The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides census data each year –costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars per year to conduct. Though the survey provides critical data for businesses and government funded programs, the folks on Capitol Hill are considering axing,or at least weakening, the program soon amid heightening privacy concerns and in the process benefit from a tiny dent in the mountain of government debt. It’s no surprise that this idea has been controversial, though, as the change will likely hit the small business community hard.
Aside from the fact that the survey determines how over $400 billion government dollars are allocated each year, small businesses rely on accurate economic data to help with a number of day to day operations. Some might use it to learn about where large numbers of their target markets are residing so they know where to focus their marketing messages or to even tailor marketing pitches to different areas in each community. It just wouldn’t make sense for a small business that supplies products geared towards the parents of young children to invest in a billboard ad in an area prominently made up of retired Baby Boomers.
Maybe even more importantly, though, small businesses find census data helpful when looking into where to open new locations for their business. A potential franchisee would be well served to look into community data before purchasing an existing franchise in a neighborhood in which he’s never done business.
So far, over 1,600 people have signed a petition (and have sent over 3,600 emails and letters) to Congress hoping to save the survey.
How do you feel about the proposed plan to do away with the survey? Will you sign the petition?