Article

Local Government Data Resources Threatened by U.S. House Vote


by ICMA

Jobs, transportation, economic development, and planning are pressing concerns for most local government. One source of data that informs decisions related to these topics is the American Community Survey (ACS). This survey, conducted by the U. S. Bureau of the Census collects data on commuting time, proportion of elderly in the community and their location, employment, insurance coverage, earnings, education, and many other descriptive factors that enable businesses to know where to recruit educated employees and cities and counties to plan bus routes, place fire and police stations, and establish health clinics. In addition, many formula-funded programs use the ACS data.

Funding for this survey is threatened by the House of Representatives, which voted in May to eliminate the ACS and more recently proposed to make participation in the survey voluntary. Because the survey uses sampling, voluntary participation would make achieving a representative sample more difficult and therefore more costly.

If your local government and businesses in your community use the data generated in the American Community Survey, make your voice heard about its importance to responsible planning. Loss of the data will have a negative effect on decision making at a time when sound financial decisions are more important than ever. Explain the importance of the survey to the member representing your district in the House of Representatives.

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