I just submitted this topic as a facilitated discussion proposal for the American Planning Association’s 2011 National Conference in Boston. Is this topic interesting or relevant? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Census Data is Dead. Long Live Census Data!
- Are planners using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) estimates to make planning decisions?
- If so, how are planners communicating ACS estimates to their community given the potential data errors and increased data complexity?
Some planners say that having updated Census ACS data every year will be a God sent. Other planners say that the new ACS data are completely unusable given the small sample size, high margins of errors and problems with how the data were recorded. What do you think?
Let’s discuss if and how planners are using ACS estimates. For example, should we be using the 1 year, 3 year or 5 year estimates? How do we represent percentage change over time?
Additionally, major issues have surfaced in how the ACS records income, transportation mode and residency data. Should we take these potential problems into account when we’re using this data to make decisions? If so, how do we communicate these problems to other planners and the community?
And finally, we really, really want to hear from you if you’re using ACS estimates and you’ve found innovative ways to communicate this data that are understandable to people who don’t have a degree in statistics.
This discussion is appropriate for planners who take Census data into consideration when they’re making planning decisions. Participants will learn if other planners are using ACS data and if so, how they are communicating this data with their community and other planning professionals.