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Census 2010 data is ready… but different?

Published on: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Census logoSince the 2010 Census was completed last year, data has been rolling out. But this year, the data looks different. Many researchers have been waiting for specific sets of data to be released, and are disappointed to find out that it is not going to be released at all as Census data is rolled out.  Why?  Where can we find it?

The answers:

The bulk of the Census data (including much of what we think is the most interesting!) is now being collected through what is called the “American Community Survey” (ACS).  Because of this, the 2010 Census form was “short” for everyone, meaning that it included only very basic information.

Data has been collected for the “American Community Survey” since 2005 on a form very similar to the old “long” form to the Census (which 1 in 6 household used to receive simultaneously with their “short” form).  It releases data three times annually in three data sets: 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year. 2010 was the first year the 5-year data was  released.

All of this data is still easily available online.  The Census’ official data reporting website, American Factfinder, has been updated to reflect these changes in reporting structure.

For more information, feel free to ask any of your friendly UST librarians or visit the Census website itself at http://www.census.gov

NYC’s “Gotham Gazette” also has a great overview of some of the major changes in the way Census data is being collected and can now be retrieved.

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