Lecture 1: An Overview of Census Data

Sumeeta Srinivasan ssrinivasan@cga.harvard.edu

Reference: Unlocking the Census, Ch 1; www.census.gov

Course Objectives Census
Overview of data sources
▪ ▪ ▪ Census ACS PUMS

Geographical units GIS Intro Error

To use mapping as an analytical technique to study Census data To investigate the use of geographic, economic and socio-demographic data from the US Census To enhance the research process through the use of maps and spatial queries To introduce basic Geographical Information Systems software To introduce cartographic techniques

U.S. Constitution mandates the Census of Population and Housing to apportion seats in the House of Representatives Adding questions to census involves the Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Congress, and census users around the country

Produces annual and multi-year estimates of characteristics of the population and housing Produces information for small areas including tracts and population subgroups - updated every year Uses a “current” residence rule Henceforth will be used to get long form data ACS full implementation began January 2005

(3-year average) (5-year average)

Population 65,000 or greater X X X

Population 20,000 or greater

Population Below 20,000


2005 X X

2006 X X






Base Tables (previously called Detailed Tables)

Geographic Comparison Tables Subject Tables Selected Population Profiles Analytic Reports

Tabular Profiles

Narrative Profiles

Geographic Ranking Tables

Thematic Maps


PUMS (Public Use Microdata Samples) are person-level files (geographic level – the PUMA level and super PUMA added in 2000) There are two PUMS samples – 1% and 5%. The 1% file has detailed characteristics; the 5% offers geographic detail 1960-70 Census - 1% sample and since1980 Census – 1% and 5% samples

Name of head of family Number of persons in household Number of persons in each household of the following descriptions: free white males 16 years and upward free white males under 16 years, free white females, all other free persons (by sex and color) slaves


100-percent characteristics (short form – SF1): Questions were asked of every person and housing unit in the United States

Name, Age, Race, Sex, Household relationship Hispanic or Latino origin Tenure (whether the home is owned or rented)

Sample characteristics (long form – SF3): Additional questions were asked of a sample of persons and housing units

Population, social characteristics, Marital status Place of birth, citizenship, year of entry, residence 5 years ago (migration) School enrollment, educational attainment Ancestry, language spoken at home and ability to speak English Veteran status, Disability, Grandparents as caregivers

Economic Characteristics, Labor force status, Place of work and journey to work Occupation, industry and class of worker, ·Work status in 1999 Income in 1999 Housing, Physical Characteristics, Units in structure, Year structure built, Number of rooms and number of bedrooms, Year moved into residence, Plumbing and kitchen facilities Telephone service, Vehicles available, Heating fuel, Farm residence, Financial Characteristics Value of home or monthly rent paid Utilities, mortgage, taxes, insurance, and fuel costs

Census Population April 1, 2000 April 1, 1990

MSA/ CMSA Code Rank Area ame 5602 1 ew York-- orthern ew Jersey--Long Island, Y-- J--CT--PA CMSA 4472 2 Los Angeles--Riverside--Orange County, CA CMSA 1602 3 Chicago--Gary--Kenosha, IL--I --WI CMSA 8872 4 Washington--Baltimore, DC--MD--VA--WV CMSA 7362 5 San Francisco--Oakland--San Jose, CA CMSA 6162 6 Philadelphia--Wilmington--Atlantic City, PA-- J--DE--MD CMSA 1122 7 Boston--Worcester--Lawrence, MA-- H--ME--CT CMSA 2162 8 Detroit--Ann Arbor--Flint, MI CMSA 1922 9 Dallas--Fort Worth, TX CMSA 3362 10 Houston--Galveston--Brazoria, TX CMSA 0520 11 Atlanta, GA MSA 4992 12 Miami--Fort Lauderdale, FL CMSA 7602 13 Seattle--Tacoma--Bremerton, WA CMSA 6200 14 Phoenix--Mesa, AZ MSA 5120 15 Minneapolis--St. Paul, M --WI MSA

21,199,865 19,549,649 16,373,645 14,531,529 9,157,540 8,239,820 7,608,070 6,727,050 7,039,362 6,253,311 6,188,463 5,892,937 5,819,100 5,455,403 5,456,428 5,187,171 5,221,801 4,037,282 4,669,571 3,731,131 4,112,198 2,959,950 3,876,380 3,192,582 3,554,760 2,970,328 3,251,876 2,238,480 2,968,806 2,538,834

Charleston is ranked 144 in 2000

“The short form Summary File (SF1) data is available in STF1 (Summary Tape File) format”

STF 1 and 2 provide 100-percent data and are answered for all persons and housing units STF 3, 4, and 5 are based on sample data derived from the responses of a sample Master Area Reference Files (MARFs) 1, 2, 3, and 5 link geographic areas with numeric codes and indicate the relationships among the various areas recognized

Summary File 1 (SF 1) and Summary File 2 (SF 2) focus on the information collected on the census short form – namely on age, sex, race, Hispanic/Latino origin, households, families, housing units, and owner/renter status Summary File 3 (SF 3) and Summary File 4 (SF 4) focus on social, economic and housing characteristics compiled from a sample of approximately 19 million housing units (about 1 in 6 households) that received the Census 2000 long-form questionnaire. Topics include income, education, occupation, ancestry, disability, foreign birth, commuting, household financial arrangements, year housing structure built and many other population and housing subjects.

FIPS codes) are a standardized set of numeric or alphabetic codes issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure uniform identification of geographic entities through all federal government agencies

United States Region - Northeast (NE), Midwest (MW), South (S) and West (W) Regions Division - NE, Mid Atlantic; W - Mountain, Pacific State - includes Washington D.C. County County Subdivision Place Census Tract / Block Numbering Area - average 4,000 persons Block Group - average 1,000 persons Block - average 85 persons

Digits 1-2 = State code Digits 3-5 = County code Digits 6-11 = Census Tract code (often used with a decimal point:xxxx.xx) Digit 12 = Blockgroup code


Computer information system that can input, store, manipulate, analyze, and display geographically referenced (spatial) data to support decision making processes

Not easy to interpret

A picture is worth a thousand words


Census Tracts

Lakes and Rivers

Polluting Companies


GIS Connects Graphics to Data

Green Spaces


Census Blocks

Sampling Error

Truly random?

Non Sampling Error

Random or non random?

Confidence Intervals around the mean

What is the sample error?

About 80% receive Census by mail – what does this imply? 67% response rate on the short form – what does this imply? 54% response rate on the long form – what does this imply?

Who is likely to be counted (or not)? Why?

Conduct a large sample survey in conjunction with the decennial census (called the Post-Enumeration Survey, PES, in 1990), match all individuals in the survey to those reported in the census, and then estimate the number of unenumerated people in the census by age, sex, and race Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (A.C.E.) used in 2000 is the same method with a different name

Suggested readings: History, Myth Making, and Statistics: A Short Story about the Reapportionment of Congress and. Why Is There Still a Controversy about Adjusting the Census for Undercount? Margo Anderson, Stephen E. Fienberg PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 2002), pp. 83-85 Also read the rejoinder by Brunell that follows this article


www.uoregon.edu/~schlossb/articles /schlossberg_census_ppr.pdf

Lab accounts in HMDC Discussion in the coming weeks

What Census and Mapping related topics do you want to discuss? How do you want to bring in your (research) questions?

Assignment for next week:

▪ read NYT article (as either parent or administrator) and discuss how to bring in Census data ▪ In particular discuss geographic scale, maps you want to create, what variables you might use

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