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.
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.")
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.