Census Bureau Data

Today marks the start of a series of major data releases from the Census Bureau that will continue over the next few years.  These data will have broad application and users will start looking for the data pretty soon, so I hope the following is helpful!

1. Today, 12/14/10, marks the release of the American Community Survey 5-year Estimates. This dataset is the first since 2000 to provide data for Census Tracts (small areas of about 4,000 people) on economics, demographics, housing, income, family relationships and quite a bit more.  See the profile for the University of Minnesota (Census Tract 1049) for an example: http://z.umn.edu/24r

2. The State Demographic Center provides access to MN subsets of Census data as well as guides to how to use the various datasets and organizes their information by topic: http://www.demography.state.mn.us/ I use this site all the time and recommend it.

3. For those working at service points, an increasingly common data request is for characteristics of the Somali population.  This information remains extremely limited and the most recent release provides no additional information.  See https://www.lib.umn.edu/faq/5340 for more detail.

4. On 12/21/10, the first data from the 2010 Census will be released. This is when we find out if we keep all 8 of our Congressional seats or not. In anticipation, the Census Bureau has developed this nifty tool showing historical population changes that is fun in its own right, but also probably useful at service points: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/

5. I am always glad to assist with Census questions (including those generated by this message). The Census Bureau is improving its web resources, but some questions are just a bear and it's not always obvious at the outset whether you're about to embark on an epic journey :) 

Happy Data Mining!

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.   - Herm Albright

Amy West
Data Services Librarian
10 Wilson Library
University of Minnesota
309 - 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0414 

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