Assessing the Accuracy of Data Collected on the Foreign Born: Findings from an Evaluation of the American Community Survey
Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies
This paper summarizes quantitative/qualitative findings from a multi-Census Bureau-funded evaluation of the foreign-born data collected by the American Community Survey/Census 2000 Supplementary Survey (ACS/C2SS). The ACS/C2SS will become an important sources of information on the foreign-population living in the United States. With the end of the Census long form, the ACS will become the primary data for the foreign born at the state and local level. The evaluation represents one of the few external reviews of ACS/C2SS data quality. It employs a number of data evaluation techniques, including a review of ACS methodological documentation, focus groups of the Census Bureau field representatives administering the survey, data consistency checks, and benchmarking analyzes. The findings have uncovered a number of sources of non-sampling error particular to the foreign-born population. Given the importance of the ACS to those wanting to understand the changing nature of immigration, our work is both relevant and timely.