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Understanding Census Geography. Lisa Neidert NPC Workshop : Analyzing Poverty and Socioeconomic Trends Using the American Community Survey June 22 – June 26, 2009. Census Geography. Geographic Areas: with 1-year and 3-year data. Geographic Areas: with 1-year and 3-year data.

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Understanding Census Geography

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Understanding census geography l.jpg

Understanding Census Geography

Lisa Neidert

NPC Workshop: Analyzing Poverty and Socioeconomic Trends Using the American Community Survey

June 22 – June 26, 2009


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Census Geography


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Geographic Areas:with 1-year and 3-year data


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Geographic Areas:with 1-year and 3-year data


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What’s available in the ACS for single year data: via maps

  • Maps showing counties and places for each state (or the nation)

  • http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/acs_2007_reference_maps.htm


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Counties with single year data:ACS 2007


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Almost all counties:DE, MA


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Few counties, no places:VT and WY


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State with American Indian Places: AK, AL, LA, NC, OK


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Counties with 3-year data:ACS 2005-2007


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States where all counties are over 20,000

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • District of Columbia

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • Rhode Island


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What geographies are available in the 2005-2007 ACS

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/acs-php/2005_2007_beginner_users_guide.php


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Geographical Areas (Texas):Covered in 2005-2007

  • ACS 2005-2007 Geographical Areas


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What’s available in the ACS: via Look-up tables

  • Geographic entities available for 1-year data (2007)

  • Geographic entities available for 3-year data (2005-2007)


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Not ready for prime-time: census tracts and zip codes

  • Need 5-year estimates file

    • 2005 – 2009

    • Available 2010

  • Annual updates thereafter

    • 2006 – 2010

    • 2007 – 2011, etc.

  • Test site available

    • – selected counties (34)

    • Selected profiles (demographic, social, economic, housing)http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/Multi_Year_Estimates/overview.html#noteforusers


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ExampleCensus Tracts for community districts


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Community District 11:Manhattan, East Harlem


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Zip codes

  • Not census geography

    • However, big demand for zip code data

  • Census Bureau builds ZCTAs via census blocks

  • ZCTA FAQs

    • http://www.census.gov/geo/ZCTA/zctafaq.html

  • Fun resource

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zip_code


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What are PUMAs?

  • Public Use Microdata areas

  • Combination of population geographies that sum to at least 100,000 population.

  • In rural areas, several counties will form a PUMA. In an urban area, a county will be subdivided into multiple PUMAs.

  • PUMAs do not cross state boundaries


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PUMAs. . . .

  • PUMAs do not have good comparability over time (1990, 2000).

  • PUMA geographies for the ACS are the same as the 2000 boundaries

  • PUMAs are reasonable substitutes for counties

  • Smallest geography available in the microdata.


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PUMAs

  • Can be valuable for bypassing geographic restrictions when one wants national information at the county level

  • Create pseudo counties based on a cross-walk between PUMAs and counties


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Statistics based on 1-year ACS data Unit is county


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Statistics based on 3-year ACS dataUnit is county


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Statistics based on 1-year ACS dataUnit is PUMA


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Illinois example:PUMA to county example


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PUMAs via Maps

  • Reasonable tool for rural parts of a state

  • Somewhat unwieldy for urban areas

  • Multiple maps per state

    http://usa.ipums.org/usa/volii/2000pumas.shtml


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PUMAs via text

  • Describes PUMA composition

  • By:

    • County

    • County subdivision

    • Place

    • Census tract

  • http://usa.ipums.org/usa/volii/2000pumas.shtml

  • http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/dis/data/ref/PUMA/SUPERPUMA-2000-5pct.html


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Metropolitan areas

  • Defined by Office Management Budget (OMB)

  • http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metrodef.html

  • Historical Definitions

  • http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/pastmetro.html

  • Researcher is free to follow own definitions

  • Census Bureau follows OMB definitions


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