Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

Census - American Community Survey and Selected Other Current Population Surveys

American Community Survey (ACS) (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

ACS is a new Bureau of the Census program designed to provide updates to data collected during the decennial census. The sample size for areas of at least 65,000 population will be large enough to provide reliable data annually. Areas with population between 20,000 and 64,999 will be updated annually based upon 3 year moving averages. That is, sample sizes will be too small to provide reliable data annually. A moving average measures characteristics of place over a time period. A 3 year moving average would measure characteristics between 2005 and 2007, the following year's data considers 2006-2008,… Areas with populations smaller than 20,000 people will be updated annually based upon 5 year moving averages. That is, the initial data consider conditions between 2005-2009, the following annual set covers 2006-2010,… This is a huge difference from the decennial census that measures characteristics at a point in time, April 1st of the census year.

Access data at the ACS home page or at American FactFinder .

Current Population Survey (CPS) (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

The Bureau of the Census conducts the monthly Current Population Survey for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the main source of data about labor force characteristics. Links connect to publications; related surveys; methodological documentation; and data current through February 2002. Access more recent and historical labor force statistics through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at .

CPS measures other demographic characteristics as well. These include education; foreign born population; geographic mobility; hispanic origin; income and earnings; race; poverty; and regional, state, and area trends. Most statistics deal cover the nation and multi-state regions.

Create customized CPS tables at

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Provides health related statistics about the U.S. population collected by the Department of Health and Human Services in a wide range of surveys. An overview of NCHS "Publications and Information Products" is at . The Bureau of the Census does not collect and publish health statistics.

Population and Housing Unit Estimates (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Division)

Provides annual estimates of the resident population and demographic change (births, deaths, and migration) for the nation, states, counties, and sub-county areas. Additional data for the nation, states, and counties cover age, sex, race, and hispanic origin. See the Federal State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates ( ) for additional information.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) (U.S. Census Bureau. Demographics Survey Division. Survey of Income and Program Participation Branch)

SIPP is a longudinal survey that measures income and labor force data; participation and eligibility in social welfare programs, such as food stamps; and demographic characteristics for evaluating the effectiveness of federal, state, and local programs. Longitudinal studies follow the same group of people over a given period, thus, enabling researchers to address:

  • Factors affecting changes in household and family structure, and living arrangements.
  • Relationships among changes in households/families and income distribution, eligibility for programs, and economic status.
  • Causes of turnover in government programs.

Website features include links to data files and publications; a tutorial; a users guide; and technical documentation.

Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, Small Area Estimates Branch)
Calculates health insurance coverage for states and counties by age.

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

Provides annual poverty measures in states, counties, and school districts. Links lead to data, publications, documentation, and related Web sites. See also the Bureau of the Census Poverty home page at .

U.S. Population Projections (U.S. Census Bureau. Population Division. Population Projections Branch)

Applies statistics from the population estimates program, and migration, birth, and death data to project population for the nation and states. See the following for additional projections:

  • Complete Economic and Demographic Data Source (CEDDS) (Woods and Pool Economics, Inc.)
    Lockwood Reference HC101 .C616 2004
    Provides historical overviews and 25 year projections for population; age; race; hispanic origin; employment and earnings by industry; household and per capita income; and retail sales. Data cover the nation, states, metropolitan areas, and counties.
  • PAD (Program on Applied Demographics) (Cornell University. College of Human Ecology)
    View New York State county and school district population, projections, and trends by age and sex.