Tutorial on Using the Census 2000 Web Site to Find State and Local Statistics
How to Use the Census 2000 Webpage
There is a wealth of information which can be extracted from the 2000 Census, but the Census webpage can be intimidating and the information can be hard to find. Here is a brief introduction to the page which will allow you to extract some basic information about your state or county.
State and County Data
First, go to the following webpage: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/
Click on the picture of your state or choose your state name from the list on the left hand side of the page ("Alabama" is currently showing). A table of basic state facts will pop up on the screen. If you are interested in finding data for a particular county click on the box at the top of the page which says "Select a county". A list will appear of all the counties within the state; click on the county you want. (Or you can click on "view map" to see a map of the state divided up into its counties, and then click on the picture of the county in which you are interested.)
The state or county data table which initially shows is a table of basic facts. The information is not extensive and may not be helpful to you. For more information click on the words "Browse more data sets for ___" located directly above the table on the righthand side.
Under the section titled "Census 2000 population, demographic, and housing information" there are four tables called "General Demographic Characteristics", "Social Characteristics", "Economic Characteristics", and "Housing Characteristics". Click on the name of the table in which you are interested.
The table of data which you have requested should now appear.
Which table should I select?
Now let’s talk about what information you can find in each of the different types of tables. The table named "Economic Characteristics" contains information about employment, unemployment, income, and poverty status. That means you can find answers to questions such as these:
- What was the unemployment rate in my state in 2000?
- What was the median annual household income in my county in 1999?
- How many families in my county had both children under age 18 and were living below the poverty level in 1999?
The table named "General Demographic Characteristics" contains information about the sex, age, and race of the population as well as information on the types of households. That means you can find answers to questions such as these:
- What percentage of the population in my county is African American?
- How many households in my state are single mother families?
The table named "Housing Characteristics" contains information about the value of homes, as well as the percentage of income that household spend on housing payments. That means you can find answers to questions such as these:
- How many homes in my county are valued at less than $50,000?
- What percentage of households in my county have a rent payment which is 35% or more of their household income?
The table named "Social Characteristics" contains information about school enrollment, educational attainment, marital status, grandparents who are caregivers, the region of birth or foreign born residents, ancestry, and the languages spoken in households. That means you can find answers to questions such as these:
- What percentage of the population over age 24 in my county has not graduated from high school or earned a high school equivalency degree?
- How many people in my state were born in Latin America?
- What percentage of residents in my county speak Spanish when at home?
Want to explore some more? Get a point-in-time snapshot of conditions in your city or neighborhood from the 2000 Census web page. (You can also compare 2000 Census data with 1990 Census data to see change over time -- see instructions below.)
Obtaining 2000 Census Neighborhood Level Data
Go to http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html and find the picture of the street sign followed by the words "Enter a street address to find Census 2000 data." (It's in the section between the red lines near the top of the page.) Click on the highlighted words "street address." This will take you to a page which asks you to enter your address. Complete that section with your street address (remember this might be different from your mailing address, it certainly will be if you have a post office box!) and then click the box that says "Go." Underneath your address a new large box will appear with a list of regions to choose from; each region will contain your address but they vary in size from the state you live in down to the block you live on.
We recommend selecting your census tract or your zip code area. This gives you neighborhood-specific information and offers more data than if you choose “block” or block group.” Once you select census tract, click “OK.” (If you would like to check out exactly what part of your neighborhood is included in the "census tract” or “zip code,” then, after selecting the region name, click "Map It" instead of "Go." This will show you a map of the streets and neighborhoods that the data set covers.)
The webpage now generates the neighborhood-level data. When it’s finished, scroll down to where the results are. A great deal of information is offered in these tables but they are so extensive that it can be hard to find what you need. For starters, we recommend that you scroll to the section titled “Quick Tables and Demographic Profiles” and look through these three tables:
1. Under Summary File 1 100 Percent Data, file DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000. You can use this file to find such information as the percentage of female-headed households, housing tenure (% renters versus home owners), and the percentages of population in the neighborhood by age groups.
2. Under Summary File 4 Sample Data, DP-2. Profile of Selected Social Characteristics: 2000. Use this file to obtain such information as the percentage of neighborhood residents with a high school degree, and information on the language spoken at home by neighborhood residents.
3. Under Summary File 4 Sample Data, DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000. Use this to find information such as neighborhood unemployment rate, income data (e.g., percentage of residents with income less than $10,000 annually), and poverty statistics.
Obtaining 1990 Census Neighborhood Level Data
Follow the instructions for finding your census tract at the Census 2000 website above. Once you have that number, go to the Census 1990 website: http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen1990.html. (Note -- You will not be able to find all the same information for the 1990 Census as you can for the 2000 Census, but the Census 1990 page does have many of the most useful tables and statistics available.)
At the top of the page, click on either "100 Percent data - Summary Tape File 1" or "Sample data - Summary Tape File 3." This will take you to the FactFinder page where you can select the button for either Summary File 1 or Summary File 3 (see above for descriptions of these). We then recommend clicking "Quick Tables" -- this will provide the most accessible and useful information in most cases.
On the webpage you will be directed to, select "Census Tract" from the "geographic type" drop-down menu. You will then be directed to choose your state, county, and census tract. Highlight your census tract, and click the "Add" button. Then click "Next."
The website will then generate a list of all available tables. Choose the ones you wish to see by highlighting them and clicking "Add" (one table at a time). Once you have all the tables you wish to see appearing in the box labeled "Current table selections," click the "Show Result" button. This will generate the tables you have chosen.
If you want more detailed information, return to the FactFinder page and check out the "Detailed Tables."