There are several things to like about the new American Community Survey 2012 (ACS2012) 5-year demographic-economic data (available 12/17/13). These data are one year more recent data than released in December 2012 (the ACS 2011 5-year data). As a result, they provide an updated and more current picture. Two, this is a third year sequel to having Census 2010 vintage census tract and block group data available. This de facto three year mini-time series enables a start to examine trends. Three, these estimates are centric to mid-2010 and thus roughly comparable to what would have been “richer demographics” from Census 2010 (had the long-form not been eliminated). This enables a rough comparison between 2000 and 2010 (it will be the best opportunity ever). These data provide unique and powerful measures that facilitate development of decision-making information. The ACS 5-year block group estimates are the smallest geographic areas for which the Census Bureau develops richer demographic-economic data such as income, educational attainment, employment, housing value among a wide range of related items.
The focus of this post is on block group level data … demographic-economic data tabulated for approximately 220,000 areas averaging 1,200 population covering the U.S. wall-to-wall. Block groups are one of many geographic levels/areas for which ACS 5-year estimates are tabulated. While it might seem easy to determine what subject matter data are available at the block group level, it is not easy. Block group data cannot be accessed via the Census Bureau FactFinder online data access tool, so that presents the first challenge. Fortunately, the ACS block group data can be accessed using the ProximityOne CV APIGateway tool.
Is unemployment data tabulated by block group? Language spoken at home? If so, what are the corresponding table numbers? Only selected tables are available at the block group level — a situation unique to the block group level geography. Presently, the only way to determine availability of a subject matter item or data table is to view Appendix E of the technical documentation. In that section, listing all tables, there is a column with an indicator showing whether or not the table is available at the block group level.
Struggling with this situation in years past, we have developed this Web page that contains an interactive table to facilitate determining subject matter availability by block group. The interactive table contains a row for each data table for which ACS 2012 5-year data are tabulated. In the interactive table, there is a column with an indicator showing whether or not that data table is available at the block group level. This way all of the data tables can be browsed as well as those only available at the block group level.
Below the interactive table a few tool buttons are available. Now you can do a keyword search on all tables for specific subject matter words, like “Language Spoken.” Or, show the whole table and click the block group button to view only those tables available at the block group level.
ACS 2012 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Data
Soon there be related post focused on the ACS 2012 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data. That post will also provide improved data navigation and locator tools.