SHADAC Expertise

ACS Estimates

The ACS health insurance estimates are available through summary tabulations, downloads of microdata, and restricted-use files.  This page describes summary tabulations, which are estimates available through published tables.

Advantages of summary tabulations:

  • Usually available more promptly than microdata.
  • No analytic software required.
  • Table packages are usually repeated from year to year, making them easy to find and use.
Disadvantages of summary tabulations:
  • Little/no flexibility to develop an answer to your research question.  Your research may require analyzing microdata, for which we have information on our Access Microdata page.

ACS tabulations are available using the public use microdata sample (PUMS) or the full file.  

  • The PUMS is a subset of the full file and a single-year file represents about 1% of the U.S. population.  It is the only public use microdata for the ACS.  In 2008 the PUMS had nearly 3 million individual records and 1.2 million household records.
  • The full file is a restricted-use file available only at a Census Research Data Center (RDC).  In 2008 the full file had 4.4 million individual records and 1.8 million household records.  Users must submit an application to use an RDC and, once approved, travel to the RDC to conduct the research.  The University of Minnesota now houses and RDC (MNRDC) and SHADAC will work with state health policy analysts who are interested in using this facility.  More information on using the MNRDC is available at this link, and you are welcome to contact SHADAC to discuss your needs.

ACS summary tabulations are available at:

  • SHADAC's State Health Compare.  These tables are based on the PUMS and include estimates from 2008 to present (years for which the health insurance question is available).  The Data Center is an easy-to-use online table generator that allows users to select age and poverty filters, then choose from a set of policy-relevant tables of health insurance coverage estimates.
  • American Factfinder (AFF).  These tables are based on the full file and include all topics available in the ACS.