2020 ACS 1-Year Experimental Estimates

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau is changing the 2020 ACS release schedule. Instead of providing the standard 1-year data products, the Census Bureau will release a series of experimental estimates from the 1-year data no later than November 30th. This will include a limited number of data tables for the nation, states, and District of Columbia. 

Census Bureau staff have posted several resources to help data users prepare for this change on an Experimental Data web page. These resources include new a new list of table IDs, titles, and shells for the 2020 ACS 1-year Experimental Estimates.

We are starting this new discussion thread/topic in the Online Community so that ACS data users can post comments or questions about the 2020 ACS 1-year Experimental Estimates.

Parents Reply
  • Can someone familiar with both ACS and BRFSS provide some insight? Both surveys appear to have similar data collection processes. However, BRFSS released its 2020 data. Did BRFSS experience the same challenges as ACS in 2020? If yes, how did BRFSS resolve the issues that caused ACS to withhold the regular 2020 data and to issue experimental data instead? If no, what might explain the different decisions these two surveys made with regard to the release of the 2020 data? Thanks.

  • OMG they aren't NEARLY NOR REMOTELY similar. BRFSS has always been a phone survey, so the impact of COVID was close to none -- if anything, response rates crept up a little bit for the late spring / summer of 2020 when people stayed home and were bored to death and would rather talk to the government interviewer than to nobody. ACS was hit VERY hard as it lost the ability to follow up in person for about half of the year from March to September, and with self-completion rates about 70% (off the top of my head), and lower for hard to reach / hard to convince to respond populations (ethnic, racial, language minorities; rural populations). I am sure there are pockets where the annualized response rates were as low as 40%.