There are two kinds of coverage error: under-coverage and over-coverage. Under-coverage exists when housing units or people do not have a chance of being selected in the sample. Over-coverage exists when housing units or people have more than one chance of selection in the sample, or are included in the sample when they should not have been. If the characteristics of under-covered or over-covered housing units or individuals differ from those that are selected, the ACS may not provide an accurate picture of the population.
The coverage rates measure coverage error in the ACS. The coverage rate is the ratio of the ACS population or housing estimate of an area or group to the independent estimate for that area or group, times 100.
Coverage rates for the total resident population are calculated by sex at the national, state, and Puerto Rico levels, and at the national level only for total Hispanics, and non-Hispanics crossed by the five major race categories: White, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The total resident population includes persons in both housing units and group quarters. In addition, a coverage rate that includes only the group quarters population is calculated at the national level. Coverage rates for housing units are calculated at the national and state level, except for Puerto Rico because independent housing unit estimates are not available. These rates are weighted to reflect the probability of selection into the sample, the subsampling for personal visit follow-up, and non-response adjustment.