AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a general household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that includes data on income, poverty, disability, marital status, education, occupation, travel to work, and disability, health insurance coverage, among other topics. An important feature of the ACS is that it includes a large enough sample for state-level and sub-state estimates including estimates of insurance coverage. The ASC has asked about health insurance coverage since 2008, inquiring about coverage for each person in the household separately. Respondents can indicate more than one type of coverage.
Learn more about the detailed codes and definitions for variables, statistical testing, and an explanation of sample design, methodology, and accuracy for the American Community Survey on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.
The ACS health insurance estimates are available through summary tabulations, downloads of microdata, and restricted-use files.
Restricted Use Files
ACS Summary Tabulations
SHADAC's State Health Compare provides summary tabulations of ACS estimates from 2008 to present for select measures. State Health Compare is a user-friendly tool for obtaining state-level estimates related to health and healthcare.
Microdata are available using the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) or the full file. The PUMS, which are available directly through the Census Bureau or from a few third party data access sites, include a sample of the full ACS (about 67% of records). SHADAC recommends accessing public use microdata from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS).
The full ACS file is a restricted-use file available only at a Census Research Data Center (RDC). 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 an RDC (MNRDC) and SHADAC will work with state health policy analysts who are interested in using this facility. Feel free to contact SHADAC to discuss your MNRDC needs.
Comprehensive documentation on the ACS is available at the Census Bureau's ACS web page. SHADAC has a variety of new resources related to the measurement of health insurance coverage in particular.
- SHADAC’s Annual Data Release Products
- 2019 ACS Tables State & County Uninsured Rates, with Comparison Year 2018
- An Annual Conversation with the U.S. Census Bureau – 2019 Health insurance coverage data Webinar
- Comparing Federal Government Surveys that Count the Uninsured: 2020
- New Subsidized Marketplace Data and Other Data Tables Now Available from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS)
- 2019 ACS: Rising National Uninsured Rate Echoed Across 19 States; Virginia Only State to See Decrease (Infographics)
- 2019 ACS: Insurance Coverage Overall Fell Nationwide and among the States, with Private and Public Coverage Declines Seen at the State Level
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