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National Healthcare Quality & National Healthcare Disparities Reports: Data Sources Appendix, 2013

Data Sources Used for 2013 Reports—U.S. Census Bureau

American Community Survey (ACS)


U.S. Census Bureau.


ACS is a nationwide survey collecting and producing population and housing information every year. It has become the largest household survey in the United States, with an annual sample size of about 3 million addresses. Every year, ACS can support the release of single-year estimates for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more.

ACS uses three modes of data collection from households:

  • Mail: self-enumeration through mail-out/mail-back.
  • Telephone: computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI).
  • Personal visits: computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI).

Survey Sample Design

ACS shifted from a demonstration program with a different sample design and sample size to the full sample size and design in 2005. ACS uses a series of monthly samples to produce annually updated data. Each month, ACS staff select a systematic sample of addresses from the most current Master Address File. The sample represents the entire United States.

A larger proportion of addresses are sampled for small governmental units (American Indian reservations, counties, and towns). The monthly sample size is designed to approximate the sampling ratio of Census 2000, including the oversampling of small governmental units.

Primary Survey Content

ACS is a new approach to producing critical information about the characteristics of local communities. It publishes social, housing, and economic characteristics for demographic groups covering a broad spectrum of geographic areas in the United States and Puerto Rico.

  • Social Characteristics: School enrollment, educational attainment, marital status, fertility, grandparents caring for children, veteran status, disability status, residence 1 year ago, place of birth, U.S. citizenship status, year of entry, world region of birth of foreign-born people, language spoken at home, relationship, households by type, and ancestry.
  • Economic Characteristics: Employment status, commute to work, occupation, industry, class of worker, income and benefits, and poverty status.
  • Housing Characteristics: Housing occupancy, units in structure, year structure built, number of rooms, number of bedrooms, housing tenure, year householder moved into unit, vehicles available, house heating fuel, utility costs, occupants per room, housing value, mortgage status and costs, and gross rent.

Demographic Characteristics

Sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin.

Population Targeted

Total population living in the entire United States at the time of the interview.

Demographic Data

Gender, age, race/ethnicity, income, and geographic location.

Years Collected

Since 2005.



Geographic Estimates

National, State, and local levels.

Contact Information

Agency home page:

Data system home page:


U.S. Census Bureau. Design and methodology: American Community Survey. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 2006. Available at:

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Page last reviewed August 2014
Page originally created August 2014
Internet Citation: National Healthcare Quality & National Healthcare Disparities Reports: Data Sources Appendix, 2013. Content last reviewed August 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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