Patterns of Neighborhood Change

.. economic progress since the 2008 recession has been mixed by geographic area.  Data from the new 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) provide insights into the characteristics of change at the neighborhood and higher geographic levels. The map shown below illustrates how the median household income (MHI) has changed by census tract based on data from the new ACS 2013 5-year estimates (released December 2014) and data from the ACS 2011 5-year estimates (released December 2012). While there is limited insight into patterns of change in this specific map, it is clear that neighborhoods have changed in different ways.

Median Household Income Change, 2009-11 by Census Tract
… Washington DC area; based on change in ACS 5-year estimates

View developed with CV XE GIS. Click graphic for larger view.

Examine patterns of ACS 5 year median household income estimates for metropolitan areas of interest. Examples: Philadelphia .. St. Louis .. San Francisco. Select any metro by clicking link in menu section on any metro profile page.

Using the New ACS 2013 5-year Estimates
This section is about using the new ACS 2013 5-year estimates released December 4, 2014. There are several things to like about the new ACS 2013 5-year demographic-economic data. These data are one year more recent data than released in December 2013 (the ACS 2012 5-year data). As a result, they provide an updated and more current picture. Two, this is a fourth year sequel to having Census 2010 vintage census tract and block group data available. This de facto four year mini-time series enables a start to examine trends. Three, these estimates are centric to mid-2011 and thus roughly update what would have been “richer demographics” from Census 2010 (had the long-form not been eliminated). These data provide unique and powerful measures that facilitate development of decision-making information.

Analyzing Change Using ACS Small Area Data
ACS small area data are available for block groups (averaging 1,200 population) and census tracts (averaging 4,000 population) covering the U.S. wall-to-wall. Census tracts are comprised of one or more blocks groups; block groups nest within census tract boundaries.

ACS data are estimates based on a sample survey. Based on our experience the quality of the estimates is quite good, but caution should be used. In general, the smaller the geographic area, the higher the margin of error associated with the estimate. The true value of the estimate might be higher or lower by some margin. Second, the 5-year estimates are based on a sample survey conducted over a 5-year period. The ACS 2013 5-year estimates are based on a survey conducted from 2009 through 2013. We might refer to the estimates being “centric to 2011” (the midpoint), but in fact they are estimates for the 5 year period. Caution should be used in examining change based on the 5-year annual estimates.

Resources to Access, Integrate & Use ACS Data
Census 2010 and ACS 2013 provide the most current Census-sourced demographics for wide-ranging geography. ProximityOne uses the ACS data for continuing analyses and the development of annually updated 5-year projections. There are a wide range of resources to assist users with ACS data access, integration & analysis. Some of these are summarized via the links provided below.

Reference & Documentation
Updates & Applications
Data Resources
Data Access/Integration Tools

Support Using these Resources
The map shown at the top of this section was developed using tools listed in above links. The map view is based on a GIS project that we developed to enable analysis for the U.S. by census tract. Zoom-in to any county or regional to examine patterns and characteristics using the GIS project.

Learn more about developing and using this type of GIS project and associated demographic economic data and related analytical tools. Join us in a Decision-Making Information Web session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.

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