Data Dictionary: ACS 2006 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Universe: Workers 16 years and over with earnings
Variable Details
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Means of Transportation to Work
The data on means of transportation to work were derived from answers to Question 25, which was asked of people who indicated in Question 23 that they worked at some time during the reference week. (See "Reference Week.") Means of transportation to work refers to the principal mode of travel or type of conveyance that the worker usually used to get from home to work during the reference week.
People who used different means of transportation on different days of the week were asked to specify the one they used most often, that is, the greatest number of days. People who used more than one means of transportation to get to work each day were asked to report the one used for the longest distance during the work trip. The category, "Car, truck, or van," includes workers using a car (including company cars but excluding taxicabs), a truck of one-ton capacity or less, or a van. The category, "Public transportation," includes workers who used a bus or trolley bus, streetcar or trolley car, subway or elevated, railroad, or ferryboat, even if each mode is not shown separately in the tabulation. "Carro público" is included in the public transportation category in Puerto Rico. The category, "Other means," includes workers who used a mode of travel that is not identified separately within the data distribution. The category, "Other means," may vary from table to table, depending on the amount of detail shown in a particular distribution. The means of transportation data for some areas may show workers using modes of public transportation that are not available in those areas (for example, subway or elevated riders in a metropolitan area where there is no subway or elevated service). This result is largely due to people who worked during the reference week at a location that was different from their usual place of work (such as people away from home on business in an area where subway service was available), and people who used more than one means of transportation each day but whose principal means was unavailable where they lived (for example, residents of nonmetropolitan areas who drove to the fringe of a metropolitan area, and took the commuter railroad most of the distance to work).
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the group quarters (GQ) population is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have means of transportation distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the means of transportation to work distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Question/Concept History
Beginning in 1999, the American Community Survey questions differ from the 1996-1998 questions only in the format of the skip instructions. Beginning in 2004, the category, "Public transportation" was tabulated to exclude workers who used taxicab as their means of transportation.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Worker
This term appears in connection with several subjects: employment status, journey-to-work questions, class of worker, weeks worked in the past 12 months, and number of workers in family in the past 12 months. Its meaning varies and, therefore, should be determined in each case by referring to the definition of the subject in which it appears. When used in the concepts "workers in family" and "full-time, year-round workers," the term "worker" relates to the meaning of work defined for the "work experience" subject.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Earnings
Earnings are defined as the sum of wage or salary income and net income from self-employment. Earnings represent the amount of income received regularly for people 16 years old and over before deductions for personal income taxes, Social Security, bond purchases, union dues, Medicare deductions, etc. An individual with earnings is one who has either wage/salary income or self-employment income, or both. Respondents who "break even" in self-employment income and therefore have zero self-employment earnings also are considered "individuals with earnings."
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Adjusting Income for Inflation
Income components were reported for the 12 months preceding the interview month. Monthly Consumer Price Indices (CPI) factors were used to inflation-adjust these components to a reference calendar year (January through December). For example, a household interviewed in March 2006 reports their income for March 2006 through February 2006. Their income is adjusted to the 2006 reference calendar year by multiplying their reported income by 2006 average annual CPI (January-December 2006) and then dividing by the average CPI for March 2006-February2006.
In order to inflate income amounts from previous years, the dollar values on individual records are inflated to the latest years dollar values by multiplying by a factor equal to the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the current year, divided by the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the earlier/earliest year.
Limitation of the Data
Since answers to income questions are frequently based on memory and not on records, many people tend to forget minor or sporadic sources of income and, therefore, underreport their income. Underreporting tends to be more pronounced for income sources that are not derived from earnings, such as public assistance, interest, dividends, and net rental income.
Extensive computer editing procedures were instituted in the data processing operation to reduce some of these reporting errors and to improve the accuracy of the income data. These procedures corrected various reporting deficiencies and improved the consistency of reported income questions associated with work experience and information on occupation and class of worker. For example, if people reported they were self employed on their own farm, not incorporated, but had reported only wage and salary earnings, the latter amount was shifted to self-employment income. Also, if any respondent reported total income only, the amount was generally assigned to one of the types of income questions according to responses to the work experience and class-of-worker questions. Another type of problem involved non-reporting of income data. Where income information was not reported, procedures were devised to impute appropriate values with either no income or positive or negative dollar amounts for the missing entries. (For more information on imputation, see "Accuracy of the Data.")
In income tabulations for households and families, the lowest income group (for example, less than $10,000) includes units that were classified as having no income in the past 12 months. Many of these were living on income "in kind," savings, or gifts, were newly created families, or were families in which the sole breadwinner had recently died or left the household. However, many of the households and families who reported no income probably had some money income that was not reported in the American Community Survey.
Users should exercise caution when comparing income and earnings estimates for individuals from the 2006, or 2006 ACS to earlier years because of the introduction of group quarters. Household and family income estimates are not affected by the inclusion of group quarters.

Comparability
The income data shown in ACS tabulations are not directly comparable with those that may be obtained from statistical summaries of income tax returns. Income, as defined for federal tax purposes, differs somewhat from the Census Bureau concept. Moreover, the coverage of income tax statistics is different because of the exemptions for people having small amounts of income and the inclusion of net capital gains in tax returns. Furthermore, members of some families file separate returns and others file joint returns; consequently, the tax reporting unit is not consistent with the census household, family, or person units. The earnings data shown in ACS tabulations are not directly comparable with earnings records of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The earnings record data for SSA excludes the earnings of some civilian government employees, some employees of nonprofit organizations, workers covered by the Railroad Retirement Act, and people not covered by the program because of insufficient earnings. Because ACS data are obtained from household questionnaires, they may differ from SSA earnings record data, which are based upon employers reports and the federal income tax returns of self-employed people.
The Commerce Departments Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) publishes annual data on aggregate and per-capita personal income received by the population for states, metropolitan areas, and selected counties. Aggregate income estimates based on the income statistics shown in ACS products usually would be less than those shown in the BEA income series for several reasons. The ACS data are obtained from a household survey, whereas the BEA income series is estimated largely on the basis of data from administrative records of business and governmental sources. Moreover, the definitions of income are different. The BEA income series includes some questions not included in the income data shown in ACS publications, such as income" in kind," income received by nonprofit institutions, the value of services of banks and other financial intermediaries rendered to people without the assessment of specific charges, and Medicare payments. On the other hand, the ACS income data include contributions for support received from people not residing in the same household if the income is received on a regular basis.
In comparing income for the most recent year with income from earlier years, users should note that an increase or decrease in money income does not necessarily represent a comparable change in real income, unless adjusted for inflation.
Question/Concept History
The 1998 ACS questionnaire deleted references to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) because of welfare law reforms.
In 1999, the ACS questions were changed to be consistent with the questions for the Census 2000. The instructions are slightly different to reflect differences in the reference periods. The ACS asks about the past 12 months, and the questions for the decennial census ask about the previous calendar year.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Workplace-based Geography
The characteristics of workers may be shown using either residence-based or workplace-based geography. If you are interested in the number and characteristics of workers living in a specific area, you should use the standard (residence-based) journey-to-work tables. If you are interested in the number and characteristics of workers who work in a specific area, you should use the workplace-based journey-to-work tables. Because place-of-work information for workers cannot always be specified below the place level, the workplace-based tables are presented only for selected geographic areas.
Limitation of the Data
The data on place of work is related to a reference week, that is, the calendar week preceding the date on which the respondents completed their questionnaires or were interviewed. This week is not the same for all respondents because data were collected over a 12-month period. The lack of a uniform reference week means that the place-of-work data reported in the survey will not exactly match the distribution of workplace locations observed or measured during an actual workweek. The place-of-work data are estimates of people 16 years and over who were both employed and at work during the reference week (including people in the Armed Forces). People who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation, or other personal reasons are not included in the place-of-work data. Therefore, the data on place of work understate the total number of jobs or total employment in a geographic area during the reference week. It also should be noted that people who had irregular, casual, or unstructured jobs during the reference week might have erroneously reported themselves as not working. The address where the individual worked most often during the reference week was recorded on the questionnaire. If a worker held two jobs, only data about the primary job (the job where one worked the greatest number of hours during the preceding week) was requested. People who regularly worked in several locations during the reference week were requested to give the address at which they began work each day. For cases in which daily work was not begun at a central place each day, the respondent was asked to provide as much information as possible to describe the area in which he or she worked most during the reference week.
Since both the American Community Survey and the decennial censuses are related to a "reference week" that has some variability, the data do not reflect any single week. Since the American Community Survey data are collected over 12 months, the reference week in American Community Survey has a greater range of variation. (See "Reference Week.")
Question/Concept History
Starting in 1999, the American Community Survey questions differ from the 1996-1998 questions in that the labels on the write-in spaces were modified to provide clarifications. The 2004 American Community Survey marked the first time that workplace-based tables were released as a part of a standard census data product.