South Central Arc User Group


Established 1990

 Keynote Presentation


The 2010 Census:

10 Questions.  American Community Survey: Everything Else

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The 2010 Census asked just 10 questions.  But weren’t there a lot more in 2000?  What happened to the questions about income?  Poverty?  Education level?  Mortgage status?  Veterans status? Disability status?  Commuting patterns?  If your GIS network uses that data, what are you going to do now? 

Introducing the American Community Survey.  The US Census Bureau has transitioned the so called “long form” data from the once a decade Census to the annually updated American Community Survey (ACS), but that transition brings with it a mixed bag of benefits and complications.  Benefits: more current information due to annual data updates, and the ability to introduce new questions in-between Decennial Census years.  Complications: three sets of data (each with a different but valid value), and the introduction of a published margin of error.  And that’s just the beginning.

  • What are the differences between the ACS 1-year data set, 3-year data set, and 5-year data set? Some are simple, others are subtle…
  • Can you use the ACS to make valid comparisons over time? Well, it depends…
  • What happens to the data sets when the Census Bureau changes a question? Yes, it’s already happened once…   

Leaving the technical aspects of GIS to the experts, this presentation focuses instead on how ACS is about to have a dramatically expanded impact.  The transition to ACS data will reverberate across federal, state, and local government agencies, impact everything from grant application requirements to program operations.  It will alter how the private sector reviews demographics for business expansion and development.  And the transition will change how GIS administrators store and present data in their various networks.  Whether you are new to ACS or have already tested the waters, this should be an interesting discussion with opportunities for follow-up questions at the end.


Steve Barker

Program Manager, Oklahoma State Data Center

Sr. Research Analyst, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Research and Economic Analysis Division

Steve Barker joined the staff of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in October of 2005 and has been in his current position as Program Manager for the Oklahoma State Data Center since August of 2007.  In that role he functions as Oklahoma’s programmatic contact with the US Census Bureau’s Federal and State Cooperative for Population Estimates and the State Data Center network.  He is an expert at locating and understanding the most appropriate use of a variety of business, economic and demographic data sources with particular emphasis on data from the US Census Bureau.

In an earlier position with ODOC, Mr. Barker authored two extensive reports on workforce supply and demand, including the 2006 Report on Oklahoma’s Health Care Industry Workforce.  The Health Care Industry report was nationally recognized by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER, formerly known as ACCRA) as an outstanding example of applied community and economic research. He authored a similar report on Oklahoma’s Aerospace Industry and another report detailing age, gender and industry employment characteristics of Oklahoma’s workforce between 2000 and 2006. 

Prior to joining the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Mr. Barker worked for nearly ten years with financial controller responsibilities at a large, regional banking company in Oklahoma.  He holds an undergraduate degree in economics and an MBA, both from Oklahoma State University.


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