American FactFinder at this time. However, all Detailed Tables are accessible in the ACS Summary File, through the Census Bureau’s FTP site.
Working with the ACS Summary File requires computer expertise. Technical documentation is available here [PDF]. Data users who are not able to access the Summary File can contact the American Community Survey Office (301-763-1405,

No comments: