The Census Bureau released the 2004 American Community Survey data on
Tuesday, August 30th. The Bureau had a kickoff news conference on
"Income, Poverty & Health Insurance Coverage" on Tuesday morning.
ACS data is available on the American Factfinder, at:
Data from the 2004 ACS is available for most geographic areas of
250,000+ population, including: states, counties, places, congressional
districts, CMSAs, PMSAs, MSAs (old metro definitions), county
subdivisions (in 3 states).
The American Factfinder (AFF) appears to be changing on a day-by-day
basis. Yesterday morning we were able to access the 2004 ACS "data
profiles" and the "multi-year profiles." After we returned from lunch,
they were gone. Hopefully the Bureau is working on it and will restore
those "profiles" ASAP. They're extremely important for understanding
significance of change from one year to the next. The "profile" series
is a group of four data highlight reports: demographic, social, economic
The AFF "Ranking Tables" are apparently the same as previous years'
releases. A very nice feature is the ability to click on a row /
geographic area of interest, and see which areas are "not significantly
different" than the area you selected. This can be very useful when
characterizing your community, e.g., the commute time of San Jose
resident workers is very similar to the commute times for residents of
Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, ....
New to the 2004 ACS data, in AFF, are "Subject Tables." This is
apparently a work in progress; only subject tables for the U.S. national
level for income and poverty are available as of 8/31/05, 8:00 AM.
Also new to the 2004 ACS data access in American Factfinder are
"Thematic Maps." Right now these are state-level thematic (choropleth)
maps for about 80 different themes. It look likes they're setting this
up for the eventual production of online maps perhaps for more detailed
geographic areas like counties or metro areas.
The "Detailed Tables" in the 2004 ACS edition of American Factfinder
are greatly expanded from the 2003 ACS and previous years' versions. For
example, Table B08006 provides "sex of workers by means of
transportation to work" These are the DETAILED means of transportation
(including bicycle, carpool level, transit sub-modes"). (The 2003 ACS
table, P047, didn't have the workers by sex breakout, or the detailed
To my pleasant surprise, the 2004 ACS PUMS data (Public Use Microdata
Sample) was available the first day of release. Data is available in CSV
and SAS formats. I'm having some problems with the SAS files, but I'll
work that out with our IT people or the Census Bureau.
So, there's plenty of work & analysis to do, so just get to it!
Chuck Purvis, MTC