The data on year of entry were derived from answers to Question 9. This question was asked about Persons 1 through 5 in the ACS, and was restricted to those persons who on Question 8 answered that they were in citizenship categories (2) born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Northern Marianas, (3) born abroad of U.S. citizen parent or parents, (4) U.S. citizen by naturalization, or (5) not a U.S citizen.
All respondents born outside the United States were asked for the year in which they came to live in the United States. This includes people born in Puerto Rico and U.S. Island Areas; people born abroad of an U.S. citizen parent or parents; and the foreign born. (See "Citizenship Status.") For the Puerto Rico Community Survey, respondents were asked for the year in which they came to live in Puerto Rico.
The responses to this question indicate when persons born outside of the U.S. came to live in the United States.
Since 1996, the year of entry questions for the American Community Survey and for the Puerto Rico Survey were identical. An instruction was added beginning in 1999 to "Print numbers in boxes."
Respondents were directed to indicate the year they entered the U.S. "to live." (or "to live" in Puerto Rico, for the Puerto Community Survey). For respondents who entered the U.S. (or entered Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Community Survey) multiple times, the interviewers were instructed to request the most recent year of entry. For respondents who entered multiple times and did not ask the interviewer for clarification or who mailed back the questionnaire without being interviewed in person, it is unclear which year of entry was provided (i.e. first or most recent).
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have year of entry distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the year of entry distribution. This is particularly true for areas with substantial GQ populations.
Year of entry was comparable across ACS years. A note of caution when comparing ACS and Census 2000 year of entry data: Census 2000 represents data collected as of April 1, 2000 and thus the "2000" year of entry category accounts only for the first quarter (Jan-Mar) in 2000. In comparison, the ACS represents data collected throughout the entire year and thus the "2000" year of entry category accounts for the entire year of 2000.