Data Dictionary: ACS 2010 -- 2012 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B27016. Health Insurance Coverage Status And Type By Ratio Of Income To Poverty Level In The Past 12 Months By Age [199]
Universe: Universe: Civilian noninstitutionalized population for whom poverty status is determined
Table Details
B27016. Health Insurance Coverage Status And Type By Ratio Of Income To Poverty Level In The Past 12 Months By Age
Universe: Universe: Civilian noninstitutionalized population for whom poverty status is determined
Variable Label
B27016001
B27016002
B27016003
B27016004
B27016005
B27016006
B27016007
B27016008
B27016009
B27016010
B27016011
B27016012
B27016013
B27016014
B27016015
B27016016
B27016017
B27016018
B27016019
B27016020
B27016021
B27016022
B27016023
B27016024
B27016025
B27016026
B27016027
B27016028
B27016029
B27016030
B27016031
B27016032
B27016033
B27016034
B27016035
B27016036
B27016037
B27016038
B27016039
B27016040
B27016041
B27016042
B27016043
B27016044
B27016045
B27016046
B27016047
B27016048
B27016049
B27016050
B27016051
B27016052
B27016053
B27016054
B27016055
B27016056
B27016057
B27016058
B27016059
B27016060
B27016061
B27016062
B27016063
B27016064
B27016065
B27016066
B27016067
B27016068
B27016069
B27016070
B27016071
B27016072
B27016073
B27016074
B27016075
B27016076
B27016077
B27016078
B27016079
B27016080
B27016081
B27016082
B27016083
B27016084
B27016085
B27016086
B27016087
B27016088
B27016089
B27016090
B27016091
B27016092
B27016093
B27016094
B27016095
B27016096
B27016097
B27016098
B27016099
B27016100
B27016101
B27016102
B27016103
B27016104
B27016105
B27016106
B27016107
B27016108
B27016109
B27016110
B27016111
B27016112
B27016113
B27016114
B27016115
B27016116
B27016117
B27016118
B27016119
B27016120
B27016121
B27016122
B27016123
B27016124
B27016125
B27016126
B27016127
B27016128
B27016129
B27016130
B27016131
B27016132
B27016133
B27016134
B27016135
B27016136
B27016137
B27016138
B27016139
B27016140
B27016141
B27016142
B27016143
B27016144
B27016145
B27016146
B27016147
B27016148
B27016149
B27016150
B27016151
B27016152
B27016153
B27016154
B27016155
B27016156
B27016157
B27016158
B27016159
B27016160
B27016161
B27016162
B27016163
B27016164
B27016165
B27016166
B27016167
B27016168
B27016169
B27016170
B27016171
B27016172
B27016173
B27016174
B27016175
B27016176
B27016177
B27016178
B27016179
B27016180
B27016181
B27016182
B27016183
B27016184
B27016185
B27016186
B27016187
B27016188
B27016189
B27016190
B27016191
B27016192
B27016193
B27016194
B27016195
B27016196
B27016197
B27016198
B27016199
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Health Insurance Coverage
In 2012, data on health insurance coverage were derived from answers to Question 16 in the American Community Survey, which was asked of all respondents. Respondents were instructed to report their current coverage and to mark "yes" or "no" for each of the eight types listed (labeled as parts 16a to 16h).

  1. Insurance through a current or former employer or union (of this person or another family member)
  2. Insurance purchased directly from an insurance company (by this person or another family member)
  3. Medicare, for people 65 and older, or people with certain disabilities
  4. Medicaid, Medical Assistance, or any kind of government-assistance plan for those with low incomes or a disability
  5. TRICARE or other military health care
  6. VA (including those who have ever used or enrolled for VA health care)
  7. Indian Health Service
  8. Any other type of health insurance or health coverage plan
Respondents who answered "yes" to question 16h were asked to provide their other type of coverage type in a write-in field.

Health insurance coverage in the ACS and other Census Bureau surveys define coverage to include plans and programs that provide comprehensive health coverage. Plans that provide insurance for specific conditions or situations such as cancer and long-term care policies are not considered coverage. Likewise, other types of insurance like dental, vision, life, and disability insurance are not considered health insurance coverage.

In defining types of coverage, write-in responses were reclassified into one of the first seven types of coverage or determined not to be a coverage type. Write-in responses that referenced the coverage of a family member were edited to assign coverage based on responses from other family members. As a result, only the first seven types of health coverage are included in the microdata file.

An eligibility edit was applied to give Medicaid, Medicare, and TRICARE coverage to individuals based on program eligibility rules. TRICARE or other military health care was given to active-duty military personnel and their spouses and children. Medicaid or other means-tested public coverage was given to foster children, certain individuals receiving Supplementary Security Income or Public Assistance, and the spouses and children of certain Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicare coverage was given to people 65 and older who received Social Security or Medicaid benefits.

People were considered insured if they reported at least one "yes" to Questions 16a to 16f. People who had no reported health coverage, or those whose only health coverage was Indian Health Service, were considered uninsured. For reporting purposes, the Census Bureau broadly classifies health insurance coverage as private health insurance or public coverage. Private health insurance is a plan provided through an employer or union, a plan purchased by an individual from a private company, or TRICARE or other military health care. Respondents reporting a "yes" to the types listed in parts a, b, or e were considered to have private health insurance. Public health coverage includes the federal programs Medicare, Medicaid, and VA Health Care (provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs); the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and individual state health plans. Respondents reporting a "yes" to the types listed in c, d, or f were considered to have public coverage. The types of health insurance are not mutually exclusive; people may be covered by more than one at the same time.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other federal agencies, use data on health insurance coverage to more accurately distribute resources and better understand state and local health insurance needs.

Question/Concept History

The ACS began asking questions about health insurance coverage in 2008. Because 2008 was the first year of collection, the Census Bureau limited the number and type of data products to simple age breakdowns of overall, private, and public coverage status. The evaluation of the 2008 data suggested that the data were of good quality, so the Census Bureau expanded the data products to include estimates of the specific types of coverage along with estimates about social, economic, and demographic details for people with and without health insurance.

For the 2008 data released September 2009, there was no eligibility edit applied. The eligibility edit that was developed for the 2009 was applied to the 2008 data during spring 2010. New estimates of health insurance coverage with this data are available (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthins.html).

Limitation of the Data

The universe for most health insurance coverage estimates is the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes active-duty military personnel and the population living in correctional facilities and nursing homes. Some noninstitutionalized GQ populations have health insurance coverage distributions that are different from the household population (e.g., the prevalence of private health insurance among residents of college dormitories is higher than the household population). The proportion of the universe that is in the noninstitutionalized GQ populations could therefore have a noticeable impact on estimates of the health insurance coverage. Institutionalized GQ populations may also have health insurance coverage distributions that are different from the civilian noninstitutionalized population, the distributions in the published tables may differ slightly from how they would look if the total population were represented.

Comparability

Health insurance coverage was added to the 2008 ACS and so no equivalent measure is available from previous ACS surveys or Census 2000. Because of the addition of the eligibility edit to 2009 ACS health insurance, data users should be careful as to which 2008 ACS estimates they use to make comparisons. National, state, county and place-level 2008 1-year data incorporating the eligibility edit are available
(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/data/acs/2008/re-run.html); they are comparable to the 2009 estimates in American Fact Finder. Please see
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/publications/coverage_edits_final.pdf for more information on the logical coverage (eligibility) edits.

Because coverage in the ACS references an individual's current status, caution should be taken when making comparisons to other surveys which may define coverage as "at any time in the last year" or "throughout the past year." A discussion of how the ACS health insurance estimates relate to other survey health insurance estimates can be found in A Preliminary Evaluation of Health Insurance Coverage in the 2008 American Community Survey (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/data/acs/2008/2008ACS_healthins.pdf).

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Ratio
This is a measure of the relative size of one number to a second number expressed as the quotient of the first number divided by the second. For example, the sex ratio is calculated by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females, and then multiplying by 100.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Income Type in the Past 12 Months
The eight types of income reported in the American Community Survey are defined as follows:

  1. Wage or salary income:
Wage or salary income includes total money earnings received for work performed as an employee during the past 12 months. It includes wages, salary, Armed Forces pay, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and cash bonuses earned before deductions were made for taxes, bonds, pensions, union dues, etc.
  • Self-employment income: Self-employment income includes both farm and non-farm self-employment income.

  • Farm self-employment income includes net money income (gross receipts minus operating expenses) from the operation of a farm by a person on his or her own account, as an owner, renter, or sharecropper. Gross receipts include the value of all products sold, government farm programs, money received from the rental of farm equipment to others, and incidental receipts from the sale of wood, sand, gravel, etc. Operating expenses include cost of feed, fertilizer, seed, and other farming supplies, cash wages paid to farmhands, depreciation charges, rent, interest on farm mortgages, farm building repairs, farm taxes (not state and federal personal income taxes), etc. The value of fuel, food, or other farm products used for family living is not included as part of net income.

    Non-farm self-employment income includes net money income (gross receipts minus expenses) from one's own business, professional enterprise, or partnership. Gross receipts include the value of all goods sold and services rendered. Expenses include costs of goods purchased, rent, heat, light, power, depreciation charges, wages and salaries paid, business taxes (not personal income taxes), etc.

    1. Interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts: Interest, dividends, or net rental income includes interest on savings or bonds, dividends from stockholdings or membership in associations, net income from rental of property to others and receipts from boarders or lodgers, net royalties, and periodic payments from an estate or trust fund.
    2. Social Security income: Social Security income includes Social Security pensions and survivor benefits, permanent disability insurance payments made by the Social Security Administration prior to deductions for medical insurance, and railroad retirement insurance checks from the U.S. government. Medicare reimbursements are not included.
    3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a nationwide U.S. assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration that guarantees a minimum level of income for needy aged, blind, or disabled individuals. The Puerto Rico Community Survey questionnaire asks about the receipt of SSI; however, SSI is not a federally-administered program in Puerto Rico. Therefore, it is probably not being interpreted by most respondents in the same manner as SSI in the United States. The only way a resident of Puerto Rico could have appropriately reported SSI would have been if they lived in the United States at any time during the past 12-month reference period and received SSI.
    4. Public assistance income: Public assistance income includes general assistance and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Separate payments received for hospital or other medical care (vendor payments) are excluded. This does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or noncash benefits such as Food Stamps. The terms "public assistance income" and "cash public assistance" are used interchangeably in the 2012 ACS data products.
    5. Retirement, survivor, or disability income: Retirement income includes: (1) retirement pensions and survivor benefits from a former employer; labor union; or federal, state, or local government; and the U.S. military; (2) disability income from companies or unions; federal, state, or local government; and the U.S. military; (3) periodic receipts from annuities and insurance; and (4) regular income from IRA and Keogh plans. This does not include Social Security income.
    6. All other income: All other income includes unemployment compensation, worker's compensation, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) payments, alimony and child support, contributions received periodically from people not living in the household, military family allotments, and other kinds of periodic income other than earnings.


    Cash Public Assistance
    See "Public assistance income."

    Income of Households
    This includes the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income. Although the household income statistics cover the past 12 months, the characteristics of individuals and the composition of households refer to the time of interview. Thus, the income of the household does not include amounts received by individuals who were members of the household during all or part of the past 12 months if these individuals no longer resided in the household at the time of interview. Similarly, income amounts reported by individuals who did not reside in the household during the past 12 months but who were members of the household at the time of interview are included. However, the composition of most households was the same during the past 12 months as at the time of interview.

    Income of Families
    In compiling statistics on family income, the incomes of all members 15 years old and over related to the householder are summed and treated as a single amount. Although the family income statistics cover the past 12 months, the characteristics of individuals and the composition of families refer to the time of interview. Thus, the income of the family does not include amounts received by individuals who were members of the family during all or part of the past 12 months if these individuals no longer resided with the family at the time of interview. Similarly, income amounts reported by individuals who did not reside with the family during the past 12 months but who were members of the family at the time of interview are included. However, the composition of most families was the same during the past 12 months as at the time of interview.

    Income of Individuals
    Income for individuals is obtained by summing the eight types of income for each person 15 years old and over. The characteristics of individuals are based on the time of interview even though the amounts are for the past 12 months.

    Median Income
    The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median income and one-half above the median. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of households and families including those with no income. The median income for individuals is based on individuals 15 years old and over with income. Median income for households, families, and individuals is computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Derived Measures.") Median income is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. Median income figures are calculated using linear interpolation. (For more information on medians and interpolation, see "Derived Measures.")

    Aggregate Income
    Aggregate income is the sum of all incomes for a particular universe. Aggregate income is subject to rounding, which means that all cells in a matrix are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.")

    Mean Income
    Mean income is the amount obtained by dividing the aggregate income of a particular statistical universe by the number of units in that universe. For example, mean household income is obtained by dividing total household income by the total number of households. (The aggregate used to calculate mean income is rounded. For more information, see "Aggregate income.")

    For the various types of income, the means are based on households having those types of income. For household income and family income, the mean is based on the distribution of the total number of households and families including those with no income. The mean income for individuals is based on individuals 15 years old and over with income. Mean income is rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

    Care should be exercised in using and interpreting mean income values for small subgroups of the population. Because the mean is influenced strongly by extreme values in the distribution, it is especially susceptible to the effects of sampling variability, misreporting, and processing errors. The median, which is not affected by extreme values, is, therefore, a better measure than the mean when the population base is small. The mean, nevertheless, is shown in some data products for most small subgroups because, when weighted according to the number of cases, the means can be computed for areas and groups other than those shown in Census Bureau tabulations. (For more information on means, see "Derived Measures.")

    Income Quintile Upper Limits
    Negative incomes are converted to zero for these measures. These measures are the quintile cutoffs, along with the 95th percentile of the distribution. (For more information on quintiles, see "Derived Measures.")

    Means of Household Income by Quintiles
    Means of household income by quintiles are calculated by dividing aggregate household income in each quintile by the number of households in each quintile (one-fifth of the total number of households). (For more information on aggregates, see "Aggregate Income." For more information on quintiles, see "Derived Measures.")

    Shares of Household Income by Quintiles
    Negative incomes are converted to zero for these measures. These measures are the aggregate household income in each quintile as a percentage of the total aggregate household income. (For more information on aggregates, see "Aggregate income." For more information on quintiles, see "Derived Measures.")

    Gini Index of Income Inequality
    Negative incomes are converted to zero. The Gini index of income inequality measures the dispersion of the household income distribution. (For more information on the Gini index, see "Derived Measures.")

    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."

    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.")

    Aggregate Earnings
    Aggregate earnings are the sum of wage/salary and net self- employment income for a particular universe of people 16 years old and over. Aggregate earnings are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.")

    Mean Earnings
    Mean earnings is calculated by dividing aggregate earnings by the population 16 years old and over with earnings. (The aggregate used to calculate mean earnings is rounded. For more information, see "Aggregate earnings.") Mean earnings is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. (For more information on means, see "Derived Measures.")

    Women's Earnings as a Percentage of Men's Earnings
    Women's earnings as a percentage of men's earnings is defined as median earnings for females who worked fulltime, year-round divided by median earnings for males who worked full-time, year-round, multiplied by 100. (For more information see "full-time, year-round workers" under "Usual hours worked per weeks worked in the past 12 months" and "Median earnings.")

    Per Capita Income
    Per capita income is the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group including those living in group quarters. It is derived by dividing the aggregate income of a particular group by the total population in that group. (The aggregate used to calculate per capita income is rounded. For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.") Per capita income is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. (For more information on means, see "Derived Measures.")

    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 2012 reports their income for March 2011 through February 2012. Their income is adjusted to the 2012 reference calendar year by multiplying their reported income by 2012 average annual CPI (January-December 2012) and then dividing by the average CPI for March 2011-February 2012.

    In order to inflate income amounts from previous years, the dollar values on individual records are inflated to the latest year's 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.

    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.

    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" on the ACS website at .
    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 since the 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.

    Users should exercise caution when comparing medians from the 2012 ACS to earlier years. There was a change between 2008 and 2009 1-Year and 3-Year Data Products in Income and Earnings median calculations. Medians above $75,000 were most likely to be affected.

    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 Department's 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.

    Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
     
    Age
    The data on age were derived from answers to Question 4 in the 2012 American Community Survey. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years at the time of interview. Both age and date of birth are used in combination to calculate the most accurate age at the time of the interview. Respondents are asked to give an age in whole, completed years as of interview date as well as the month, day and year of birth. People are not to round an age up if the person is close to having a birthday, and to estimate an age if the exact age is not known. An additional instruction on babies also asks respondents to print "0" for babies less than one year old. Inconsistently reported and missing values are assigned or imputed based on the values of other variables for that person, from other people in the household, or from people in other households ("hot deck" imputation).

    Age is asked for all persons in a household or group quarters. On the mailout/mailback paper questionnaire for households, both age and date of birth are asked for persons listed as person numbers 1-5 on the form. Only age (in years) is initially asked for persons listed as 6-12 on the mailout/mailback paper questionnaire. If a respondent indicates that there are more than 5 people living in the household, then the household is eligible for Failed Edit Follow-up (FEFU). During FEFU operations, telephone center staffers call respondents to obtain missing data. This includes asking date of birth for any person in the household missing date of birth information. In Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) instruments both age and date of birth is asked for all persons. In 2006, the ACS began collecting data in group quarters (GQs). This included asking both age and date of birth for persons living in a group quarters. For additional data collection methodology, please see http://www.census.gov/acs.

    Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Age is central for any number of federal programs that target funds or services to children, working-age adults, women of childbearing age, or the older population. The U.S. Department of Education uses census age data in its formula for allotment to states. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses age to develop its mandated state projections on the need for hospitals, nursing homes, cemeteries, domiciliary services, and other benefits for veterans. For more information on the use of age data in Federal programs, please see http://www.census.gov/acs.

    Median Age
    The median age is the age that divides the population into two equal-size groups. Half of the population is older than the median age and half is younger. Median age is based on a standard distribution of the population by single years of age and is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. (See the sections on "Standard Distributions" and "Medians" under "Derived Measures.")

    Age Dependency Ratio
    The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under 18 years and 65 years and over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.

    Old-Age Dependency Ratio
    The old-age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population 65 years and over by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.

    Child Dependency Ratio
    The child dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population under 18 years by the 18-to-64 population, and multiplying by 100.

    Question/Concept History

    The 1996-2002 American Community Survey question asked for month, day, and year of birth before age. Since 2003, the American Community Survey question asked for age, followed by month, day, and year of birth. In 2008, an additional instruction was provided with the age and date of birth question on the American Community Survey questionnaire to report babies as age 0 when the child was less than 1 year old. The addition of this instruction occurred after 2005 National Census Test results indicated increased accuracy of age reporting for babies less than one year old.

    Limitation of the Data

    Beginning in 2006, the population living in group quarters (GQ) was included in the American Community Survey population universe. Some types of group quarters have populations with age distributions that are very different from that of the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the age distribution for a given geographic area. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population. For example, in areas with large colleges and universities, the percent of individuals 18-24 would increase due to the inclusion of GQs in the American Community Survey universe.

    Comparability

    Caution should be taken when comparing population in age groups across time. The entire population continually ages into older age groups over time, and babies fill in the youngest age group. Therefore, the population of a certain age is made up of a completely different group of people in one time period than in another (e.g. one age group in 2000 versus same age group in 2012). Since populations occasionally experience booms/increases and busts/decreases in births, deaths, or migration (for example, the postwar Baby Boom from 1946-1964), one should not necessarily expect that the population in an age group in one year should be similar in size or proportion to the population in the same age group in a different period in time. For example, Baby Boomers were age 36 to 54 in Census 2000 while they were age 47 to 65 in the 2012 ACS. The age structure and distribution would therefore shift in those age groups to reflect the change in people occupying those age- specific groups over time.

    Data users should also be aware of methodology differences that may exist between different data sources if they are comparing American Community Survey age data to data sources, such as Population Estimates or Decennial Census data. For example, the American Community Survey data are that of a respondent-based survey and subject to various quality measures, such as sampling and nonsampling error, response rates and item allocation error. This differs in design and methodology from other data sources, such as Population Estimates, which is not a survey and involves computational methodology to derive intercensal estimates of the population. While ACS estimates are controlled to Population Estimates for age at the nation, state and county levels of geography as part of the ACS weighting procedure, variation may exist in the age structure of a population at lower levels of geography when comparing different time periods or comparing across time due to the absence of controls below the county geography level. For more information on American Community Survey data accuracy and weighting procedures, please see http://www.census.gov/acs.

    It should also be noted that although the American Community Survey (ACS) produces population, demographic and housing unit estimates, it is the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program that produces and disseminates the official estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties, cities and towns, and estimates of housing units for states and counties (http://factfinder2.census.gov).