Adult correctional facilities estimates

Does anyone know how the "adult correctional facilities" in the Group Quarters (table S2602) Populations are gathered? Are inmates themselves responding? Are correctional facilities giving estimates to the ACS on behalf of inmates?

Specifically, I am wondering about the estimates for percentage of those in adult correctional facilities who are currently enrolled in school.

  • Chapter 8 of the ACS Design and Methodology report covers how GQ data are gathered. Some data may be provided by the facility from administrative records, but there is person-level collection.

  • Thank you! I was looking in the wrong place. This doc (mostly) answers my questions.

  • The above document also contains some information about the methods used to keep the GQ address list current. Basically for the decennial census they update the MAF (master address file). The ACS uses an updated version of this list.  Between decennial census years various methods are used to keep the GQ list current. The ACS uses the current MAF.

    On page  3-11 :

    "The final 2010 Census universe of GQs is the BASIS of the ACS GQ frame for 2012 through 2021. ACS also includes GQs that were identified as having no population on Census Day as those GQs may contain people if visited at another time of the year. New GQs from ongoing operations are also included in the ACS GQ frame. The Census Bureau updates the ACS GQ frame and the MAF with results from ACS GQ data collection operations as well as results of state prison research using the individual state Department of Corrections websites. ACS continues to partner with the BoP (Bureau of Prisons ? )  to ensure the most accurate sampling frame for federal prisons."

    The MAF is updated based on ACS visits.  I think that they use an "all sources of information" method to keep the GQ MAF updated between decennial census years.  I may have read somewhere that they use information from local governments to keep the MAF updated.  I haven't found anything about a rigorous procedure to keep the MAF current,  using address lists from the Postal Service, IRS or other government programs/organizations etc.   For example they could use building permits to update the MAF.


  • My experience is that local governments are not queried for updates to the MAF except as part of LUCA program during decennial census prep. I have a memory of a statewide update to GQ addresses in Massachusetts during the 2010s but my recollection my be incorrect.

  • The data for the "adult correctional facilities" population in the Group Quarters (table S2602) of the American Community Survey (ACS) is typically collected through administrative records and not through direct responses from inmates themselves. Inmates generally do not complete ACS surveys themselves; instead, correctional facility authorities provide the relevant data to the Census Bureau. This data includes information about the number of individuals in the facility and basic demographic characteristics. However, it's important to note that detailed statistics, such as the percentage of those in adult correctional facilities currently enrolled in school, might not be readily available from the ACS alone. More specific educational data about inmates may require additional surveys or data sources collected by correctional facilities or educational institutions.