Finding, Acquiring, & Preparing Census Data
Data Services Librarian
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- Become familiar with four essential concepts for working with Census data
- Locate various sources of Census data
- Locate other complementary sources of large population data
A Brief Census History
Census in the Constitution
The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.
U.S. Const. art. I, § 2.
The Decennial Census
Door-to-door Census Enumerators
The Changing Census
What happens to Census data after 72 years?
Essential Census Concepts
- Aggregate data vs. microdata
- Census geographies
- 100% data vs. sample data
- Data definitions
- Short form census
- Most precision
- Fewest questions
- Census long form (2000 and before)
- American Community Survey
- Most information
- Make sure samples are comparable!
- Most common
- Tables of statistics
- Determined by government needs
- Smallest available geography: census "blocks"
- More difficult to obtain, or work with
- Not 100% complete
- Allows innovative use
- Available at the individual respondent level
print census records
historical data, microdata
historical data, easy access
quick access, current data
tidycensus in R
Complementary Data Sources
- United States
- Other countries
What would you like to explore using Census data? What other datasets would you like to combine with Census data?
- Most images courtesy United States Census Bureau except:
- Census Geography image courtsey MIT Libraries
- Government Documents image courtesy San Jose State University Libraries
- All logos courtesy of the respective organization
Census Data for 2021 J-Term Data Science
By Ryan Clement