US Census Bureau
Skip top of page navigation

American Community Survey (ACS)

Skip top of page navigation
  Census > ACS Main > About the ACS > Survey Definitions
Available in this Section
About the ACS Main

Congressional Tool Kit

Federal Agency Information Program

Survey Questionnaire
  » Fact Sheets

Survey Definitions

What is the Survey?

Special Surveys - Puerto Rico
  » En Español

Sample Selection

Sample Size

Data Collection

Data Dissemination
  » Release Dates

ACS Operations Plan

Group Quarters

ACS Design and Methodology Paper [PDF 7.4Mb]

Subjects Planned for the 2010 Census and ACS

Questions Planned for the 2010 Census and ACS

ACS and the AIAN Population


Question:  What is the American Community Survey?

The American Community Survey is the proposed replacement for the decennial census long form. The testing of this program began in 1996. It asks essentially the same questions as the long form, but the data collection will be spread throughout the decade, rather than at a single point in time, which provides information on a continuous basis. This gives communities and population groups a dynamic picture of changes throughout the decade. When fully implemented, the American Community Survey will be conducted in every county, American Indian and Alaska Native area, Hawaiian Home Land, and in Puerto Rico, and will have a sample size of approximately 3 million households.

Question:  What are the Supplementary Surveys?

The Census 2000 Supplementary Survey was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of collecting long form-type information at the same time but separately from the decennial census. The supplementary surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 were designed to provide a bridge of information for a permanent American Community Survey, which will replace the decennial long form in future censuses.

The surveys used the American Community Survey questionnaire and methodology to collect demographic, social, economic, and housing data from a sample of 700,000 households nationwide.


[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader This link to a non-federal Web site does not imply endorsement of any particular product, company, or content. available free from Adobe. This symbol Symbol indicating that file is external to this site. indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau  |  American Community Survey Office  |  Page Last Modified: September 15, 2008