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The Best Tools For Analyzing Census Data


'NASS-2010_Census Worker' photo (c) 2007, U.S. Department of Agriculture - license:

More and more accessible tools are being created to research and analyze Census data from the recently completed U.S. Census. I thought I’d bring a few of them together in a “The Best…” list.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources To Learn About The U.S. Census.

Here are my choices for The Best Tools For Analyzing Census Data:

The United States Census has unveiled a very useful interactive a bunch of demographic data from the past one hundred years. English Language Learners would probably require a little initial guidance in figuring it out, but it would be worth the effort.

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block is an amazing interactive from The New York Times that displays U.S. Census data from…everywhere. The New York Times Learning Network also has a simple lesson plan related to it. Connecting the Dots: Interpreting U.S. Census Data is a New York Times Learning Network lesson.

Tract is an amazing way to access U.S. Census data in a visual form. It uses info from the 2000 Census right now, but, apparently, will change to the new 2010 data soon.

The U.S. Census has unveiled an interactive map that lets you access data for different communities and census tracts.

Explore the country by the numbers is a cool interactive map from CNN analyzing national, state and county demographics.

Eric Fischer has created fascinating maps of the biggest forty cities in the United States illustrating ethnicity by small color dots — White is pink; Black is blue; Hispanic is orange, and Asian is green. He originally used 2000 Census data, but it appears that many, if not all, have now been replaced with 2010 data. You can see them all here.

Here’s his map of Sacramento:

Race and ethnicity 2010: Sacramento

The American Family Through Time is a fascinating interactive “board game” that takes you through each census since the founding of the United States and shows you key results from that era.

US census data mapped for every state – interactive is from The Guardian.

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks is a simple tool that lets you determine them median income for every census tract in the United States just by typing in an address.

Poverty and Race in America, Then and Now lets you look at any metropolitan area in the United States and compare poverty in it in 1980, 190, 2000 or 2010. You can view the comparison on a “sliding” map, though I wish it just showed you the same locations in two screens — that would make it a little easier to compare to the two views (you’ll see what I mean when you visit the site).

Median Income Across the US is a nice interactive map from WNYC that shows the income levels of all the census tracts in the United States.

The Census Reporter lets you use data from the US Census interactively.

Type any zip code into Esri’s Zip Lookup and you’ll get an excellent and accessible data image of that community based on U.S. Census Data and additional sources.

Census Names Explorer lets you find when and where a name was popular, or unpopular, over the last one hundred years.

It really provides a number of possibilities, including trying to be a detective to identify the reasons for a name’s popularity during a specific era. For example, I discovered that my name, Larry, was extremely popular in the late 1940’s, and I wonder if it had anything to do with The Three Stooges back then? When I explored Latino names, there was a huge increase over the past thirty years, obviously connected to the overall Latino population numbers.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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