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Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Dataset Profile

Dataset: American Community Survey (ACS)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: American Community Survey
Dataset acronym ACS
Summary The ACS is a continuous data collection effort by the U.S. Census Bureau that is used to produce annual estimates at the national, state, and local level on the characteristics of the United States population. In 2005, the ACS began collecting information on an annual basis from approximately 3 million addresses in the United States. Since 2006, the ACS has included a 2.5 percent sample of the population living in group quarters and 36,000 addresses in Puerto Rico. In 2010, pooled years of the ACS replaced the decennial Census long form.
Key Terms Nationally Representative, Institutionalized Population, Census Bureau, Survey, Local Data
Study Design Cross-sectional
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity U.S. Census Bureau
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s) NA
Disability Measures Visual disability, Hearing disability, Ambulatory disability, Cognitive disability, Self-care disability, Independent living disability, veterans service connected disability (and rating)
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Employment, Income, Poverty, Occupation, SSA program participation, Housing characteristics, Transportation (commuting), Health insurance
Sample Population Households, Institutionalized & Non-Institutionalized Group Quarters
Sample Size/Notes Annual Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) contains approximately 3 million person records (since 2005)
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage National, and Puerto Rico
Geographic specificity National and state levels, some larger counties, Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs): 100,000 total population minimum
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Mail survey (self report) combined with non-respondent CATI follow-up and in-person interview follow-up of a sample of non-respondents
Years Collected 2000 - present
Data Collection Frequency Annual
Strengths and limitations
Strengths Current data, includes institutionalized population (2006 onward). Provides annual national, state, and some county level statistics
Limitations Disability questions changed in 2008- complete break from prior years. No specific health conditions. Response error issue in 2000-2002 (Go-outside home and Employment disability). Change in sampling in 2005 results in non-comparable data prior to 2005
Data details
Primary Website
Data Access CENSUS:
ICPSR includes additional value added information for researchers
Data Access Requirements Public Use Dataset
Summary Tables/reports
Dataset components (where applicable) NA
Selected papers
Technical Disability Among the Working Age Population: 2008 and 2009, American Community Survey Briefs
Other Papers

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This Rehabilitation Research Data Directory has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The CLDR is a collaboration between the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI) and is funded through a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH grant # R24HD065702-01). The goal of the Center is to build rehabilitation research capacity by increasing the quantity and quality of rehabilitation outcomes research using large administrative and research datasets. For more information regarding the CLDR including available pilot project funding and its visiting scholar program please visit:

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