IRE and NICAR have collected extensive resources for journalists covering the 2010 Census and the ongoing American Community Survey. New material will be added as it becomes available. Thanks to the Gannett Foundation for its support of IRE's Census training programs.
Getting the data
SF-1 Detailed Summary Data:
The IRE Census Data website provides journalists a simpler way to access the detailed census data in the SF-1 tables and to compare different geographies. The site provides the latest 2010 data for states, counties, cities and towns (“places” in Census-speak), and census tracts. The amount of change (or “delta”) since 2000 will also be included where possible. Users will begin by selecting the areas they are interested in and viewing data for those areas side by side on the website. The data for the selected areas can then be downloaded in CSV or JSON formats for use with other programs such as Excel.
The site can be accessed here. Data for all 50 states is now available.
For more information on this data visit the Census Bureau's website.
Thanks to the following journalists for their time and expertise: Brian Boyer, Joe Germuska and Chris Groskopf of The Chicago Tribune; Jeremy Ashkenas and Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times; Paul Overberg of USA Today; Curt Merrill of CNN; Matt Waite of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Mike Tigas of the Spokesman-Review.
This project was made possible by generous funding from the Donald. W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.
Note: The code for the site is available on github.
Through a new partnership with USA TODAY, IRE members will be able to download customized tables for their state with Census 2010 redistricting data. USA TODAY, through IRE members Anthony DeBarros and Paul Overberg, has arranged to share the data that its Census team will make analysis-ready. This arrangement will mean that IRE members will have access to data that has already been extracted and processed to focus on the portions that journalists are most likely to use for analysis. This will include Excel and CSV files breaking down data at several levels, including state, counties, cities, tracts, school districts, legislative and voting districts, and more. Additionally, the USA TODAY team will include basic comparable data from the 2000 Census for selected geographies. For tracts, the tables account for changes in geographic boundaries between 2000 and 2010. Full information is available here. (Must log in with your IRE membership ID.)
Use this spreadsheet to calculate medians for geographies with Census data. The spreadsheet provides straightforward directions and was put together by Steve Doig, Arizona State University, and Meghan Hoyer The Virginian-Pilot.
- Webinars: In a partnership with the McCormick Foundation, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University brought in 17 top journalists, data experts and census specialists to host seminars for journalists reporting on the census. All 17 sessions of "Going Deep with Census Demographic and Economic Data" can be viewed online for free.
- Webinars: IRE has two census webinars available for purchase and download. The Census 2010 webinar is available for download here. It gives an overview of the census, its uses, a guide to geographic levels, how to get the data and loads of story ideas. In addition, IRE has produced a webinar on the American Community Survey that is available for download here. It covers the ACS, an every-year census survey filled with rich demographic data. Download each webinar for $5 apiece (IRE members) or $10 apiece (nonmembers).
- CAR boot camps: Intensive boot camps to learn spreadsheet and database software – invaluable for crunching census data – will be held in January and March (dates to be announced) at IRE headquarters at the University of Missouri.
- CAR Conference: Several panels will discuss working with the data and hands-on classes will teach the skills needed to analyze data at the conference held in St. Louis Feb. 23-26, 2012.
- American Communities Project: This effort, led by John Logan at Brown University,includes research on various topics using census data, along with online mapping.
- Brookings Institution: The nonpartisan public policy group conducts extensive research and data analysis. Census data will be useful on a variety of topics.
- Carsey Institute: This University of New Hampshire center does extensive demographic analysis.
- City University of New York census mapping: The Center for Urban Research at CUNY’s Graduate Center plans a national online, interactive mapping service. Users will be able to zoom in on their community to quickly map population patterns and key characteristics since the 2000 Census. The free service will be patterned on the “CensusHard to Count 2010” project. Watch the center’s website at www.urbanresearch.org for details on the new national service.
- City University of New York race/ethnicity maps: The Center for Urban Research at CUNY’s Graduate Center created interactive maps that show the race and ethnic changes in select cities in the U.S. The maps use a slider technique to show the "before and after" of the demographic changes between 2000 and 2010. Maps for the following cities are available: Boston, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston , Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Additional resources can be found here.
- National Bureau of Economic Research: This research group uses census and other data to analyze economic trends and topics.
- Pew Research Center: This nonprofit organization maintains an “All Things Census” site for detailed analysis.
- Population Association of America: Scientific research on population issues, trends and demographics are featured on this site.
- Population Reference Bureau: Population, health and the environment are key research areas for this organization.
- Population Studies Center: This center at the University of Michigan has a special census section with resources, links, experts and tools for analysis.
- State data centers: The Census Bureau works with data centers in all 50 states to process census information. Many of the offices analyze census data and post results online. A searchable list of state data center sources and office contacts is online at http://www.sdcbidc.iupui.edu/network_members.html.
- US 2010: America in the First Decade of the New Century: Fourteen research teams from across the counry will focus research on changes in American society. The site will include data for the entire nation that can be downloaded and mapped.
IRE Journal Stories:
- American Community Survey measures how we live and work (PDF) (Members Only)
Story by Paul Overberg of USA Today that overviews key features in the American Community Survey, with advice to journalists on stories.
- Back to Basics: 2010 Census Form Focuses on Key Data (PDF) (Members Only)
Story by Steve Doig of Arizona State University that sets up key changes with the 2010 census data and stories that journalists can do when the numbers arrive. For the Fall 2010 IRE Journal.
- Diving Deep with PUMS (PDF) (Members Only)
Story by Ron Campbell of the Orange County Register about Public Use Microdata Sample data from the Census Bureau for custom slicing and dicing beyond what’s available in American FactFinder.
- Census Nuts and Bolts: Tipsheet 3361 (PDF)
Steve Doig of Arizona State University gives an overview of the 2010 census and discusses the questions covered by the census form. He outlines the categories covered by "race" on the census form. He also addresses the American Community Survey.
- The Blob: How to break down massive census releases and convert chaos into stories: Tipsheet 3460 (PDF) (Members Only)
The New York Times' Robert Gebeloff gives tips on how to manage the the incredible amount of data available thru the census. He describes what is available, and gives recommendations about how to approach and make sense of it for your reporting.
- Census 2010: A Survivor's Guide: Tipsheet 3484 (PDF) (Members Only)
In a data dump that will deliver 100 billion numbers, the Orange County Register's Ronald Campbell walks you through downloading and analyzing the overwhelming wealth of material provided by the 2010 Census.
- American FactFinder: Gateway to the 2010 Census: Tipsheet 3488 (PDF) (Members Only)
The Orange County Register's Ronald Campbell walks us through the new American FactFinder site which hosts all 2010 Census data (and should include older data by September 2011). He provides tricks and tips of navigating the data and the types of reports you can get from the site.
- ACS Guckian: Tipsheet No. 2746 (PDF) (Members Only)
Kelly Guckian of the San Antonio Express-News explains the uses of the U.S. Census Bureau's Factfinder. She also provides a detailed explanation of how to use the information in the American Community Survey.
- Census Lookups and Quick Facts: Tipsheet 3367 (PDF) (Members Only)
Alex Richards of the Las Vegas Sun provides an overview of some of the data available on American FactFinder – a gateway to census and American Community Survey data.
- Finding the Right Spigot on ACS: Tipsheet 3204 (PDF) (Members Only)
Paul Overberg of USA TODAY details how to find the information you're looking for on FactFinder (factfinder.census.gov). He gives examples of several types of information you can find – and where to find it – on the daunting but useful website.
- Getting the Most Out of Census Website: Tipsheet 3321 (PDF) (Members Only)
Jennifer LaFleur of ProPublica describes the myriad uses for census data, including details on Census Bureau surveys including the decennial census, American Community Survey and current population survey. Census information is dense, so LaFleur helps show how to navigate the various levels of data available.
- No-Cost Demographic Data: Tipsheet 3350 (PDF) (Members Only)
This tipsheet covers the demographic data available through ESRI that includes information about the people, housing and businesses in a given location. Business Analyst Online (BAO) allows the user to investigate demographic patterns and compare areas using interactive maps.
- Stats for Stories: Tipsheet 2752 (PDF) (Members Only)
How to use statistics properly, including how to compute a diversity index and Gini coefficient. Jennifer LaFleur of ProPublica and David Donald of the Center for Public Integrity provide tips on how to analyze, organize and understand all things data-related in order to find statistics within the information. They give detailed explanations of types of data that reporters will encounter, and explain how to work with and break down all of the different parts.
Census Bureau Resources:
- 2010 Bilingual Questionnaire Info Copy (PDF)
Spanish and English versions of the 2010 form.
- 2010 Bilingual Questionnaire Maps (PDF)
Maps and information showing where bilingual Census 2010 forms were distributed by census region.
- 2010 Census and American Community Survey Subjects Notebook (PDF)
A 107-page document detailing all of the subjects covered in the 2010 Census and American Community Survey, along with how the questions help meet community needs and those of federal programs.
- 2010 Data Products (PDF)
This detailed two-page table shows release dates and descriptions for Census 2010 data, profiles, tables and reports.
- 2010 Data Profile Draft (PDF)
A detailed look at how the Census Bureau will break down information and categories for its Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics for different levels of geography.
- 2010 Questionnaire Info (PDF)
The official 2010 Census questionnaire sent to all households.
- 2010 Summary Tables (Excel)
An Excel spreadsheet file showing the final design and layout of the Summary File 1 files for Census 2010. These tables will be produced for various geographic levels, such as states, counties, cities and census tracts.
- 2010 American Community Survey Questionnaire (PDF)
The official 2010 American Community Survey questionnaire.
- 2010 American Community Surve Questionnaire Guide (PDF)
A 16-page guide to understanding the American Community Survey.
- Geography and Data Products Table (Excel)
A chart showing which data products will be available for which geographies for 5-year ACS data.
- 5-Year Tables 2005 - 2009 (Excel)
An extensive spreadsheet with the layout of detailed tables for the 5-year ACS.
- 2009 Technical Documentation (PDF)
Technical Documentation for the ACS 1-yer summary file.
- 2009 Subject Definitions (PDF)
A 159-page guide with detailed descriptions and definitions of all subjects in the ACS.
- Research Changes Note (PDF)
Changes to the American Community Survey between 2007 and 2008 and potential effect on the estimates of Hispanic origin type, nativity, race and language.
- Proposal for 5-Year Products (PDF)
Proposals from the Census Bureau for which data products will be available for the 5-year ACS data.
- 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Excel)
A spreadsheet showing the design of 2010 Census redistricting data (Public Law 94-171 summary file)