Sessions at Professional Meetings

Rural Sociological Society, New Orleans, LA (July 30-Aug. 3, 2014)
Session: "Using the American Community Survey for Rural Research." With Census 2010, the American Community Survey (ACS) replaced the census long form as the primary public means for collecting and reporting small area socioeconomic and housing data. With this data shift come new opportunities and challenges for researchers studying more rural areas of the United States. Many are struggling with how to adjust to the new data, its multi-year estimates, margins of error, and its differences from more familiar census data. This organized session addressed issues and opportunities associated with using data from the ACS for researching more rural areas of the United States and provided relevant examples from RSS members using the ACS in their research. The session included one presentation by a representative from the US Census Bureau about using ACS multi-year estimates and about dealing with associated margins of error. Secondly, the session included research presentations by RSS members using ACS data. Finally, the session introduced a new online ACS Data Users Group where data users can network, learn from one another, and share hints and resources.
Speakers: Eddie Castro, U.S. Census Bureau; John Green, University of Mississippi; Joe Francis and Warren Brown, Cornell University; Richelle Winkler, Michigan Tech University.

Population Association of America, Boston, MA (April 30, 2014)
Workshop: "Benefits and Challenges of the American Community Survey." This workshop was sponsored by the Committee on Population Statistics, and co-organized by PRB on behalf of the ACS Data Users Group. The primary objectives of this workshop were to provide an understanding of: the content and different types of estimates available from the ACS; the reliability limitations associated with ACS estimates and options for dealing with these; and the resources available to assist ACS data users, including the new ACS Data Users Group and Online Community. (The workshop was divided into six sections and the slides and recording of each presentation are available from the above link.)
Speakers: Linda A. Jacobsen, PRB; Joseph J. Salvo, New York City Department of Planning; Rachel Franklin, Brown University; Ken Hodges, Nielsen; and Mark Mather, PRB.
Session: "Improving the Reliability of Small Area Estimates from the ACS."While the annual ACS is more timely than the once-a-decade Census, its smaller sample size results in lower levels of reliability for data for small geographic areas such as census tracts. In this session, leading researchers from the Census Bureau shared results from their analyses of improvements in reliability due to recent changes in ACS sample design and operations, and a prominent demographer and a leading geographer described the innovative methods they are using to improve the reliability of ACS data through aggregation.
Moderator: Linda A. Jacobsen, PRB.
Speakers: Steven Hefter, U.S. Census Bureau; Mark Asiala, U.S. Census Bureau; Joseph Salvo, New York City Department of City Planning; Seth Spielman, University of Colorado.
Discussant: Constance F. Citro, Director of the Committee on National Statistics, The National Academies.

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL (April 9, 2014)
Panel Session: "The American Community Survey: Program Developments, New Tools and Applications, and the ACS Data Users Group." This session provided an update on the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) program, highlighting new developments in survey methods, data products, mapping tools, and geospatial applications at the state and local level. An introduction to the features and benefits of joining the new American Community Survey Data Users Group and Online Community was provided along with a discussion of the benefits to the state of Florida and its communities from the ACS, including illustrations of some of the key ways that Florida is utilizing these data for state and local programs and services.
Moderator: Linda A. Jacobsen, PRB.
Speakers: Nancy Torrieri, U.S. Census Bureau; Linda A. Jacobsen, PRB; David W. Wong, George Mason University; Pamela Schenker, Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Legislature.

Southern Demographic Association Annual Conference, Montgomery, AL (Oct. 24, 2013)
Panel Session: "The American Community Survey: New Developments & Innovative Applications." This session provided a brief overview of the purpose, structure, and activities of a new American Community Survey (ACS) Data Users Group from the perspective of both the Census Bureau and those coordinating the group. The ACS Data Users Group online community was showcased via a live demonstration. Two additional panelists described new, innovative applications of ACS data.
Panel: Mark Mather, PRB; James Bulot, Georgia Department of Human Services; and Orlando Torres, Florida State University.

The Association of Public Data Users Annual Conference, Washington DC (Sept. 17, 2013)
Plenary Presentation: "The American Community Survey: New Developments and Innovative Applications." In partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and Sabre Systems created a new American Community Survey (ACS) Data Users Group. This session provided a brief overview of that group's purpose, structure, and activities. The session also reviewed new, innovative applications of ACS data.
Moderator/Speaker: Linda A. Jacobsen, Population Reference Bureau, Speakers: James Treat, U.S. Census Bureau; and Chris Emrich, Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute.
Data User Breakout: "The New ACS Data Users Group and Online Community." The ACS Data Users Group online community was showcased via a live demonstration, along with an overview of other group activities including webinars, conference presentations, and an upcoming data users conference. Group coordinators also provided a brief summary of data user feedback to date and solicited additional input from session attendees. Interested persons learned how they can join and participate in the new ACS Data Users Group.
Moderator: Linda A. Jacobsen, Population Reference Bureau.
Speakers: Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau; Edward Spar, Sabre Systems.