The U.S. Census Bureau released five-year American Community Survey (ACS) estimates for the first time yesterday, making available social, economic, housing and demographic statistics for every community in the nation.
Reeves, Tex., was among counties with the lowest median home value–$29,000–while Nantucket, Mass. was among those with the highest median–approximately $1 million.
Manhattan’s median grew from $449,800 in 2000, according to the 2000 Census, to the $800,400 estimated from the Census Bureau’s new five-year data. For Brooklyn, the change was from $261,700 to $547,200; it was from $213,700 to $470,500 for Queens and from $140,700 to $369,600 for the Bronx.
Until now, small geographic areas had to rely on outdated 2000 Census figures for detailed information about the characteristics of their communities.
Consisting of some 11.1 billion individual estimates and covering more than 670,000 distinct geographies, the five-year ACS estimates give even the smallest communities more timely information on topics ranging from commute times to languages spoken at home to housing values.
As the figures below show and others in the New York Times, New York City does not have the richest population, the best educated residents, the most Spanish speaking individuals or the most costly housing. In addition, with minorities moving to the suburbs, the region is being reshaped.
The Washington, D.C. area ranked high in a number of categories. Among the findings:
- The county-level poverty rate for individuals ranged from less than 4 percent to more than 40 percent;
- In 19 counties or county equivalents, the poverty rate was below 5 percent, including five counties or independent cities in Virginia, three counties in New Jersey, two in Colorado and Wisconsin, and one each in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and South Dakota;
- But one in three individuals was living in poverty in 21 counties, the highest county rates being among Native Americans;
- The lowest average travel time to work included King, Texas, at 3.4 minutes, while counties with the highest mean travel time to work included Staten Island, at 42.5 minutes;
- Four counties, all in New York, had mean travel times to work in excess of 40 minutes: Richmond, Queens, Kings and Bronx;
- More than one-third of all households were married-couple families with children under 18 in 24 counties, among them one-quarter of the counties in Utah and relatively wealthy suburban counties such as Douglas, Colo.and Loudon, Va.;
- By contrast, there were 10 counties or county equivalents where fewer than one-in-10 households were married-couple families with children, including Richmond, Petersburg and Williamsburg in Virginia; Baltimore, Md.; and the District of Columbia;
- The percent of those 25 and over who had completed high school ranged from 46.5 percent in Starr County, Texas, to 98.7 percent in Hinsdale County, Colo., and Los Alamos County, N.M.;
- In 10 counties, more than 95 percent of the population 25 and over had completed high school, including six in just two states–Hinsdale, Douglas and Routt counties in Colorado and Wheeler, Logan and Grant in Nebraska;
- Five counties had no more than 60 percent of the population 25 and over that had completed high school, four of them in Texas and a fifth in Ohio;
- Seventeen counties or county equivalents had populations where more than 50 percent of those 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree, with seven in the suburbs of the District of Columbia, three in Colorado and two in California;
- Starr, Tex. was found to have 95.9 percent of its population speaking Spanish at home, the biggest number by far;
- Counties with the lowest median household income included Owsley County, Ky., at $18,869, while counties or county equivalents with the highest median household income included Falls Church, Va., at $113,313;
- Only two other counties had median household incomes greater than $100,000–Fairfax and Loudoun counties, both in Virginia;
- Eighteen counties had a median household income below $25,000, and they were in Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia.
The data were based on a rolling annual sample survey mailed to about 3 million addresses between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2009.
The new 2005-2009 ACS estimates are not related to the 2010 Census population counts that will be released Dec. 21. The ACS complements the decennial count and provides estimates of population characteristics that are far more detailed than the basic demographic information that will be released from the 2010 Census, which will be available starting in February.
ACS five-year estimates on 72 topics can be downloaded for more than 670,000 geographic areas, including states, counties, cities, tribal areas and more. It’s a veritable feast for Rain Man and his ilk.
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