Department of Commerce
Attn: Jennifer Jessup
Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer
14th and Constitution Avenue N., Room 6616
Washington, DC 20230
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey Content Review Results
Dear Ms. Jessup:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the content review results of the American Community Survey (ACS) and the proposed removal of questions. We appreciate the Department of Commerce’s efforts to reduce burden on survey respondents by weighing the benefits and costs of questions included in the survey. The ACS is an important instrument for measuring the economic and social conditions in this country, and soliciting public input on changes is appropriate and necessary.
However, we have concerns over the Department’s assessment of Question No. 12 asking respondents to “print below the specific major(s) of any BACHELOR’S DEGREES this person has received.” We cannot agree that Question No. 12 qualifies as a “low benefit” question. We strongly urge the Department to commit to retaining this question in all future editions of the ACS.
Question No. 12 allows researchers to explore two primary issues:
- Relationships between college major and other economic outcomes, including labor force participation, earnings, and industry of employment.
- Trends in the demographic composition and popularity of college majors, particularly to inform economic development and workforce investment strategies, as well as postsecondary education policies.
Students, families, advocates, the research community at large, and colleges and universities themselves already face many challenges stemming from the lack of available data linking education and workforce outcomes. Removing this question from a crucial annual survey will only exacerbate those challenges...Read more.