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Making Sense of the Census ๐Ÿก ๐Ÿ“Š

October 25, 2023

These slides were modified from Max Palmer.

Agenda

  • What is the Census? What is the Census Bureau?
  • What is in the Decennial Census and ACS?
  • Where can I find Census Data?
  • Census Geography
  • Race and Ethnicity in the Census
  • Census API Tutorial

What is the Census? What is the Census Bureau?

  • Census Bureau is an โ€œagencyโ€ โ€” the part of the federal government responsible for collecting data about the American people and the economy.
  • Decennial Census
  • The American Community Survey (ACS)
  • Other Surveys/Programs
  • Established by the US Constitution

What is in the Decennial Census and ACS?

  • Decennial Census (collected every 10 years)
    • Sex; age; Hispanic origin; race
    • Main Function: provide counts of people for the purpose of congressional apportionment
  • American Community Survey (collected every year)
    • more data than decennial
    • 1 year, 5 year
    • Main Function: measure the changing social and economic characteristics of our population (in terms of education, housing, jobs, and more)
  • Estimations

Where can I find Census Data?

Census Geography

  • Main geography for census is TIGER/Line. Set of shapefiles/geodatabases. Census also produces Cartographic Boundary files.
    • Good for mapping but not detailed geographic analysis.
  • Census geography is organized around the census block
    • Blocks cover entire area of United States
    • Blocks do not overlap
    • Nested within block groups, tracts, counties, and states
    • Legislative districts assembled from blocks
  • Other geographies may not align perfectly with blocks/census geography

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