Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The American Community Survey (ACS) and the Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) ask respondents age 1 year and over whether they lived in the same residence 1 year ago. For people who lived in a different residence, the location of their previous residence is collected.
ACS uses a series of monthly samples to produce estimates. The 5-year dataset is used for the county-to-county migration flows since many counties have a population less than 20,000. Multiyear estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) are "period" estimates derived from a data sample collected over a period of time, as opposed to "point-in-time" estimates such as those from past decennial censuses. ACS 5-year estimate includes data collected over a 60-month period. The date of the data is the end of the 5-year period. For example, a value dated 2014 represents data from 2010 to 2014. However, they do not describe any specific day, month, or year within that time period.
Multiyear estimates require some considerations that single-year estimates do not. For example, multiyear estimates released in consecutive years consist mostly of overlapping years and shared data. The 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimates share sample data from 2011 through 2014 with the 2011-2015 ACS 5-year estimates. Because of this overlap, users should use extreme caution in making comparisons with consecutive years of multiyear estimates.
Please see "Section 3: Understanding and Using ACS Single-Year and Multiyear Estimates" on publication page 13 (file page 19) of the 2018 ACS General Handbook for a more thorough clarification.
U.S. Census Bureau, Net County-to-County Migration Flow (5-year estimate) for Essex County, MA [NETMIGNACS025009], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NETMIGNACS025009, February 7, 2023.