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The Census Bureau is allowed to release 1-year ACS estimates for census area with more than 65,000 people (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Use_Microdata_Area).

My understanding is that, for good reasons, the bureau does not create new census areas with just enough (65,000+) people in order to maximize the amount of yearly data they can release (for one thing, such areas would change as population changes and quickly become useless for comparison purposes). Instead, they look at all their preexisting subdivisions, and release a 1-year estimate of ACS variables if that area contains more than 65,000. Is that correct?

If so:

  • What would be the type of census areas and cities where I am most likely to get the best coverage for ACS yearly data?
    • Obviously the denser the city, the better. But can I find cities and geographic levels that would give me a better resolution than PUMAs?
    • For example, if I looked at the Chicago area, what geographical level would give me (1) the smallest possible geographical resolution while (2) roughly covering the whole Chicago area?
    • Any hopes that County Subdivisions or maybe School Districts would offer a finer resolution than PUMAs?
  • According to census.gov/geo/reference/puma.html PUMAs are "built on census tracts and counties" and "Cover the entirety of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands", so I think they are sets of tracts, not just large existing subdivisions. – Barry Carter Oct 1 '18 at 4:08

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