Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Census Research: Getting Started

Featured Resource: DataFerrett

DataFerrett is a unique data analysis and extraction tool-with recoding capabilities-to customize federal, state, and local data to suit your requirements. (FERRETT stands for Federated Electronic Research, Review, Extraction, and Tabulation Tool.) Using DataFerrett, you can develop an unlimited array of customized spreadsheets that are as versatile and complex as your usage demands.

DataFerrett helps you locate and retrieve the data you need regardless of where the data resides. You can develop and customize tables and select the results to create a graph or map for a visual depiction of your data. You can also save your data in the databasket and save the table you have created for reuse.

Getting started Resources

  • 2010 Census-- U.S. Census Bureau -- Home site for the 2010 Census, including Census data and a variety of multimedia resources related to the Census.
  • American Factfinder-- U.S. Census Bureau -- Population, housing, economic, and geographic data from the Cenus Bureau. Browse, search, and map data from many Census Bureau sources, including the Decennial Census, American Community Survey (ACS), Economic Census, annual population estimates, and annual economic surveys. Includes extensive help, glossary, and FAQ sections.

    University of Michigan ratings: largest number of geographies available; map difficulty: medium; complex queries: excellent; speed: medium; other notes: probably the most flexible option when unsure of variables, easy access to Census Bureau glossary; many ways to download information.
  • Brookings 2010 Census-- Brookings Institute -- Research and commentary on a variety of aspects related to the 2010 Census
  • Census 2000 Basics[PDF] -- Andrea Sevetson -- U.S. Census Bureau. Economics and Statistics Administration. -- A good plade to start to learn about the Census. Covers what the Census is used for and why, the questionnaire, address-list development, short vs. long form, how results are reported, Census geographic areas, the Census hierarchy, Census products, and other basic topics.
  • Census Bureau-- U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) -- Social, demographic, and economic information, including news, access tools, statistics on subjects a-z, and publications.

    Includes Census 2000 Gateway, a one-stop site for Census 2000 data, tables, maps, release schedule, news, FAQs, State and County Quick Facts, and more.
  • Data Profiles / Demographic Profiles-- U.S. Census Bureau -- Includes basic demographic, social, economic, and housing data.

    For Census 2000 demographic profiles, click here . These are one-page profiles on general demographic (DP-1), social (DP-2), economic (DP-3), and housing (DP-4) data. DP-1 is based on 100% (short form) data; the others are based on sample (long form) data. Choose your state. Then type in the locality or enter an asterisk (*) to see a list of localities for which the DPs are available in your state.

    For more recent American Community Survey (ACS) data profiles, click here. Then click on "Data Profiles" and choose the geographic area you want to get a narrative and to get demographic, social, economic, and housing profiles These provide more data (2-4 pages) than the Census 2000 demographic profiles, but are not available below the county or large city geographic level.

    You can also enter a street address. Then you can select a year and program (Census 2000, ACS, or Economic Census. Choose your geography ( down to "block" for Census 2000; only down to "county" or large city for ACS) and click "OK." It may look as if nothing happened, but scroll down to see your choices.
  • Demographic Trends in the Twentieth Century[PDF] -- Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops -- U.S. Census Bureau -- Covers population size and georgraphic distribution, age and sex composition, race and hispanic origin, housing, and households (Issued Nov. 2002).
  • Enter a Street Address-- U.S. Census Bureau -- Find Census 2000 data from your state to your block. Most useful for finding Demographic Profile (DP) and other information about your Census Tract, Block Group, or Block. Enter your street address and either the city and state or the ZIP code. In the geographic area box, choose which area you want - state, country, census tract, block, etc. You may want to click on "map it" to see a map of the area you've chosen to insure that the database is accurate. Usually, if there is conflict about tracts, block groups, or blocks, the map is correct, rather than the geographic area box. After closing the "map it" screen, click on "go."
    You will find a list of demographic profiles (DPs) and quick tables (QTs) for each summary file (SF). Click on "more" to see the complete options for a given SF. Only QT (mostly housing and race) information is available for blocks and block groups.
    When you return from a table to the selection page, the geographic area you selected may clear and you may have to select it again.
  • Geographic Comparison Tables-- U.S. Census Bureau -- 2000 Summary Files 1 through 4 and redistricting (PL 94-171) Summary File, 108th Congress District Summary File, and 1990 Summary Tape File 1. Select data set, geographic area, and tables.
  • How to Find the Latest Business Data-- U.S. Census Bureau -- Includes the statistics for the latest edition of these programs: Economic Census, County Business Patterns, Annual Survey of Manufactures, Foreign Trade: State Exports, and other data programs. Indicates whether data for each program is available for the U.S., States, Metro areas, Counties, Places, and ZIP codes. If you click on the name of the program, you may find links to earlier editions of the program.
  • Social Explorer-- Provides historical census data and demographic information from the entire US Census from 1790 to 2000, updates from the American Community Survey, Census tract-level estimates, Religious Congregations and Membership Study data, and Carbon Emissions data.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States (SAUS)-- ProQuest -- The basic annual compendium of federal statistics; includes almost 1,600 tables, of social, economic, and political statistics, and a guide to other statistical publications and sources. View each individual section in Portable Document Format (PDF) or in Excel Format. Also see earlier editions from 1878.