A publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business
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Data Central

American Community Survey

In August, current data became available for many more geographic areas in Indiana and across the nation. The American Community Survey (ACS), touted as the replacement for the decennial census long-form, yielded data for places of 65,000 or more in population size. Information will be released on a flow basis, beginning with basic demographics items such as population, race, age and mobility.

On August 15, the first wave (an appropriate description) of ACS data focused on demographic and social characteristics, and was followed in relatively quick succession by other key economic and housing data (see Table 1).

Table 1: ACS Release Schedule

Table 1

This is exciting, but we must keep in mind that these data are available for areas with a population threshold of 65,000 or more. While we may feel all of our cities and towns and counties have at least that many people (especially when standing in line at the BMV or stuck in traffic), that isn't the case. Only 24 of our counties meet the threshold, along with eight cities, 16 townships, 19 school districts, 20 metropolitan and micropolitan areas, all nine congressional districts, 10 urban areas, and all PUMAs (public use microdata sample areas). Figure 1 shows the areas for which data will be available this year.

Figure 1: Areas Covered in the 2005 American Community Survey

Figure 1a

Figure 1
Click for more detailed, zoomable file

Access will be available through the Census Bureau's American FactFinder website. STATS Indiana will also make these data available, first through USA Counties in Profile and then through customized views of the data.

Caveats include understanding that the ACS is based on a sample of 3 million households nationwide. As with all sample or estimated data, care should be taken when applying these data to specific needs. If you are planning to be a heavy user of ACS, reading up on the many user guides, methodological documents and other resources will be helpful. If not, please don't hesitate to call the State Library Data Center (317-232-3732) or the IBRC (317-274-2979) to get assistance in using this new data set, which is available at www.census.gov/acs.

Small Business Data

So-called non-employer statistics have been released for 2004 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Otherwise identified as self-employed, these are business people paying federal income tax but have no paid employees. These data can provide critical insights into an aspect of business that has received considerable federal and state notice over recent years. For Indiana, the numbers of such businesses is significant—350,962 in 2004. These non-employer firms had revenues of $13 billion, compared to $249 billion for establishments in Indiana with employees.

Keep current with additions to STATS Indiana at www.stats.indiana.edu.