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Government Resources: Census

This guide will assist you in locating government document tools to assist in your research needs.

U.S. Census

  • What Data the Census Bureau Collects & When?

  • How the Data is Used?

    --to determine the distribution of Congressional seats to states--

    • mandated by the U.S. Constitution
    • used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
    • used to define legislature districts, school district assignment areas and other important functional areas of government

     Find out about the 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program.

    --to make decisions about what community services to provide

      For example, changes in your community are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to:

    • provide services for the elderly
    • where to build new roads and schools
    • or where to locate job training centers
    • to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year

    --Census data affects how funding is allocated to communities for:

    • neighborhood improvements
    • public health
    • education
    • transportation
    • and much more
    • to provide Age Searchinformation for:
      • Qualifying for Social Security and other retirement benefits
      • Passport applications
      • Proving relationship in settling estates
      • Researching family history or a historical topic

Selected Websites

  • American FactFinder
    Provides population, housing, economic and geographic data from four key data programs: Decennial Census of Housing and Population - 1990 and 2000; Economic Census 1997 and 2002; American Community Survey - 1996-2002; and Population Estimates Program - July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2002.
  • CenStats Databases
    Datasets that include:

    American FactFinder (includes Census Tract Street Locator) 
    Building Permits Data 
    County Business Patterns Data (SIC, 1994-1997) 
    County Business Patterns Data (NAICS, 1998-) 
    Detailed Occupation by Race, Hispanic Origin and Sex 
    FFIEC Geocoding System: for financial reporting requirements. 
    International Trade Data 
    Occupation Data 
    Public Law 94-171 Data: Census of Population and Housing--Age by Race
  • Census Bureau
  • Census of Agriculture
    The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.
  • Census of Governments: Federal, State, and Local
    The Census of Governments identifies the scope and nature of the nation's state and local government sector; provides authoritative benchmark figures of public finance and public employment; classifies local government organizations, powers, and activities; and measures federal, state, and local fiscal relationships.
  • Census Online
    Various links to census-related information from all U.S. states. Information is divided by state and then by county. Includes links to federal censuses and indexes, state and territorial censuses, tax lists, voter lists, military pensioner lists, and other items of interest to historians and genealogists.
  • County and ZIP Code Business Patterns
    Data available include employment, payroll, and number of establishments by Standard Industrial Code category.
  • Current Industrial Reports
    Provides monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity to produce timely, accurate data on production and shipments of important commodity areas. The data are used to satisfy economic policy needs and for market analysis, forecasting, and decision-making in the private sector. 
  • Decennial Census
    Taken every 10 years to collect information about the people and housing of the United States
  • Economic Census
  • Historical Census Browser
    Examine state and county topics for individual census years, produce tables of data by state or county, sort data by selected categories, or create ratios between any two data categories.
  • How to Use the American FactFinder
  • Industry and Occupation Data
  • Population Estimates
    Publishes total resident population estimates and demographic components of change (births, deaths, and migration) each year as well as estimates by demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) for the nation, states, and counties. In addition, the Census also produces population estimates for resident plus armed forces overseas, civilian, and civilian noninstitutionalized at the national level; and civilian at the state level.
  • Race Data
    Official statistics on Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Black populations in the U.S.

Census Bureau News Feeds

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With permission from: Anita Etheridge, Tennessee State University