July 27, 2010

Federal Funding and the American Community Survey

Data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey help guide the distribution of 29% of federal domestic assistance spending and 69% of federal grant spending, according to a new Brookings Institution report. In dollar figures, that was $416 billion in assistance spending and $389.2 billion in grant funding during the 2008 fiscal year.

The report explains how the ACS, a monthly household survey that replaced the once-a-decade census long form, guides the distribution of funds. It argues that the nation receives a substantial return from taxpayer investment in the ACS because of its function in equitable distribution of federal money. The report is accompanied by a slide presentation from a Capitol Hill briefing that summarizes its main points. The report web site also includes a table listing the federal programs whose funds are guided by the ACS data, and a list of funding received in each state as well as large counties and metropolitan areas.

In March, Brookings released a report documenting the range of federal programs whose funding distribution is guided by census data.