Assessing the Quality of Data Collected on the Foreign Born: An Evaluation of the American Community Survey

Jeffrey Capizzano, Teaching Strategies, Inc.

The American Community Survey (ACS) is poised to replace the decennial census long form in 2010. As such, it is likely to become one of the primary sources of information on the nation’s foreign-born population. This paper presents findings from an on-going multi-year study funded by the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the quality of foreign-born data collected by the ACS. While the findings overall indicate that the ACS will be a valuable and timely source of information on the foreign born, the evaluation did reveal potential sources of non-sampling error in the data collection process and some cases where the ACS foreign-born data did not compare consistently to decennial census data. The evaluation also provides a number of recommendations for how to improve ACS foreign-born data.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design