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Library Research Guides

U.S. Census and Demographic Information

A general guide to understanding and finding demographic data produced by the U.S. Census Bureau

More about the American Community Survey

The ACS is an ongoing sample survey which began in 2005.  It goes to about 3% of households in a given year, as compared to the decennial census long form which went to 1 in 6 households once every 10 years.  It covers more topics than the decennial census.  Questions asked cover:

•age
•sex
•race
•family and relationships
•income and benefits
•health insurance
•education
•veteran status
•disabilities
•where you work and how you get there
•where you live and how much you pay for some essentials
•and other topics related to people, households, families and housing

List of Codes

Do I use the 1 year, 3 year or 5 year ACS estimates?

Which estimates you depends on the size of you're geography.  If you want census tracts you'll need 5 year estimates.

Get Data via American Factfinder

American Factfiner is the Census Bureau's main portal for accessing Census data. A new version of American Factfinder was released in January 2011.  Data sets will be migrated from Legacy Factfinder to the new Factfinder through fall 2011.  Legacy Factfinder will go dark in January 2012.

Guide to Using American Factfinder for US Census Data

For help identifying census geographies, e.g. all census tracts in a place

Get data and Make Maps with Social Explorer