Tim Henderson, Pew Stateline


thenderson@stateline.org @TimHendersonSL


Beyond Census: 10  Alternative Demographics Sources in 10 minutes


1. Gauge population growth fast with building permits

  • Census uses building permits as one measure to estimate population -- you can get ahead of the estimates by checking 

Sources: Census building permits


  • Local planners -- example for Miami-Dade, Florida 




2. What kind of place are you? Find your area's classification and compare it to similar ones

* CDC Rural classification codes for counties-- center of a large city? Medium city? Rural?  

Sources: CDC county classifications


* USDA County Typology Codes -- farm-dependent? Persistent poverty? Manufacturing? Recreational?




3. County parcel maps and data

With a good mapping program -- such as the free QGIS.org -- or just database tools, you can use county parcel maps and data for many purposes on deadline -- including gauging the result of disasters like hurricanes or just verifying owners names for background 

County parcel or "cadastral" data -- ask for GIS or assessors department in your county 



4. Voter registration 

Voter registration data is huge for gaining insight into your community's demographics and the impact on politics. Best case: It's freely and available statewide; worst case, it's not available at all unless through political operatives. 

New York state example: 


5. Hispanic names list

If, like many areas, your county does not ask about Hispanic status on voter registration, you can still estimate Hispanic registration using a list of Hispanic names generated by the Census. 



6. IRS County to County

Another way to gauge who's moving in and out of your area and what their finances are like.  


7. Central American migration

One group of migrants you might not realize are coming to your county -- mostly Central American children found alone at the border  


Find your local state family court hearings on SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status)

Story http://pew.org/2Ft430N

8. Refugees

Refugees are constantly being settled by volunteer agencies who choose places based on affordability of housing and availability of jobs. You can find the agencies settling in your area and what kinds of people are arriving and why.


9. Births

Birth data is the leading edge of demographic change because people tend to move and immigrate during child bearing years. Access varies by state -- they might be considered public or as confidential health information


10. Data Quicksand

Make sure to check your analysis of even promising-looking data with experienced users and scholars. Example: state by state data on teen driver's licenses


Claims to show licenses by age but the data is useless because of different ways states classify temporary and restricted licenses now issued to some ages.





Beyond Census: Tim Henderson slides

By Tim Henderson

Beyond Census: Tim Henderson slides

Beyond Census 3 p.m. Saturday March 10, 2019 at NICAR 2018, Chicago

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