Census Delays Release of 2020 American Community Survey Data

Due to the challenges faced by data collectors during the pandemic, the Census Bureau will not be releasing 2020 ACS data in September as usual.

September 27, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

2020 Census

U.S. Census Bureau / U.S. Census Bureau

Each September, the U.S. Census Bureau releases the results of its annual American Community Survey (ACS). But, Mark Mather writes, due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Bureau has decided to forgo the standard data release and instead "release experimental estimates for a limited set of tables and geographic areas" in November.

"There were early warning signs that this was coming. In a presentation at our recent 2021 ACS Data Users Conference, Mark Asiala, an assistant division chief in charge of ACS statistical design, reported that between April and September 2020, the Census Bureau was forced to suspend many of its data collection operations, including in-person visits to homes that didn’t return survey questionnaires. He said the Census Bureau conducted one-third fewer interviews for the 2020 ACS, compared with the 2019 ACS."

The 2020 responses also experienced a significant level of "non-response bias," with respondents having "higher average incomes, education levels, and homeownership rates" on average than those who did not respond.

The lack of data deals a major blow to demographers who hoped to answer some essential questions about what happened to the U.S. population during the pandemic. "For states, metropolitan areas, congressional districts, and many large counties and cities, the 2020 ACS 1-year data could have provided our first comprehensive portrait of how American life changed during the pandemic."

"The good news is that 2021 ACS data should be released next year as planned. Because ACS data collection is ongoing, we will eventually be able to compare population and housing characteristics before, during, and after the pandemic."

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 in PRB

Soldier Field

Phase 1 Revealed for $20 Billion Chicago Megaproject

Plans for One Central, a proposed megadevelopment that would add 22.3 million square feet of buildings to the city of Chicago, are taking shape.

October 19, 2021 - Chicago Tribune

A screengrab of the Caharlotte Future virtual open house.

Top Websites for Urban Planning – 2021

Planetizen's annual list of the best of the urban planning Internet.

October 25, 2021 - James Brasuell

An aerial image of the neighborhood of Buckman in Portland, Oregon.

Homeowner Groups Find an Antidote to Zoning Reforms: National Register Historic Districts

Many neighborhoods are moving to create historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places in response to the growing number of states, cities, and neighborhoods loosening single-family residential zones.

October 22, 2021 - Sightline Institute

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.