Census Bureau’s new American Community Survey map viewer

Yesterday new data was released from the American Community Survey (ACS) by the Census Bureau, in addition to unveiling of a new mapping tool that makes it possible to visualize census tracts through a variety of classifications:

  • Total Population
  • 65 and Over
  • Foriegn Born
  • High School Graduate or more
  • Bachelor’s Degree or more
  • In Labor Force
  • Owner Occupied
  • Median Household Income

ACS embodies a new technique by the Census to create more frequent updates to data. Unfortunately, there are complications with the creation of this data as it is extrapolated from a smaller sample size conducted at non-decennial intervals. This is unlike previous decennial Census data which was derived primarily from actual counts and a sample set receiving the “long form” only every 10 years. Thus the data in the viewer reflects 2007-2012. The tool also pulls in results form the 1990 and 2000 censuses, making it possible to compare states, counties and census tracts over time across each of these categories. However it is questionable how reliable these change detection analyses really are considering how the data is gathered and collated, and studies should do their best to account for these statistical and data collection variables.

census viewer

The image of Census Explorer shows the percentage of owner-occupied housing by state.

Margaret Spyker

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