Blog & News
Census Bureau Announces Major Changes to 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) Data ReleaseJuly 30, 2021:
*Update (November 30, 2021): On November 30, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the official release of the 2020 ACS 1-year "experimental" estimates, along with the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) file and a working paper.
On July 29, the U.S. Census Bureau announced during a special webinar that due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the American Community Survey (ACS), the 2020 1-Year estimates will not be released as usual in September, nor will 2020 ACS data be included in related products (e.g., the CPS Health Insurance Report). This change comes as the pandemic resulted in substantially lower response rates and non-response bias that could affect the accuracy of estimates. Instead of the usual data products, the Census Bureau plans to release a set of 2020 ACS “Experimental” 1-year estimates for a more limited set of geographies, scheduled to be available in November 2021.
Resources available from the Census Bureau include:
- Slides from the webinar
- A press release detailing the impacts of COVID on the ACS data
- Revised release schedule and explanation of the experimental estimates
- A short informational guide to understanding how your work may be impacted by the change in the 2020 ACS data
SHADAC will continue to closely monitor future announcements and data releases related to the ACS, and we will assess whether and how any 2020 ACS data products can be used to produce state-level health insurance coverage and related estimates. We will also assess if and which other data sources may be useful for producing the coverage estimates we typically get from the ACS.
September 22, 2021: The Census Bureau has released national estimates of health insurance coverage from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which they recommend for use this year instead of data from the ACS. SHADAC has published two separate blogs using the CPS, with the first post detailing how the CPS will serve as the primary data source for health insurance coverage this year and how it differs from the ACS and the second blog providing an overview of national-level insurance coverage trends and public and private insurance coverage data from the CPS.
October 6, 2021: Using estimates from the CPS, SHADAC researchers have produced a special, 2020-only Health Insurance Coverage measure for all 50 states on State Health Compare.
October 27, 2021: A new analytic report further detailing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 ACS 1-year data has been published by the Census Bureau. The report details several different data category responses that confirm initial concerns of over-representation of more economically advantaged respondents.
November 10, 2021: The Census Bureau announced that, in an effort to preserve data quality in the estimates from the ACS, the 2016-2020 5-year data will now be released in March 2022 rather than as initially planned in December 2021.
November 17, 2021: The Census Bureau confirmed that the 2020 ACS 1-year "experimental" estimates will be released on November 30, 2021, along with the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) file and a working paper. Census will also be hosting a webinar accompanying the release in order to explain and answer questions about the estimates.