New American Community Survey Provides Data For Houston Metro Area

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its newest American Community Survey numbers. The annual survey for the first time includes data for specific ZIP codes. From the KUHF NewsLab, Florian Martin has more.

The American Community Survey, or ACS, collects information such as age, race, income, home value and commute times on a national as well as local level.

Today’s release is a five-year survey presenting data collected from 2007 through 2011.

Scott Boggess is a senior demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It allows data users to go all the way down to the neighborhood level, to look at the characteristics of their neighborhoods, to look at neighborhood diversity across a city, or to look at diversity of cities or counties across a metropolitan area.”

For the first time since the 2000 Census, users can find these sets of data for their ZIP code tabulation area, or ZCTA. ZCTAs are a close approximation of the U.S. postal service’s ZIP codes.

Boggess says this especially helps the real estate community and the health delivery community. But the data is used for many different purposes.

“We collect it primarily for planning, but a wide range of people use this data for all kinds of things. High school students use it for writing social studies papers, researchers use this to look at income inequality and residential segregation and lots of other characteristics like that.”

Nationally, there are two major trends highlighted by the American Community Survey. One is the growth of the Hispanic population, something that is mirrored here in the Houston area.

“The other big demographic change is the aging of the baby boomers, and you’re hearing a lot about that today as we discuss the fiscal cliff and the expected increases in spending for Social Security and Medicare as the baby boomers get older and older.”

To view data for Houston and your neighborhood, go to


Here are some selected highlights for the Houston metro from the survey:

  • About 6.6 percent of the enrolled population 3 and older in the Houston metropolitan area were enrolled in preschool or nursery school. In Sienna Plantation, 16.3 percent were enrolled, among the highest in the area. Among towns at the other end of the spectrum was Prairie View, where 0.9 percent were enrolled.
  • In Jacinto City, 80.5 percent of people 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home, among the highest in the metro area. Among the lowest was Prairie View, at 8.0 percent. For the area as a whole, the corresponding rate was 36.8 percent.
  • In West University Place, 85.5 percent of people 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree, among the highest in the metro area. Among the lowest was Aldine, at 1.9 percent. For the metro area as a whole, 28.7 percent had a bachelor’s degree.
  • In Sealy, 26.6 percent of the civilian employed population 16 and older worked in the manufacturing industry, among the highest in the area. Among the places at the opposite end of the spectrum was Humble, where 4.0 percent did so. Area-wide, the corresponding rate was 11.0 percent.
  • The percentage of males 15 and older who were married (not including those who were separated) was 74.6 percent in Sienna Plantation, and the corresponding percentage for females was 74.5 percent in Greatwood. Both were among the highest in the metro area. The percentages were not significantly different from one another. In Prairie View, 16.4 percent of males were married and 12.3 percent of females were married. Both were among the lowest in the metro area. The percentages were not significantly different from one another.
  • In Tomball, 15.2 percent of households had a person 65 and older who lived alone, among the highest in the metro area. In Four Corners, the corresponding percentage was 0.8 percent, among the lowest. Area-wide, the corresponding rate was 5.8 percent.


Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

More Information