Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

PSYCH 325: Detroit Initiative

Fall 2021 taught by Professor Cathryn Fabian

Getting Started

Welcome to the library research guide for Psych 325. The information and resources here are intended to support the Statistical Profile of the Neighborhood paper.

Use the navigation menu on the left to access guide content.

Major Census Demographic Data Programs

Decennial Census

The decennial census is a constitutionally mandated count of the population of the U.S. which is conducted by the government every ten years. The count is used for apportioning Congressional seats, as well as many other purposes, such as demographic research, allocating funding, and informing public policy.

  • Every household
  • Short survey
  • New data every 10 years

American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing sample survey that provides more detailed information about the population. It started in 2005, replacing the "long form" sample survey that accompanied the decennial census.

  • Ongoing sample survey
  • Long survey
  • New data released every year

What's in the American Community Survey?


Demographic Characteristics Social Characteristics Economic Characteristics Housing Characteristics
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Race
  • Hispanic Origin
  • Household relationship
  • Ancestry
  • Citizenship
  • Disability
  • Education
  • Fertility
  • Grandparents as caregivers
  • Language
  • Marital history
  • Marital status
  • Migration/residence 1 year ago
  • Place of birth
  • School enrollment
  • Undergraduate field of degree
  • Veteran status
  • Year of entry
  • Class of worker
  • Commuting (journey to work) and place of work
  • Employment status
  • Food stamps
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Income and earnings
  • Industry and occupation
  • Poverty status
  • Work status last year


  • Bedrooms
  • Computer and Internet use
  • House heating fuel
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Occupancy/vacancy status
  • Occupants per room
  • Plumbing facilities
  • Rent
  • Rooms
  • Selected monthly owner costs
  • Telephone service
  • Tenure (owner/renter)
  • Units in structure
  • Value of home
  • Vehicles available
  • Year householder moved into unit
  • Year structure built

Detailed information available from

Census video: American Community Survey: Why You Should Respond

Geographic Areas for Community Statistics

Statistics for geographic areas may be available based on either legal/political boundaries or statistical geographies (Census geographic entities). Note that boundaries may change over time, as cities annex surrounding areas or populations change.

Legal Boundaries Statistical / Census Geographies

for example...




for example...


Metropolitan Statistical Areas

Places (cities)

Census Tracts

Census Block Groups

Census Blocks

The smaller the geographic area and the more specific the variable - the likelihood of having data unavailable for privacy reasons increases.


What is a Census Tract?

"Census tracts are small, relatively permanent geographic entities within counties (or the statistical equivalents of counties) delineated by a committee of local data users. Generally, census tracts have between 2,500 and 8,000 residents and boundaries that follow visible features. When first established, census tracts are to be as homogeneous as possible with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions." (Source: Geographic Areas Reference Manual)

What are Census Blocks and Block Groups?

"Census blocks, the smallest geographic area for which the Bureau of the Census collects and tabulates decennial census data, are formed by streets, roads, railroads, streams and other bodies of water, other visible physical and cultural features, and the legal boundaries shown on Census Bureau maps. ... A Block Group is a combination of census blocks that is a subdivision of a census tract." (Source: Geographic Areas Reference Manual)