About the American Community Survey

December 20, 2013

The data used in this report came from the “2012 American Community Survey 5-year estimates” data set released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

These estimates are based on the compilation of responses to the ACS from 2008 through 2012. We chose this multi-year set because, of all the ACS data, it has the lowest margin of error and it covers all geographic units, including sparsely populated counties.

In contrast, the 2012 ACS 1-year estimates are available only for geographic units with more than 60,000 people. And the 2012 ACS 3-year estimates are available only for geographic units with more than 20,000 people.

We pulled from the 2008-12 ACS data several tables, including:

¶ The Gini index, which measures income inequality

¶ The share of aggregate household income by quintile

¶ The mean household income by quintile

¶ Overall median household income and poverty rates

We extracted and analyzed the above tables for all counties and states as well as for the nation as a whole.

We also examined and mapped income and poverty data for census tracts in Richmond; that pointed us to the stark contrast in income between the Windsor Farms and Gilpin neighborhoods.

Main story: Income Inequality in Richmond