Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2009 (5-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Workers 16 years and over with earnings
Variable Details
B08121. Median Earnings In The Past 12 Months (In 2009 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Means Of Transportation To Work
Universe: Workers 16 years and over with earnings
B08121006 Median earnings in the past 12 months -- Taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle, or other means
Percent base:
None - percentages not computed
Aggregation method:
Median, using bracket table: B08119, interpolation method: Pareto
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Median Earnings
The median divides the earnings distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median and one-half above the median. Median earnings is restricted to individuals 16 years old and over with earnings and is computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Derived Measures".) Median earnings figures are calculated using linear interpolation. (For more information on medians and interpolation, see "Derived Measures".)

Means of Transportation to Work
The data on means of transportation to work were derived from answers to Question 31, which was asked of people who indicated in Question 29 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).

Private Vehicle Occupancy
The data on private vehicle occupancy were derived from answers to Question 32. This question was asked of people who indicated in Question 29 that they worked at some time during the reference week and who reported in Question 31 that their means of transportation to work was "Car, truck, or van". Data were tabulated for workers 16 years old and over, that is, members of the Armed Forces and civilians who were at work during the reference week. (See "Reference Week".) Private vehicle occupancy refers to the number of people who usually rode to work in the vehicle during the reference week. The category, "Drove alone", includes people who usually drove alone to work as well as people who were driven to work by someone who then drove back home or to a non-work destination. The category, "Carpooled," includes workers who reported that two or more people usually rode to work in the vehicle during the reference week.

Workers Per Car, Truck, or Van
"Workers per car, truck, or van" is a ratio obtained by dividing the aggregate number of workers who reported using a car, truck, or van to get to work by the number of such vehicles that they used. "Workers per car, truck, or van" is rounded to the nearest hundredth. This measure also may be known as "Workers per private vehicle."

Aggregate Number of Vehicles (Car, Truck, or Van) Used in Commuting
The aggregate number of vehicles used in commuting is derived by counting each person who drove alone as occupying one vehicle, each person who reported being in a two-person carpool as occupying one-half of a vehicle, each person who reported being in a three-person carpool as occupying one-third of a vehicle, and so on, then summing all the vehicles. This aggregate is used in the calculation for workers per car, truck, or van.

Time Leaving Home to Go to Work
The data on time leaving home to go to work were derived from answers to Question 33. This question was asked of people who indicated in Question 29 that they worked at some time during the reference week, and who reported in Question 31 that they worked outside their home. The departure time refers to the time of day that the respondent usually left home to go to work during the reference week. (See "Reference Week".)

Travel Time to Work
The data on travel time to work were derived from answers to Question 34. This question was asked of people who indicated in Question 29 that they worked at some time during the reference week, and who reported in Question 31 that they worked outside their home. Travel time to work refers to the total number of minutes that it usually took the worker to get from home to work during the reference week. The elapsed time includes time spent waiting for public transportation, picking up passengers in carpools, and time spent in other activities related to getting to work. (See "Reference Week".)

Aggregate Travel Time to Work (in Minutes)
Aggregate travel time to work is calculated by adding all of the travel times (in minutes) for workers who did not work at home. Aggregate travel times of workers having specific characteristics also are computed. The aggregate travel time is subject to rounding, which means that all cells in a matrix are rounded to the nearest 5 minutes. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures".)

Mean Travel Time to Work (in Minutes)
Mean travel time to work (in minutes) is the average travel time that workers usually took to get from home to work (one way) during the reference week. This measure is obtained by dividing the total number of minutes taken to get from home to work (the aggregate travel time) by the number of workers 16 years old and over who did not work at home. The travel time includes time spent waiting for public transportation, picking up passengers and carpools, and time spent in other activities related to getting to work. Mean travel times of workers having specific characteristics also are computed. For example, the mean travel time of workers traveling 45 or more minutes to work is computed by dividing the aggregate travel time of workers whose travel times were 45 or more minutes by the number of workers whose travel times were 45 or more minutes. The aggregate travel time to work used to calculate mean travel time to work is rounded. (For more information, see Aggregate Travel Time to Work (in Minutes).) Mean travel time is rounded to the nearest tenth of a minute. (For more information on means, see "Derived Measures".)

Time Arriving at Work from Home
The data on time arriving at work from home were derived from answers to Question 33 ("Time Leaving Home to Go to Work") and from answers to Question 34 (Travel Time to Work). These questions were asked of people who indicated in Question 29 that they worked at some time during the reference week, and who reported in Question 31 that they worked outside their home. The arrival time is calculated by adding the travel time to work to the reported time leaving home to go to work. These data are presented with other characteristics of workers at their workplace. (See "Time Leaving Home to Go to Work" and "Travel Time to Work.")

The responses to the place of work and journey to work questions provide basic knowledge about commuting patterns and the characteristics of commuter travel. The communting data are essential for planning highway improvement and developing public transportation sevices, as well as for designing programs to ease traffic problems during peak periods, conserve energy, reduce pollution, and estimate and project the demand for alternative-fueled vehicles. These data are required to develop standards for reducing work-related vehicle trips and increasing passenger occupancy during peak period of travel. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) plans to use county-level data in computing gross commuting flows to develop place-of-residence earning estimates from place-of-work estimates by industry. In addition, BEA also plans to use these data for state personal income estimates for determining federal fund allocations.

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 and format of the skip instructions were modified to provide clarifications. Beginning in 2004, the category, "Public transportation" for means of transportation was tabulated to exclude workers who used taxicab as their means of transportation. The 2004 American Community Survey marked the first time that workplace-based tables were released as a part of a standard census data product.

Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the group quarters (GQ) population is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have place of work distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the place of work distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
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.

Comparability
This data source is comparable to the decennial censuses for all journey to work variables. 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".) For more detailed information regarding the difference of place of work and journey to work in the ACS and Census 2000, see Estimates about Journey to Work from the 2005 ACS, C2SS, and Census 2000 on the ACS website (www.census.gov/acs) See the 2009 Code List for Place of Work Code List.