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data - U.S Census data and ArcGIS an orientation The...

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1 U.S. Census data and ArcGIS: an orientation The following is taken from Peters and MacDonald, Unlocking the Census with GIS (ESRI Press, 2004). § No matter what the data source, always check for possible errors (e.g., add up the “Race” and gender categories to make sure they sum to POP2000, and add up the housing tenure categories to make sure they sum to HSE_UNITS). § And check errata (e.g., U.S. Census) when they are available. Basic organization of U.S. Census data § Census block : lowest level of tabulated census geography. Defined by roads, natural features, or politico-administrative boundaries. Typically has a population of about 85 people. Contains relatively little census information– including no socioeconomic data—due partly to issues of confidentiality. § Block groups : aggregations of census blocks that are the lowest level for which sample census data—including a bit of socioeconomic data—is available. Range from 600 to 3000 people. § Census tracts : aggregations of block groups. Meant to be fairly homogenous and permanent areas with similar economic and demographic characteristics and living conditions. Range from 1500 to 8000 people. The smallest unit that has ample socioeconomic data (based on the census’s “sample forms”). § Counties or country equivalents (e.g., parishes, boroughs, “census areas,” “incorporated places”) : aggregations of census tracts. § States : aggregations of counties and county equivalents. SF1-SF4 & PL § SF1 and SF2 contain data on the questions asked of all households: SF1 has the most geographic data (down to the block) and SF2 has the most socioeconomic, housing data, and other data (down to the block group or tract). § SF3 and SF4 have data from questions asked of a sample of households only. SF3 has the most geographic data (down to the block group or tract) and SF4 has the most other data. § PL (Redistricting data, Public Law) contains information on race and whether of Hispanic origin, based on the Census 2000 short form. There are four detailed tables. FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) numbering system § State s : two-digit code numbers (e.g., 22=Louisiana). § Counties or county equivalents : three-digit codes attached to state codes (e.g., 071=Orleans Parish).
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