Past Meetup

RVA Data Hackers: Up and Running with the American Community Survey


Every 3rd Tuesday of the month

804RVA: Fan Gallery

1657 West Broad Street · Richmond, VA

How to find us

Across the street from Lowe's! Street parking available after 5pm

Location image of event venue


What jobs do Americans hold? What languages do we speak? What kinds of houses do we live in? What cars do we drive? Are we married? Rich? Poor? Young? Old? And how are these demographics changing over time?

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey of households across the country that attempts to answer these and other questions. Each year, the Census Bureau polls millions of random people to ask about how we live now. The ACS goes beyond the Census to delve deeper into what America looks like year by year.

Think it doesn't matter? Think again. ACS data is used by federal and state agencies to determine how, where, when, and how much government funds are spent each year. It's used by businesses, researchers, and local governments for planning and decision-making. It may be the most important survey most of us have never heard of. ACS data is an invaluable resource for those who want to understand the past, present, and future of American households. And best of all, it's free and available to the public.

But ACS data can be daunting to the newcomer. In this talk, Open Data evangelist Albert Bowden will give a brief history of the survey, explaining some differences between ACS and the Census along the way. He'll give examples of how ACS is used today in government and commercial applications. And, he'll show you what you need to know before using ACS and how to access ACS data to accomplish your goals.

About Albert

Albert Bowden is a web developer by trade, civic hacker by choice, dedicated to supporting the Open Web and all facets of Openness.

About Data Hackers

RVA Data Hackers is a community of data professionals and enthusiasts who meet regularly to develop skills and learn about tools and techniques for working with data. We discuss how to find, organize, understand and serve data sets large and small. We'll cover anything related to 'big data' -- machine learning, artificial intelligence and architectures to scale data processing for the Internet. If you're interested in machine learning algorithms, data analysis, natural language processing, or managing big data, this group is for you. Topics vary from basic concepts to demonstrations of real-world implementations and everything in between. Our mission is to foster a local community of experienced, practicing experts. We're here to have fun, share and learn about an exciting field of computer science.

We meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the 804RVA co-working space in Richmond, Virginia.