Pandora's box: The potential and peril of migration data from the American community survey

Rachel S. Franklin, David A. Plane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The collection, dissemination, and availability of migration data for the United States are poised for an enormous change: the full-scale launch of the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is set to replace the long-form sample data previously collected as part of the decennial census. For migration researchers, the new survey offers the possibility of more frequently gathered migration data at a variety of spatial scales, along with annual information about the characteristics of migrants themselves. As with any shift in a data-collection process, however, the ACS could, in some aspects, fall short of what we already have. In this article, the authors first suggest elements of the ideal migration data set. They then examine the real potential, and the possible perils, of the ACS as compared to migration data researchers are already accustomed to working with. In addition to highlighting what the new ACS will (and will not) offer, the authors suggest that now is the time for regional scientists to address their basic migration data needs and to take action to ensure those needs are met.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Regional Science Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • American Community Survey
  • Migration
  • Migration data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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