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Guide to the Census, + Website

ISBN: 978-1-118-32801-9
272 pages
February 2013
Guide to the Census, + Website (1118328019) cover image
How to parse, analyze, and incorporate census data

This handy resource offers a reference guide for anyone interested in tailoring specific Census data to their needs. It includes computer coding (SAS v9.x) software for extracting targeted data from thousands of Census files, as well as primers on using online tools and mapping software for analyzing data. The book offers thorough coverage of all aspects of census data including its historical significance, suggestions for parsing housing, occupation, transportation, economic, health, and other data from the census, and much more.

  • Offers an guide to analyzing Census data that can have an impact on financial markets as well as housing and economic data boding ill or well for the future of the economy
  • It includes computer coding (SAS v9.x) scripts for extracting specific data from Census files
  • Offers guidance on using thousands of variables from Census results released every year and American Community Survey data now released every year
  • The only one-stop guide to analyzing and using annual and decennial Census data

Bass offers a practical guide for leveraging information compiled by the Census to further research as well as business interests.

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Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

PART I: GUIDE TO THE DECENNIAL CENSUS

CHAPTER 1 The Evolution of the Census 3

Who Relies on the Census? 5

Understanding the Current Census 11

Following Census Results 13

Conclusion 14

Notes 15

CHAPTER 2 Understanding Census Geography 17

Narrowing Geographical Scope 18

Working with Standard Geographies 20

Avoiding Geographic Confusion 22

Working with Very Small Geographies 25

Conclusion 28

Notes 28

CHAPTER 3 Understanding Basic Census Counts 29

Determining Political Representation 30

Creating Political Boundaries 31

Understanding the Fundamentals of Redistricting Files 33

Analyzing Age, Gender, and Detailed Race Data 35

Conclusion 37

Notes 38

CHAPTER 4 Analyzing Critical Relationships 41

Understanding Household Relationships 42

Digging Deeper into Household Relationships 45

Making Sense of Summary File 2 46

Notes 48

CHAPTER 5 Working with Housing Data 49

Grasping the Basics of Housing 50

Understanding Populations within Households 52

Conclusion 54

Notes 55

CHAPTER 6 Analyzing Race and Ethnicity 57

Understanding Emerging Groups 58

Analyzing Tribal Affiliations 62

Conclusion 63

Notes 68

PART II: THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

CHAPTER 7 Using the American Community Survey 71

Resolving Expensive Data Collection 72

Understanding Potential Weaknesses 74

Modifying Future Surveys 74

Conclusion 76

Notes 77

CHAPTER 8 Making Sense of Housing 79

Comparing ACS Housing Data with Decennial Census 80

Assessing Populations with Housing Data 81

Using Ancillary Figures for Insight 84

Conclusion 85

Notes 87

CHAPTER 9 Learning about Education 89

Correlating Education and Economic Achievement 90

Discovering Geographic Patterns in Educational Attainment 92

Assessing Strengths and Shortcomings of ACS Education Data 97

Conclusion 99

Notes 102

CHAPTER 10 Speaking the Languages 103

Speaking the Language 104

Conclusion 110

Notes 110

CHAPTER 11 Working with Occupations 111

Understanding Types of Jobs 112

Analyzing Specific Occupations 113

Analyzing Military Service 117

Conclusion 120

Notes 120

CHAPTER 12 Analyzing Transportation Trends 123

Establishing Vehicle Use 124

Determining Commuting Patterns 124

Gauging the Importance of Commuting Patterns 128

Conclusion 131

Notes 131

CHAPTER 13 Assessing Income 133

Understanding Income Variability 134

Measuring Poverty 135

Assessing Income Distribution 139

Conclusion 143

Notes 144

CHAPTER 14 Analyzing Health Data 145

Understanding Types of Health Insurance 146

Parsing Disability Data 146

Understanding Nutrition Data 148

Overlooking an Obvious Health Data Point 150

Conclusion 152

Notes 152

PART III: RESOURCES

APPENDIX A Using American FactFinder 157

APPENDIX B Using Raw Data Files 171

APPENDIX C Glossary of Census Terms 197

APPENDIX D Online Resources 221

APPENDIX E Mapping Census Data 225

APPENDIX F Comparing Census and American Community Survey Characteristics 231

About the Website 235

About the Author 237

Index 239

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Frank Bass is an award-winning journalist who has used Census data for more than three decades. He is the author of The Associated Press Guide to Internet Research and Reporting, and he has lectured extensively about demographic research throughout the United States. Bass was the lead news manager for the AP's coverage of the 2000 Census. He joined Bloomberg in 2010 and is a data editor for Bloomberg News in New York. He was also the data editor for coverage of the 2010 Census for the State and Municipality team as well as a consultant for the Projects and Investigations team. Bass has worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Post (where he was the 1994 Texas Headliners Foundation Reporter of the Year) and the Alabama Journal, where he shared the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting.

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