ACS 5-Year 2011-2015 Low- and Moderate-Income Summary Data

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program requires that each CDBG funded activity must either principally benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or meet a community development need having a particular urgency. Most activities funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program are designed to benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) persons. That benefit may take the form of housing, jobs, and services. Additionally, activities may qualify for CDBG assistance if the activity will benefit all the residents of a primarily residential area where at least 51 percent of the residents are low- and moderate-income persons, i.e. area-benefit (LMA). [Certain exception grantees may qualify activities as area-benefit with fewer LMI persons than 51 percent.]

The Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) provides estimates of the number of persons that can be considered Low-, Low- to Moderate-, and Low-, Moderate-, and Medium-income persons based on special tabulations of data from the 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates. The Low- and Moderate-Income Summary Data may be used by CDBG grantees to determine whether or not a CDBG-funded activity qualifies as an LMA activity. The LMI percentages are calculated at various principal geographies provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. CPD provides the following datasets:

  • Geographic Summary Level "150": Census Tract-Block Group.
    • The block groups are associated with the HUD Unit-of-Government-Identification-Code for the FY 2019 CDBG grantee jurisdiction that is associated with each block group.
  • Local government jurisdictions include; Summary Level 160: Incorporated Cities and Census-Designated Places, i.e. "Places", Summary Level 170: Consolidated Cities, Summary Level 050: County, and Summary Level 060: County Subdivision geographies.

In the data files, these geographies are identified by their Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) codes and names for the place, consolidated city, or block group, county subdivision, county, and state.

The statistical information used in the calculation of estimates identified in the data sets comes from two sources: 1) the 2011-2015 American Community Survey (ACS), and 2) the Income Limits for Metropolitan Areas and for Non Metropolitan Counties. The data necessary to determine an LMI percentage for an area is not published in the publicly-available ACS data tables. Therefore, the Bureau of Census matches family size, income, and the income limits in a special tabulation to produce the estimates.

Estimates are provided at three income levels: Low Income (up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)); Moderate Income (greater than 50 percent AMI and up to 80 percent AMI), and Medium Income (greater than 80 percent AMI and up to 120 AMI). HUD is publishing the margin of error (MOE) data for all block groups and all places in the 2015 ACS LMISD. These data are provided within the LMISD tables. Under the 2010 ACS LMISD, HUD previously published a separate table with the MOE data only for those Places with MOEs of 20 percent or more.

The MOE does not provide an expanded range for compliance. For example, a service area of 50 percent LMI with a 2 percent MOE would still be just 50 percent LMI for compliance purposes. However, the 2 percent MOE would inform the grantee about the accuracy of the ACS data before undergoing the effort and cost of conducting a local income survey, which is the alternative using the HUD-provided data.

In addition to informing the decision to do a local income survey, CPD Notice 19-02 also explains a new policy about the accuracy of surveys conducted pursuant to CPD Notice 14-013.

Data for the Insular Areas is not available from the 2011-2015 ACS. Therefore, these Insular Area LMISD continue to be based on the 2010 Decennial Census Summary Files of Outlying Areas.

Questions about the calculation of the estimates may be directed to Formula Help Desk.

Questions about the use of the data should be directed to the staff of the CPD Field Office.