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Spatial Variation In The Quality Of American Community Survey Estimates

Title: Spatial Variation In The Quality Of American Community Survey Estimates.
Name(s): Folch, David C., author
Arribas-Bel, Daniel, author
Koschinsky, Julia, author
Spielman, Seth E., author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Date Issued: 2016-10
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Social science research, public and private sector decisions, and allocations of federal resources often rely on data from the American Community Survey (ACS). However, this critical data source has high uncertainty in some of its most frequently used estimates. Using 2006-2010 ACS median household income estimates at the census tract scale as a test case, we explore spatial and nonspatial patterns in ACS estimate quality. We find that spatial patterns of uncertainty in the northern United States differ from those in the southern United States, and they are also different in suburbs than in urban cores. In both cases, uncertainty is lower in the former than the latter. In addition, uncertainty is higher in areas with lower incomes. We use a series of multivariate spatial regression models to describe the patterns of association between uncertainty in estimates and economic, demographic, and geographic factors, controlling for the number of responses. We find that these demographic and geographic patterns in estimate quality persist even after we account for the number of responses. Our results indicate that data quality varies across places, making cross-sectional analysis both within and across regions less reliable. Finally, we present advice for data users and potential solutions to the challenges identified.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_wos_000385144600012 (IID), 10.1007/s13524-016-0499-1 (DOI)
Keywords: American Community Survey, association, Data uncertainty, decennial census, Income estimates, Margin of error, neighborhood, Spatial analysis
Publication Note: The publisher's version of record is available at
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Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Demography.
Issue: iss. 5, vol. 53

Choose the citation style.
Folch, D. C., Arribas-Bel, D., Koschinsky, J., & Spielman, S. E. (2016). Spatial Variation In The Quality Of American Community Survey Estimates. Demography. Retrieved from