How do I know if this data is any good?
First, check out Where does the income data come from?
What the Census Bureau says about the American Community Survey:
- The American Community Survey (ACS) is on the leading edge of survey design, continuous improvement, and data quality
- The nation’s most current, reliable, and accessible data source for local statistics on critical planning topics such as age, children, veterans, commuting, education, income, and employment
- Surveys 3.5 million households and informs over $675 billion of Federal government spending each year
- Visit 20,000 Group Quarter facilities and sample approximately 194,000 residents each year
- Covers 35+ topics, supports over 300 evidence-based Federal government uses, and produces 11 billion estimates each year
The ACS data are estimates collected from a sample of households and not the whole population. To assist in interpreting the reliability of the estimates, a margin of error is included for each estimate. Margins of error (MOEs) allow data users to be certain that at a given level of confidence the estimate and the actual current statistic differ by no more than the value of the MOE. The Census Bureau uses a 90% confidence level as its standard.
Example: How many males under age 5 live in WY?
- Lower bound = 19,089 - 356 = 18,733
- Upper bound = 19,089 + 356 = 19,445
We are 90% confident the true number of males under age 5 in Wyoming falls between 18,733 and 19,445.