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Census Bureau Releases 2009-2011 American Community Survey Estimates

Also Releasing Two Briefs on Marital Events of Group Quarters Population and Multigenerational Households


The U.S. Census Bureau today released the latest findings from the American Community Survey, the primary source of small-area estimates available on a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the country and in Puerto Rico. The estimates released today cover a three-year period from 2009 to 2011 and are available for areas with a population of 20,000 or more.

In addition, the Census Bureau is releasing two briefs based on these new estimates, focusing on subpopulations better measured using the larger three-year sample of data files. One brief covers recent marital events in group quarters (military quarters, adult correctional facilities and nursing facilities) and the other is about multigenerational households (three or more generations living together).

“The American Community Survey estimates provide timely local demographic, economic, social and housing statistics for small communities across the country and in Puerto Rico to a wide range of users,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director. “The results are used by everyone from retailers and homebuilders to town and city planners. The statistics are indispensable to anyone who has to make decisions in the communities.”

Since the first census in 1790, conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, census questions have collected information on the demographic characteristics of the nation's people.

The survey is the primary source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, income, poverty, occupation, language, nativity, ancestry and homeownership.

2009-2011 American Community Survey Briefs

Marital Events of Selected Group Quarters Populations: 2009-2011

This brief examines statistics from the 2009-2011 American Community Survey on marriage, divorce and widowhood in the past year among people living in group quarters, such as military quarters, adult correctional facilities and nursing facilities.

The following highlights come from the Marital Events of Selected Group Quarters Populations: 2009-2011:

• A higher percentage of married people living in military quarters got married in the past year (39 percent), compared with 8 percent in adult correctional facilities, 1 percent in nursing facilities and 4 percent in households. This is mainly because those in military quarters were much younger.

• Nine percent of currently divorced adults in correctional facilities got divorced in the last 12 months.

• The ever-married population in adult correctional facilities was more likely to have been married three or more times (7 percent) than those living in households or nursing facilities (5 percent).

Multigenerational Households: 2009-2011

This brief provides information by state on three types of multigenerational households, by race or Hispanic origin of the householder, and examines multigenerational households as a percentage of family households by county.

The following highlights come from Multigenerational Households: 2009-2011:

• There were more than 76 million family households in the United States. Of these, about 4.3 million (5.6 percent) were multigenerational households.

• Hawaii had the highest percentage of multigenerational households, accounting for 11.1 percent of all family households in that state.

• More than 85 percent of states where the percentage of family households that were multigenerational exceeded the national average were in the South or West.

• Among multigenerational households, the majority (64.6 percent) included a householder, a child of the householder and a grandchild of the householder. Thirty-four percent contained a householder, a parent or parent-in-law and a child. Only 1.7 percent contained a parent or parent-in-law, a householder, a child of the householder and a grandchild of the householder.

• The percentage of family households that were multigenerational ranged from 3.7 percent for non-Hispanic white alone households to 13.0 percent for Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone households.

For More Information

See detailed population, economic and housing data from the Census Bureau’s database to find statistics for your area.

To learn more about how the statistics from the American Community Survey are used by different sectors in the community, including state and local government, federal agencies, businesses, researchers and the public please visit: .

Additional American Community Survey Results

On Dec. 6, the Census Bureau will release the five-year ACS statistics, available for all geographic areas regardless of population size, down to the block group level. These estimates will cover data collected between 2007 and 2011. Embargo subscribers will have access to the estimates on Dec. 4.

Additional short reports, or briefs, will be released through the end of 2012 and into early 2013. Topics covered include veterans, people with disabilities, public assistance, commuting, poverty and household sharing, the structural characteristics of housing and mixed-nativity married-couple households.


As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult

the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to


Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See for more information on changes affecting the 2011 statistics. See for guidance on comparing 2011 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census.


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