ACS Data Updated to 2018-2022

collage of photos representing the diversity of Americans

We’re thrilled to unveil the most recent Census American Community Survey updates to bring our users a richer, more detailed view of the American landscape. PolicyMap now provides the 2018-2022 Census American Community Survey (ACS) data through our maps, charts, reports, and download feature. Because the Census data represents a cornerstone of the PolicyMap platform, these updates can be found in every single menu on our maps. The most recent enhancement offers our users an even more comprehensive view of the demographic and economic landscape, with a particular emphasis on housing, language diversity, earnings by educational attainment, and expanded ancestry data.

The Census Bureau’s updates alter numerous indicators and significantly reshape geographic boundaries, including those of neighborhoods, cities, and counties. All of this updated information is vital for making decisions. However, deriving meaningful insights is challenging without expertise on how to compare current and historic data to evaluate changes over time. PolicyMap takes the guesswork out of the analysis so that assessing changing conditions over the past twenty years is simple to do.

These updates are part of PolicyMap’s ongoing commitment to empower users with the data and tools necessary for making informed, impactful decisions. By integrating the latest Census updates, we reinforce our commitment to facilitating data-driven decision-making that promotes a deeper understanding of community dynamics, supports equitable policy development, and drives action toward a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Dig deeper into housing availability, occupancy patterns, and the financial strains on households

Delving into the housing sector, our latest update offers a view of the living conditions and affordability challenges facing many Americans today. With an array of newly added indicators, we now provide a more granular look into the complexities of housing availability, occupancy patterns, and the financial strains on households across various living arrangements. Another notable addition is the median earnings by field of the first bachelor’s degree, segmented by sex. This critical dataset sheds light on the intersection of education, gender, and income, offering users nuanced insights into the economic value of different fields of study.

Explore population diversity through language and ancestry

Furthermore, our update enriches the language diversity data on our platform. Recent survey changes regarding language spoken at home have introduced pivotal adjustments aimed at safeguarding the privacy of speakers of less common languages. Recognizing the importance of both broad accessibility and data sensitivity, PolicyMap has maintained access to comprehensive historical data alongside the incorporation of the new, privacy-conscious tables. This approach ensures that our users have at their fingertips a wide-ranging and deep dataset that supports a diverse spectrum of analyses, from academic research to community planning and beyond.

In addition, this release significantly expands our coverage of ancestry, with a particular focus on communities often underrepresented in demographic data. We’ve enriched our ancestry section to include more detailed information for people of American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and Asian descent.

For a quick insight into community change, users can load a Census indicator from any one of our menus and enter a location in the Location search bar. For example, in the map, below, after loading income data from the Incomes & Spending menu and entering a location (New Brunswick, NJ in this case), an interactive trend chart immediately appears in a bubble after the location is selected, revealing income fluctuations in New Brunswick, NJ over the past twenty years:

For context on the changes that have occurred in this area, users can click the “Trends” icon in the bubble. In the “Trends” sidebar, users can choose to “See Chart” to compare how trends in the location compare to trends in the surrounding areas, allowing for benchmarking. In this example, incomes in New Brunswick, NJ tracked closely to the county (Middlesex, NJ), state (New Jersey), and nation.

UPDATE NEEDED Guidance on Making Comparisons Using Historic Data

For places that experienced substantial boundary changes or were newly incorporated in the past ten years, trends on the map and charts are prohibited due to incomparability to historic data. The bubble signals to the user that a mapped or charted trend isn’t recommended. See the map, below, for an example of Basking Ridge, NJ, which was not historically a Census Place and doesn’t provide a trend chart:

For users wishing to approximate historic information for places like Basking Ridge, the PolicyMap Community Profile provides historic estimates to show trends over time.

The Community Profile is runnable through the “Reports” icon in the bubble, shown below.

In this example, the Community Profile shows population shifts in Basking Ridge, NJ across the past twenty years by approximating historic data from underlying Census tracts. Basking Ridge, NJ has pronounced growth, particularly compared to the more modest increases in the county (Somerset) and state (New Jersey) in which it sits:

Nationwide Data Availability and Source Information

Users can create maps, visualize trend charts, generate Community Profiles, and download Census and ACS data for every neighborhood, city, county, and region across the U.S. Contact us with any questions about the Census ACS update, or refer to our blog for questions about Census 2020 and Census Data Quality.

And stay tuned to PolicyMap’s end-of-June email newsletter for forthcoming content about newly released Census ACS indicators, including new information about access to digital devices (laptops, tablets, etc) by student grade level. Those indicators will be crucial to understanding pandemic-era challenges and intervention needs of schools and school districts across the country. For the most up-to-date information, sign up for our newsletter notifications below and follow us on Twitter.

Request More Information

From understanding changing population dynamics to pinpointing socioeconomic shifts, the ACS update provides a wealth of information crucial for making data-driven decisions. Ready to learn more about the data in PolicyMap? Request a demo and data walk-through by completing the form below.