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Component ID: #ti551987891

When comparing the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates with the 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates, there are several issues to consider:

  1. Change in geographic boundaries - The 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates used legal boundaries as of January 1, 2009 and statistical geographies used Census 2000 vintage geographies. The 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates use legal boundaries as of January 1, 2013 and most statistical areas use 2010 Census vintage geographies. For more information on geographic concepts used in the ACS, visit Geography and the ACS.
  2. Change in population controls - The 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates use different Census base years for the population estimates used in the ACS weighting. Estimates of population size are not comparable between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014. Estimates of percent distributions, rates, and ratios for age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin should be compared with caution. For more details, visit the ACS Research Note Change in Population Controls [PDF - <1.0 MB].
  3. Change in the questionnaire or coding - The list below provides details by subject for major questionnaire or coding changes.


Addition of Group Quarters Data – Group quarters data were collected beginning in 2006. The 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates were weighted to account for the missing 2005 group quarters data. However, it is advised to compare the data with caution.

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Component ID: #ti751113235

The ACS question on race was revised in 2008 to make it consistent with the 2010 Census race question. For more information, see the questionnaire changes document. The reporting of "Other Asian" groups (e.g., Pakistani), "Other Pacific Islander" groups (e.g., Fijian), and the reporting of "White" responses increased at the national level, and the reporting of "Some Other Race" responses decreased at the national level. The change in estimates from 2007 to 2008 may be due to several factors including questionnaire changes, population controls, and methodological changes to the population estimates, and therefore should be used with caution.  Due to these changes and differing population controls, use caution when comparing 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates with 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates.

Component ID: #ti1045838124

The ACS question on Hispanic origin was revised in 2008 to make it consistent with the 2010 Census Hispanic origin question. For more information, see the questionnaire changes document. The reporting of specific Hispanic groups (e.g., Colombian, Dominican, Spaniard, etc.) increased at the national level. The change in estimates from 2007 to 2008 may be due to several factors including questionnaire changes, population controls, and methodological changes to the population estimates, and therefore should be used with caution. Due to these changes, caution is suggested when comparing 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates with 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates.  For more information about the changes in the estimates, visit "Changes to the American Community Survey Between 2007 and 2008 and Their Potential Effect on the Estimates of Hispanic Orgin Type, Nativity, Race, and Language" [PDF - <1.0 MB].

Component ID: #ti1452177813

Data from 2010-2014 are comparable to 2005-2009 as long as some caution is used. In 2010, there were two major changes to the coding rules. If up to two ancestries were listed, both were coded, even if one was the specific of the other or if one was American. Also, race groups and Hispanic groups were coded with the same priority as non-race and non-Hispanic groups. For example, "Haitian Black French" would previously have been coded Haitian and French, but now would be coded Haitian and Black. Beginning with the 2008 ACS 1-year data products, people who reported Irish-Scotch ancestry were classified under "Other groups", whereas in the 2007 ACS and earlier they were classified as Scotch-Irish. Due to this classification change, the Scotch-Irish category decreased from 2007-2008.

Component ID: #ti344773546

Modest changes were made in 2009 to the region and country groupings. Specifically, Macau (code 225) is now included under the definition of China, and Jan Mayen (code 121) and Svalbard (code 135) are included under the definition of Norway, please see 2009 ACS Code List.  These changes do not limit comparing most 2005-2009 ACS 5-year and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates.

Component ID: #ti2141724905

Beginning with the 2008 ACS, the migration section of the questionnaire was expanded to collect street address information for residence 1 year ago. The additional detail improves the accuracy of coding and updating residence 1 year ago to current geographical boundaries, which may affect the estimates for movers within the same city/town and movers from principal cities. Areas with recent boundary changes, vague boundaries, or duplicate names are most likely affected. For more information see the report titled Report P.3: Evaluation Report Covering Residence 1 Year Ago (Migration).  These changes do not limit comparing most 2005-2009 ACS 5-year and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates.

Component ID: #ti356291032

The "Child" and "In-law" categories were expanded in the 2008 ACS questionnaire. When comparing 2005-2009 to 2010-2014, use caution when comparing these categories.  See "Changes in the Relationship Categories Between 2007 and 2008" [PDF - <1.0 MB] for more information on category changes and comparisons. Changes in the questionnaire format and data capture procedures between 2007 and 2008 have resulted in changes in the total number of same-sex unmarried partners in 2008. For more information about same-sex unmarried partners, visit "Changes to the American Community Survey Between 2007 and 2008 and Their Potential Effect on the Estimates of Same-Sex Couple Households" [PDF - <1.0 MB].  Due to these differences, use caution when comparing 2005-2009 to 2010-2014 same-sex unmarried partner data.

Component ID: #ti1440660327

Changes in the questionnaire format and data capture procedures between the 2007 and 2008 ACS have resulted in changes in the number of reported same-sex spouses and hence the total number of same-sex unmarried partners in 2008. All same-sex-unmarried-partner comparisons between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 should be made with caution due to these formatting and data capture changes.  All comparisons should be made with caution due to these formatting and data capture changes. For more information about same-sex unmarried partners, visit "Changes to the American Community Survey Between 2007 and 2008 and Their Potential Effect on the Estimates of Same-Sex Couple Households" [PDF - <1.0 MB].

Component ID: #ti1057355610

The 2009 edit specifications incorporated changes to improve the identification of married-couple subfamilies with children and single-parent subfamilies. The 2009 data show an increase in these family types.  Due to these changes, use caution when comparing 2005-2009 to 2010-2014 subfamily data.  

Component ID: #ti739595749

New questions were added to the 2008 ACS CATI/CAPI instrument. Respondents who received a high school diploma, GED or equivalent were also asked if they had completed any college credit. Therefore, data users may notice a decrease in the number of high school graduates relative to previous years because those people are now being captured in the "Some college credit, but less than 1 year of college credit" or "1 or more years of college credit, no degree" categories. Because of these changes, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 datasets.  For more information see the report titled Report P.2.b: Evaluation Report Covering Educational Attainment.

Component ID: #ti1758420188

Use caution when making comparisons between the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates of spoken languages and English-speaking ability.  Changes to collection of data on Hispanic origin may have affected some language characteristics. The observed increase in the native Hispanic population speaking English "very well" is larger than anticipated and should be interpreted with caution. In some cases the overall English language ability in the population may have been affected. See the section on Hispanic Origin (03) above for more information. For more information about the changes in the estimates, visit "Changes to the American Community Survey Between 2007 and 2008 and Their Potential Effect on the Estimates of Hispanic Origin Type, Nativity, Race, and Language" [PDF - <1.0 MB].

Component ID: #ti287289850

The 2008 ACS disability questions are different from the 2007 and prior ACS disability questions, thus 2005-2009 comparisons cannot be made to 2010-2014 data.  The 2008 ACS disability questions are also different from the Census 2000 and prior disability questions, thus a comparison cannot be made. For information about definitions of disability in the ACS, Census 2000 and other Census Bureau surveys, visit the Disability website.

Component ID: #ti1509661509

Income and earnings estimates in the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year dataset are inflation-adjusted to 2009 dollars. Income and earnings estimates in the 2010-2014 ACS 5-year dataset are inflation-adjusted to 2014 dollars. To compare income estimates between the two, multiply the 2005-2009 estimates by 1.1034264 (CPI-U-RS) in order to inflation-adjust 2009 dollars to 2014 dollars.

Component ID: #ti988354428

Income and earnings estimates in the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year dataset are inflation-adjusted to 2009 dollars. Income and earnings estimates in the 2010-2014 ACS 5-year dataset are inflation-adjusted to 2014 dollars. To compare income estimates between the two, multiply the 2005-2009 estimates by 1.1034264 (CPI-U-RS) in order to inflation-adjust 2009 dollars to 2014 dollars.

Component ID: #ti808596931

In 2013, the veteran status question was modified. Accordingly, we recommend using caution when making comparisons of the estimate of the veteran population from the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year with the 2010-2014 ACS 5-year. For more information, visit the Veterans Statistics webpage.

In 2008, a new question was added to the ACS to collect information on service-connected disability status and ratings. Consequently, comparisons are not available for this topic between the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year and the 2010-2014 ACS 5-year.  For more information, visit the Veterans Statistics webpage.

Component ID: #ti1689419006

In 2010, we added an instruction to the food stamp question incorporating the new program name - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The wording of the food stamp question was revised in the 2008 ACS to ask respondents if they received "food stamps or a food stamp benefit card."  Data users may see an increase in food stamp recipiency from the 2007 ACS 1-year estimates to the 2008 ACS 1-year estimates as a result of the questionnaire change. For more detailed information, see the Evaluation Report Covering Receipt of Food Stamps.  These changes do not limit comparing most 2005-2009 ACS 5-year and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates.

Component ID: #ti107532353

The Census Bureau introduced an improved sequence of labor force questions in the 2008 ACS questionnaire. Accordingly, we recommend using caution when making labor force data comparisons between the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year. For more information on these questions and their evaluation in the 2006 ACS Content Test, see the Evaluation Report Covering Employment Status and the Evaluation Report Covering Weeks Worked. Additional information can also be found on the Labor Force Statistics website.

Component ID: #ti1904483712

The 2005 to 2007 ACS industry data are coded using the 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The 2008 to 2012  ACS industry data use the 2007 NAICS codes. The ACS industry data for 2013 and later years are based on the 2012 revision of the NAICS codes. To allow for the creation of the 2010-2014 tables, industry data in the 2010-2014 multiyear file were recoded to 2013 Census industry codes. Because of the Census industry code changes, we recommend using caution when comparing 2010-2014 industry data with 2005-2009 industry data. For more information on Census industry code changes, please visit the Industry and Occupation website.

The Census occupation codes for 2010 and later years are based on the 2010 revision of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). The Census occupation codes for 2005-2009 tables are based on SOC 2000. Because of the Census occupation code changes, we recommend using caution when comparing 2010-2014 occupation data with 2005-2009 occupation data. For more information on the Census occupation code changes, please visit Industry and Occupation website.

Component ID: #ti593532225

Caution should be used when comparing data for bedrooms between the 2007 and 2008 ACS.  This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 bedrooms data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  Changes made to the 2008 ACS bedrooms question involving the wording as well as the response option resulted in a noticeable increase in the "No bedroom" category and a decrease in the "1 bedroom" to "3 bedrooms" categories. For more detailed information about these changes, see the Bedrooms section of the Subject Definitions.

Component ID: #ti1203419134

Caution should be used when comparing data for kitchen facilities in certain areas between the 2007 and 2008 ACS. This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 kitchen facilities data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  Changes made to the 2008 ACS question wording and translation to the Spanish questionnaire resulted in an inconsistency in the data. For more detailed information about these changes, see the kitchen facilities section of the Subject Definitions.

Component ID: #ti1294596803

Caution should be used when comparing data for telephone service availability between the 2007 ACS and the 2008 ACS. This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 telephone service data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  Changes made to the 2008 ACS Telephone Service Availability question involving the structure of the question as well as including an instruction to include cell phones resulted in a noticeable increase in respondents answering "yes" to the question. For more detailed information about these changes, see the telephone service available section of the Subject Definitions.

Component ID: #ti416372569

Caution should be used when comparing data for occupants per room between the 2007 and 2008 ACS. This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 rooms data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  Changes made to the 2008 ACS rooms question involving the wording as well as the response option resulted in a noticeable increase in the "1 room" category and a decrease in the "2 rooms" to "6 rooms" categories. For more detailed information about these changes, see the Rooms section of the Subject Definitions.

Component ID: #ti1380578790

Caution should be used when comparing data for plumbing facilities in certain areas between the 2007 and 2008 ACS.  This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 plumbing facilities data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  Changes made to the 2008 ACS question wording and translation to the Spanish questionnaire resulted in an inconsistency in the data. For more detailed information about these changes, see the plumbing facilities section of the Subject Definitions.

Component ID: #ti1117437147

Changes made to the value question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS may result in an inconsistency in the value distribution for some areas. This would include any multiyear (3-year, 5-year) comparisons that include the pre-2008 value data.  For instance, caution should be used when comparing the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS 5-year datasets.  In 2008, the response option for the value question was a write-in. In 2007 and previous years, the value question included categorical response options with a write-in for values over $250,000. The presentation of the data is consistent between 2007 and 2008. For more information about this questionnaire change, see the Evaluation Report Covering Property Value.

Component ID: #ti679514212

Group quarters data were collected beginning in 2006. The 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates were weighted to account for the missing 2005 group quarters data. However, it is advised to compare the data with caution.

Component ID: #ti1818501725

Data was not available prior to 2008.  Therefore, the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates were not available.  For more information about health insurance questions in the ACS and other Census Bureau surveys, visit the Health Insurance website.

Component ID: #ti2115578460
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