Demographics of Oglala Lakota County

The Keystone Pipeline is an oil pipeline running from the Canadian Tar Sands in Alberta to the Gulf Coast in Texas. The plan for the fourth phase of this project proposes to run a new section of this pipeline under the Missouri River, just upstream of the Oglala Lakota sacred land. The Lakota people rely on this river for their livelihood. In the wake of the Flint, Michigan crisis, the main concern of locals is possible contamination of the water. The implications would be catastrophic leading to the inability to use the river to fish, irrigate crop land or even have clean water to drink.

This map visualizes 2 sets of data obtained from the US Census Bureau on family income and minority populations. The 2 maps show striking similarities. Upon some calculations and research into the maps it was quite apparent that the Oglala Lakota County had the highest percent minority population of any county in the entire United States. Oglala Lakota County also has the 3rd lowest mean family income in the country. It is one of three counties in the United States completely encompassed by a Native American reservation. The Lakota tribe considers the Missouri River sacred since it has been the tribes main source of life since they inhabited the land nearly 1200 years ago.

-Cody J. Crane

UConn MAGIC 2017

State Data Center Affiliates Training Event

uscensusbureaulogoThe Massachusetts State Data Center at the UMass Donahue Institute is hosting free in-person data training from the U.S. Census Bureau on September 21, 2015 in Hadley, MA.  This event will feature two sections, a morning session focused on the 2012 Economic Census and the OnTheMap data tool for emergency management and the afternoon session will focus on how to use Census data to spur economic development. Participants may attend the morning, afternoon or both but please register using the Evenbrite links below. Seating is limited to 35 attendees per session and the sessions are filling up fast.

Session descriptions

Economic Census and Programs Session – Morning

The morning session (9am-12pm) will start with a general overview of the 2012 Economic Census and Census economic programs in general.  Then there will be a demonstration of Census’s OnTheMap data tool for emergency management.  Your local Census Bureau partner from the New York City regional office will close this session with an overview of the regional office’s activities and other training opportunities they offer.

Register for the Sept 21, 2015 Hadley, MA morning session here:

Census Data to Spur Economic Development Session – Afternoon
The afternoon session (1pm-4:30pm) will begin with Census teaching us how to use Census data to spur economic development.  Then Census will show us how to access Longitudinal – Employer Household Dynamics data (LED data), an important new set of data we have been eagerly anticipating.  Your local Census partner will close this session with a demonstration of the Census Reporter web application and an overview of the regional office’s activities and other training opportunities they offer.

Register for the Sept 21, 2015 Hadley, MA afternoon session here:

Location: UMass Donahue Institute 100 Venture Way #9, Hadley, MA 01035

Data from the 2013 Annual Survey of Public Pensions

This visualization uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 Annual Survey of Public Pensions State-Administered Defined Benefit Pensions Systems downloaded from American FactFinder. The thematic map indicates the ratio of pension obligations to each state’s total cash and investment holdings in its state-run public pension system at the close of fiscal year 2013. Bar graphs indicate FY13 pension fund net investment earnings, and overall pension fund investments by category (i.e. stocks, Treasury bonds, etc). Locally administered (e.g. municipal) public pension data is excluded from the graphs.

Tools to help with your demographic research or teaching

CensusBureauThe US Census Bureau offers a myriad of tools to help with your demographic research. One of the most common ways to obtain tables with the raw data, or shapefiles, is to use American FactFinder. The search on this website will allow you to type in the types of tables you are looking for (Education, Population, Median Household Income, etc.) and the geography for which you are looking (Census tracts in Connecticut, Counties, or state level). You can search for Census, American Community Survey, or other datasets. You can then download the table, or create a map and download the tables and associate shapefiles (.shp – for use in ArcGIS or other GIS software). The CT State Data Center also has some how-to videos for help with searching American FactFinder.

The Census Bureau also offers a variety of visualizations and other online maps to assist users with understanding various types of statistics. In November, a new interactive suite of visualization tools for jobs, business and other economic statistics was released.  The tool allows users to change the type of data they are interested in, and visualize the results in graph form.

There is also the Data Visualization Gallery, which provides interesting data visualizations with census data, that are published weekly. For example, see “Population Bracketology,” a game based on the NCAA March Madness bracket that allows users to compare city and state population numbers.

The Census Explorer allows the user to interactively look at datasets as a map. Some of the datasets currently included are both Census and ACS:

  • Total population
  • Percent 65 and older
  • Foreign-born population percentage
  • Percent of the population with a high school degree or higher
  • Percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Percent with a master’s degree or higher
  • Labor force participation rate
  • Percent of labor force employed in Professional, Scientific and Tech Industry
  • Home ownership rate
  • Median household income
  • Percent of households with incomes of $150,000 or higher
  • Total wage employees (excludes contractors, self-employed)
  • Tech wage employees
  • Average yearly employee wage
  • Average yearly tech employee wage
  • Total number of business establishment
  • Percent of establishments in the technology sector

Additionally, TIGER data can now be viewed in “TIGERweb4.0” a new release that according to the Census Bureau is: “TIGERweb is a web-based application that allows users to visualize the Census Bureau’s TIGER data. The applications allow users to select features and view their attributes, to search for features by name or geocode, and to identify features by selecting them from a map. The application provides a simple way to view TIGER data without having to download the data.”

Gini Index of Income Inequality for U.S. Counties

This visualization displays U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey Gini index estimates for U.S. counties.  The Census Bureau defines the Gini index as “a statistical measure of income inequality ranging from 0 to 1. A measure of 1 indicates perfect inequality, i.e., one household having all the income and rest having none. A measure of 0 indicates perfect equality, i.e., all households having an equal share of income.” For an analysis of the ACS Gini index data, see the Census Brief: Houshold Income Inequality Within U.S. Counties.

The visualization allows the viewer to filter the counties displayed on the map by Gini index. Links into American FactFinder from the mouseover Tooltip for each county on the map provide further economic data including median household income, poverty, and insurance coverage data for the county.


Educational Attainment for the Population Below the Poverty Level in Connecticut Towns (American Community Survey 2008-12 5-Year Estimates data)

The recently-released ACS 2008-12 5-Year Estimates data provide updated estimates for all Connecticut towns, including detailed data on the population living below the poverty level. The visualization below uses data provided by the ACS on the educational attainment of those age 25 and older in poverty, providing details on the percentage of this population which has less than a high school diploma or GED, a high school degree or equivalent, some college credits or an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree or higher. The map focuses on the percent of those in poverty in each town who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. By selecting any town on the map, the bar graphs beneath will display more detailed educational attainment data for the town, both for the general population and those below the poverty threshold.

The American Community Survey uses poverty thresholds established by the Office of Management and Budget; more information is available here. It’s important to note that these thresholds do not vary geographically; for example, the same poverty threshold for a household consisting of a single adult with a related child under 18 ($15,504) is used in every state.

Webinars from the US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau has provided information about upcoming free webinars. Users can

CensusBureauview more details about each webinar, including passcodes and links to the webinars, at this website:

Nov 07    Foreign Trade Regulations Town Hall Webinar

Description: These in-depth webinars provide the information necessary to understand the changes to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR). Come learn about what has changed and how that change will affect you. Best of all, the webinars are free. These webinars will focus on changes in reporting requirements, new fields added to the Automated Export System (License Value and Ultimate Consignee Type), changes in definitions, such as port of export and household goods and much more.

Format: Webinar
Time: 2pm – 3pm ET

Nov 13    How to Navigate American FactFinder

Description: Gain experience in using the American FactFinder data access tool. Learn how to use the search and navigation features to access some of the Census Bureau’s programs, datasets and topics.

Format: Webinar
Time: 1pm – 3pm ET

Nov 19    Accessing Employment Statistics Using “OnTheMap”

Description: Uncover a wealth of information available on U.S. workers in an overview of this online mapping and reporting application. See where they are employed and where they live with companion reports on worker characteristics and optional filtering by age, earnings, or industry groups.

Format: Webinar
Time: 1pm -3pm ET

Dec 10    Accessing Block Group Data with the American Community Survey Summary File

Description: The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that generates estimates on social, economic, housing, and demographic topics. Data users can access these estimates down to the block group level of geography through the ACS Summary File. This presentation will cover background information about the ACS, an explanation of the ACS Summary File, and a demonstration of accessing block group data using the ACS Summary File.

Format: Webinar
Time: 1:00-2:30pm ET

Dec 12    Foreign Trade Regulations Town Hall Webinar

Description: These in-depth webinars provide the information necessary to understand the changes to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR). Come learn about what has changed and how that change will affect you. Best of all, the webinars are free. These webinars will focus on changes in reporting requirements, new fields added to the Automated Export System (License Value and Ultimate Consignee Type), changes in definitions, such as port of export and household goods and much more.

Format: Webinar
Time: 2pm – 3pm ET

US Census Bureau tools

Several new tools have been made available by the US Census Bureau to aid in performing research. The following have been released recently:

My Congressional District App

  • Allows users to find basic demographic and economic statistics for every snapcongressional district in the US. Uses latest annual statistics from the American Community Survey.
  • Users can sort through stats in 5 key categories. Summary level statistics cover education, finance, jobs and housing, as well as basic demographic info. Can be downloaded and shared with others.
  • A selected district can be embedded on a user’s own webpage.

Tool for Assessing Statistical Capacity (TASC)

  • Sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • Measures overall capacity of a country’s national statistical office to conduct population and housing censuses or surveys.
  • Tool aids them in identifying areas where improvement is needed and can help them justify the need for additional training or funding for hardware and software. It also provides an objective, quantitative assessment of areas of strength and improvement over time.
  • The TASC takes roughly four days to administer, with scores calculated from answers provided by the staff of these offices. Specific areas measured by the TASC include mapping, questionnaire content and testing, sampling, field operations, data processing, data analysis and evaluation, and data dissemination.
  • The Census Bureau’s International Programs Center for Technical Assistance is available to administer the TASC and provide technical support on a reimbursable basis that addresses the primary needs of the statistical office as identified by the scores. However, the TASC is available to any expert for assessing statistical capacity. The TASC toolkit can be downloaded online at

Census Bureau Interactive Language Map

  • The map pinpoints the wide array of languages spoken in homes across the nation, along with a detailed report on rates of English proficiency and the growing number of speakers of other languages.
  • The 2011 Language Mapper shows where people speaking specific languages other than English live, with dots representing how many people speak each of 15 different languages. For each language, the mapper shows the concentration of those who report that they speak English less than “very well,” a measure of English proficiency. The tool uses data collected through the American Community Survey from 2007 to 2011.
  • The languages available in the interactive map include Spanish, French, French Creole, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, Polish, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Arabic. After selecting one of these languages from the menu, users will see a national population density map, with each dot representing about 100 people who speak the language at home placed where these speakers are concentrated. The map also allows users to zoom in to a smaller geographic area, where each dot represents 10 people. The dots were placed in a random location within census tracts to protect the confidentiality of speakers.

Poverty rates decline when off-campus students are excluded

Astudentpoverty new working paper has been released by the US Census Bureau. According to the Census Bureau, the paper, called Examining the Effect of Off-Campus College Students on Poverty Rates

“found significant changes to poverty rates when off-campus students were excluded, especially for cities with large student populations. The paper, from data collected during the American Community Survey from 2009 to 2011, analyzes the impact of college students who are not living with relatives on the poverty rates of states, counties, and places where the schools are located. Forty-nine cities (with populations greater than 100,000) had significant declines in poverty rates when off-campus college students were excluded. The working paper includes an extensive set of tables showing poverty rates with and without off-campus college students for all states and for all counties and places with populations greater than 20,000.”


For more information, read the Random Samplings blog post

John Thompson confirmed as new Census Bureau director

From the Census Bureau:

CensusBureauThe United States Senate confirmed John H. Thompson on August 1 as the new director of the U.S. Census Bureau by unanimous consent. Thompson, who was nominated by President Obama on May 23, 2013 has been an executive at the National Opinion Research Center for the past 11 years, serving as president and CEO since 2008.
Before joining NORC at the University of Chicago, Thompson was a Census Bureau employee from 1975 to 2002 and oversaw the 2000 Census. He succeeds Robert Groves, who left office in August 2012 to become provost of Georgetown University. Following the departure of Groves, former Deputy Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg served as Acting Director. Mesenbourg had previously announced his long-planned retirement, which is effective August 2.

As Census Bureau Director, Thompson will oversee the nearly 180 surveys the Census Bureau conducts annually. He takes office at a critical juncture in the planning process for the 2020 Census, as the agency begins researching and testing new and more cost-effective methods that potentially will save billions of dollars.

“I congratulate John Thompson on his confirmation as director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and thank the U.S. Senate for confirming him quickly. Given his previous roles at the Census Bureau beginning in the 1970s, I have full confidence that Mr. Thompson will be a tremendous leader of one of the nation’s premier statistical agencies,” said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“The Census Bureau produces a wealth of data that are critical to America’s public and private sector leaders as they make decisions about economic development that will create jobs. I am committed to ensuring that the Census Bureau has the resources it needs to continue supplying essential data to businesses and government leaders. I look forward to working with John Thompson and his team as they undertake the years of preparations required for a successful 2020 Census and continue to develop innovative ways to produce and distribute vital information,” added Secretary Pritzker.

“It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to return to public service as the Director of the Census Bureau, one of the most important organizations in the federal statistical system, as well as a place that holds warm memories for me,” said Thompson. “As America forges its data-driven future, the Census Bureau must lead the way by tracking emerging trends, developing more efficient processes and embracing new technologies for planning and executing the 2020 Census and its other surveys that are so important to the nation. As Director, I will use all of my skills, intellect and experience to foster a culture of innovation and adaptability that allows the Census Bureau to serve the public’s needs and meet the challenges of this dynamic new environment.”

Thompson participated on 2010 Census design and review panels sponsored by the Committee on National Statistics. He is also an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, and has been elected to serve a three-year term as a member of the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academies of Science. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Virginia Tech.