Conducted once every ten years, the census is the most comprehensive source of demographic and economic information available. The census forms the basis for many of SANDAG’s databases, including the annual estimates and long-range forecasts. As the Regional Census Data Center for the San Diego region, SANDAG keeps a complete inventory of data released from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 Censuses. SANDAG also works with the U.S. Census Bureau, local agencies, and the public on all census-related issues in the region.
2010 Census and American Community Survey
Following Census 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau changed the way it conducts the census. Through Census 2000, a short form was used to count the entire U.S. population (including details regarding ethnicity, age, household composition, and housing information) and a long form collected detailed data regarding the social and economic characteristics of the nation’s communities. Collected from a sample of households (rather than the entire population), this survey included all the questions from the short form, as well as data such as marital status, income, and educational attainment.
Beginning in 2010, the short form continues to be administered every ten years, while the American Community Survey (ACS) uses a series of monthly samples to produce annual updated information formerly captured on the long form.
The primary source for this information is American FactFinder, the U.S. Census Bureau’s online tool. SANDAG compiles information from the decennial Census and ACS for local geographic areas such as jurisdictions, school districts, and community planning. Data for these areas can be found in Data Surfer. Another useful source for Census and ACS information includes historical data: the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) produced by the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Population Center.
Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP)
In this file, census data are aggregated to special transportation planning zones to provide demographic information and travel information about people at their place of work (rather than at their place of residence, which is how all other census data are reported). The CTPP includes journey-to-work data (including origin and destination information), means of transportation to work, travel times, and socio-economic characteristics of workers.
Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS)
The PUMS files consist of a sample of actual census records (stripped of name and address) that allows the user to produce special cross-tabulations of information not available in standard census data products. For example, the user can cross-tabulate variables, such as vehicle ownership by type of housing unit or household income by age and occupation of the householder. Due to the small sample size of PUMS files, the information is available only for areas of 100,000 or more. In San Diego, PUMS geographic areas are defined as 22 groups of subregional areas in the region, per the 2010 census.
Special Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation
The Special Equal Employment Opportunity file contains occupation data collected through the ACS and tabulated once every ten years. It highlights gender, race/ethnicity, education, age, industry, and earnings data. EEO data is available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, and places with populations of 100,000 or more. The files are grouped into three types: residence data, workplace data, and workflow data.
The Census Bureau has a free virtual hub for learning how to access and use their data. Census Academy Offers:
- Data Gems – Short videos demonstrating tips and tricks for data users who are looking for an easy and quick way to enhance their knowledge of Census data.
- How to Videos – Tutorials on how to access data, for example How to Access American Community Survey (ACS) Block Group Data
Subscribe to get weekly updates from the Census Academy.