New Statistics, Tools, Visualizations: U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-Year Estimates
From the U.S. Census:
The U.S. Census Bureau today released its most detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with new statistics on income, poverty, health insurance and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey (ACS).
Many large metropolitan areas saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2016 and 2017. During that same period, the health insurance coverage rate was 91.4 percent for the civilian noninstitutionalized population living inside metropolitan areas and 90.3 percent for the population living outside metropolitan areas. Today’s release provides statistics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.
Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the ACS that complement the national-level statistics released on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. These national-level statistics are from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is the leading source for national-level data on income, poverty and health insurance, while the ACS is the leading source for community and local-level data.
- Real median household income in the United States increased 2.6 percent between 2016 and 2017. The 2017 U.S. median household income was $60,336.
- The 2017 median household income was the highest measured by the ACS since it was fully implemented in 2005.
- Median household income was lower than the U.S. median in 29 states and higher in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Nebraska, Oregon and Wyoming had median incomes not statistically different from the U.S. median. Visit the news graphic to see where the rest of the states fall.
- Median household income increased in 17 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas between 2016 and 2017. None of these 25 metropolitan areas experienced a statistically significant decrease. Changes for eight of these 25 metropolitan areas were not statistically significant.
- Income inequality, as measured by the Gini index, was essentially unchanged from 2016 to 2017. The Gini index for the United States in the 2017 ACS (0.482) was not statistically different from the 2016 ACS estimate. The Gini index is a standard economic measure of income inequality. A score of 0.0 is perfect equality in income distribution. A score of 1.0 indicates total inequality where one household has all of the income.
- Five states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and New York), the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had Gini indices higher than the United States. Ten were not statistically different from the U.S. Gini index; the remaining 35 were lower.
- Most states experienced no statistical change in income inequality from 2016 to 2017. Income inequality increased in four states: Alaska, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Income inequality decreased in two states: Alabama and California.
- Between 2016 and 2017, poverty rates declined in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The poverty rate increased in two states: Delaware and West Virginia. Delaware saw its rate increase from 11.7 percent to 13.6 percent and the rate for West Virginia rose from 17.9 percent to 19.1 percent.
- States with poverty rates of 18.0 percent or higher were Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia.
- Thirteen states had poverty rates of 11.0 percent or lower. Visit the news graphic to see the 2017 poverty rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- In 13 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the poverty rate declined between 2016 and 2017. The poverty rate declined for the third consecutive year in eight of these 13 metropolitan areas.
- Between 2016 and 2017, the health insurance coverage rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points for the civilian noninstitutionalized population living inside metropolitan areas. There was no statistically significant change in the health insurance coverage rate for the population living outside metropolitan areas during this period.
- In 2017, the Boston metropolitan area had the highest health insurance coverage rate (97.0 percent) among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. The Houston metropolitan area had the lowest rate (81.8 percent). Visit the news graphic to see coverage rates for the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
- Between 2016 and 2017, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in four of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Increases in the rate of coverage ranged from 0.4 percentage points to 1.0 percentage points. In addition, six metro areas had decreases in the percentage of people covered by health insurance. Decreases in the rate of coverage ranged from 0.4 percentage points to 0.9 percentage points. The remaining 15 most populous metro areas showed no significant change.
- Between 2013 and 2017, the Los Angeles, Miami and Riverside metropolitan areas experienced the largest increases in the rate of health insurance coverage among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Their rates of health insurance coverage increased by 9 percentage points or more.
- National and state-level health insurance data from the CPS and ACS were released earlier this week.
Access All Data
- To access the full set of statistics released today, please visit American FactFinder.
New Tools and Data Visualizations
Preview of the New Data.Census.gov
The Census Bureau is currently working to streamline online data dissemination to be more customer-driven and user-friendly by creating one centralized and standardized platform to underlie searches on census.gov. Beginning Sept. 13, some 2017 ACS statistics, including detailed tables, data profiles, subject tables and comparison profiles, will be available on the preview site at data.census.gov, in parallel with the data released on American FactFinder.
New Data Visualization Tools
The Census Bureau’s ACS Digital Data Wheel allows users to explore and compare social, economic, housing, and demographic and economic characteristics from all states, U.S. congressional districts and metropolitan statistical areas.
The second visualization, “What Can You Learn from the American Community Survey?” answers commonly asked demographic and socio-economic questions using ACS data. Users can visually explore characteristics of states, U.S. congressional districts and metropolitan statistical areas with an interactive map.
Additional Annual Releases
In the upcoming months the Census Bureau will release additional ACS data, including 2017 ACS supplemental tables and ACS five-year statistics (2013-2017).
These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households throughout the country that participated in the ACS.
ACS Reference and Guidance Materials
- 2017 Changes: Visit our 2017 Data Release page to learn about table and geography changes, and the 2017 Comparison Guidance page to learn how these estimates compare to previous ACS estimates, the 2000 Census, and Census 2010.
- Pre-Release Webinar: View a recorded webinar highlighting important changes for the 2017 ACS 1-year release and a demonstration on how to access the data in American FactFinder.
- 2017 Summary File: Download all of the ACS Detailed Tables via the Summary File on the FTP. Instructions and other technical information are available on the Summary File Documentation page.
- Guidance for Data Users: Learn more about the types of data tables and tools available, and get guidance about when to use 1-year and 5-year estimates.
- Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation/code-lists.html>.
- Changes in survey design from year-to-year can affect results. For more information on changes affecting the 2017 statistics, see <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/news/data-releases/2017.html>.
- For guidance on comparing 2017 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census, see <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html>.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.